U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Cottonwood Creek Trail, T#3310|
How to Get There: From Lake City, take Highway 149 south 2.5 miles. Turn right on the road to Lake San Cristobal. Follow the paved road about 4 miles, then continue on the dirt road for about 8.3 miles. Turn left at the fork and travel 1.4 miles. The trailhead sign reads "Cataract Gulch Trail." It is best to park at that trailhead. Cottonwood Creek Trail follows the road on up the valley.
Trailhead Parking & Camping: A parking area and restroom are located at the Cataract Gulch Trailhead. Camping is permitted at the Cataract Gulch Trailhead and at several pullouts along the road to the west.
Attractions: The Cottonwood Creek Road doesn't get much vehicle traffic because it is so rough. Still, it's gentle grade and spectacular scenery makes it a good choice for an easy hike. If you keep your eye on the cliffs to the north, you might be lucky enough to see the small herd of bighorn sheep that lives there. Motorized use must stop at the first switchback but hikers with energy to spare may wish to continue up the switchbacks for the old road into the upper Snare Creek basin to reach several tundra ponds at the top.
Narrative: In the first section of the trail you'll pass through aspen and spruce stands with frequent views of the surrounding cliffs. After a rain, waterfalls can be seen decorating the cliffs. Beyond Boulder Gulch, the valley opens to large willow flats dotted with beaver ponds. Vehicle and bike access ends at that point an may not continue up the road into the Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area. A good turn around spot is the Cuba Gulch Trailhead.
Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Last modified: January 6, 2011