Gorgeous Cottonwood Pass winds its way up and over the mountains between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, providing a beautiful scenic drive. With the elevation at 12,126 feet, it is the highest mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado.
It is located near the border of Gunnison and Chaffee counties in the Sawatch Range. The area surrounding the pass is mostly forest, with the San Isabel National Forest to the east and the Gunnison National Forest to the west.
We took a side trip to see Cottonwood Lake, after the lake we took the less traveled route which climbs up through the Collegiate Peaks and National Forest land and past Taylor Park Reservoir between Almont and Buena Vista.
At the top of the Pass we met a nice couple that also travel by RV, they are from Texas and spend most of the summer in Colorado. We took pictures of them together and they did the same for us. :-) After the pictures we parked for a picnic with breathtaking views.
Cottonwood Pass is not open for the winter, closing after the first big snowfall and re-opening sometime around mid-May. While most of the road is paved, the top 12 miles is well-maintained dirt. We plan a return visit in a couple of weeks to see this incredible pass with fall foliage. Another beautiful day in Colorado, check back later for more.