Cottonwood Pass, Colorado

Crested Butte Colorado
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Cottonwood Pass

Gorgeous Cottonwood Pass winds its way up and over the mountains between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, providing a beautiful scenic drive.


  • Drive up to 12,126 feet for beautiful views of the Collegiate Peaks. 
  • Taylor Park Reservoir provides a scenic place to stop and stretch your legs along the way. 
  • A number of trailheads can also be found along the way. 
  • Approximately 75 miles and 2.75 hours.


Taking the less traveled route is well-worth it in the case of Cottonwood Pass, which climbs up through the Collegiate Peaks and National Forest land and past Taylor Park Reservoir between Almont and Buena Vista. From the top of the Pass, you’ll find great views of the surrounding Collegiates and open alpine meadows stretching out below.

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.

Driving Directions

From Crested Butte, drive south to Almont along CO-135. From Almont, take CO-742 east toward Taylor Park Reservoir. Just past the Reservoir, turn right onto CO-209, which turns into CO-306 after about 14 miles. Continue down CO-306 until you reach Buena Vista.


Driving Cottonwood Pass from Crested Butte to Buena Vista is 75 miles and takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.