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Level: Beginner
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Fatbike (Accessible in winter only)
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +469/ -19 ft
Total: 10 riders

Mountain Biking Cottonwood Pass Road

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#419 of 1,362 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#4,109 in the world

This trail is marked as fat bike only, since during the summer Cottonwood Pass is a paved road (at least, on the eastern side), and we don't list paved roads that are open to vehicles on Singletracks. But if you're into road riding, this would be a great summer skinny tire ride!
When the snow starts flying, though, it's a totally different story. The road is only partially plowed during the winter, and about 7 miles shy of the top of the pass there's a gate, and winter maintenance ends. At least, maintenance for cars ends: this place is a snowmobiling hot spot, and the Buena Vista snowmobile club grooms and maintains the upper snowy section of the road during the winter months. This makes Cottonwood Pass a perfect spot to fat bike!

As mentioned above, the fat bikeable snow section climbs for about 7 miles to the top of Cottonwood Pass (making for an approx. 14-mile out-and-back), topping out at an elevation of almost 12,200 feet!
If want to pedal high into the mountains during the middle of winter, grab your fat bike and head to Cottonwood Pass!

Click here for up-to-date snow mobile grooming conditions.

First added by Greg Heil on Apr 7, 2014. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: yes
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From downtown Buena Vista, drive straight towards the mountains and stop where the snow begins.
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Cottonwood Pass Road Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

Greg Heil (on Feb 2, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Fat Bike (on Feb 6, 2017)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Buena Vista, Colorado

Intermediate | 6 mi
Easiest | 11 mi
Beginner | 1 mi
| 1 mi

Rider questions

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  • Scott Anderson

    There's an offshoot trail that starts 2 miles up from the Denny Creek TH. It is signed as 346. On the snomo map listed as 'Ptarmigan Loop'. This trail was freshly groomed yesterday and there were ZERO tracks when we hit it today. The pedaling was nearly impeccable until we got up high. It is a gentler climb than going to CW pass. It goes about 2.4 miles where it intersects with a loop. We did not do the loop because the snow got pretty soft at this point and it was getting late in the day with high winds and colder temps moving in. The scenery is, of course, phenomenal.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Such a great fat bike ride! The road is plowed to Denny Creek trailhead, but if you want to you can begin riding lower down at Avalanche trailhead. The club is reporting a trail groomed down to Avalanche, but in my recent ride from there to Denny a recent snowplow had thrown a bunch of big snow/ice chunks onto that groomed section of trail, making it difficult in spots. I ended up riding a combination of snow and pavement up to Denny, and then beyond that the riding is great. Since there's so much awesome snow beyond Denny, I'd just recommend parking there. Be sure to check out this web page for up-to-date grooming info for BV area snowmobile trails: http://snow.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=1980&club_id=45117&module_id=1980&area_id=37&sl=335093601#search_results

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    This is a great spot to fat bike, since you can easily drive up to the snow, and then hop on snow immediately without having to pedal through a transition of mud.

    Secondly, the views along this route are just fabulous, with the 14ers (and a few lesser peaks) towering above you and the Collegiate Peaks wilderness to one side.

    Reaching an elevation of over 12,000 feet by bike, during the middle of winter, is a pretty special opportunity! When I rode here, I had to turn around a few miles shy of the summit since the snow just got too soft to ride. However, if you get it when the snow is right, it should be quite doable!

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