Cottonwood Pass would be our last trail for the day and the end to the long weekend of off-highway driving.
We started Cottonwood Pass from the Taylor Park Reservoir side. Cottonwood Pass is a long drive from the reservoir to Buena Vista. The trail is a lot like Guanella Pass, with more switchbacks on the dirt side of the trail. More than half of Cottonwood Pass is dirt on the western side, and the Buena Vista side is paved. It made for a very nice drive with many great views of the mountains.
Cottonwood Pass has many switchbacks all the way up to the top of the pass. Some places on the switchbacks are tight near the top the top of the pass. There is usually a lot of traffic, especially on the weekends. It would be a great place too see the fall colors.
Most of Cottonwood Pass is an easy drive. We did not have any issues with driving it, and you could take a passenger vehicle on it. It does not require 4-wheel drive. We all just enjoyed the nice views of all the mountains that were all around us. Dirt bikes and ATVs are not permitted on the Cottonwood Pass road, which made it a very nice drive. We didn't have to watch for anything traveling faster than we were going.
At the top of Cottonwood Pass is a parking area with a few hiking trailheads. We stopped in the parking lot and took a small break, enjoying the scenery. Soon we were on our way down Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista. Cottonwood Pass was a very nice trail to drive at the end of our two-day trip, and we were soon headed for home.