4.83 out of 5
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↑ 2,800 ft
↓ 2,500 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Updated description 7/7/14:

The brand-new section of the Cottonwood Trail begins at the parking lot at the junction of CR 175 and 181. From there, this brand-new singletrack rolls across the hillside, with flowy corners and swooping, gradual climbs and descents. It then junctions with FS 173. Take a right on 173, and then in a mile or so a left off the road to drop into the classic Cottonwood Trail in the Cottonwood Drainage. The trail follows the drainage all the way down into the Arkansas Hills Trail System, which then affords several different options to finish the descent into the town of Salida.

While the trail across the top is pretty easy, the descent--especially through the narrow-sided "waterfall" area in the canyon--is technical, with a few very large, challenging features.

This is a great shuttle run close to town, or is a great ~20 mile loop from town.
added by Greg HeilWorld Champ
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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Recommended Trails
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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (90 total check-ins)   on Sep 21, 2019
  dgoodwell   on Aug 30, 2019
  Eric Schneider   on Aug 1, 2019
  Jason Kunshier   on Jul 27, 2019
  Matr0   on Jun 29, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (54)
Trail Photos & Videos (54)
Reviews (6)


August 22, 2018
Review: This is a great ride that you can start right out of town, no shuttle needed. Road ride up that turns into gravel, def a tough climb but worth the workout. We happened to see a GIANT snake right after the trail sign said, big snake. Luckily it was non-venomous. Make sure you bring LOTS of water, its super dry and you can find yourself bonking if you're riding up instead of shuttling. There is a great little canyon that you go through about 80% of the way into the ride and it's got some nice features and drops. You can rent a bike online here:


January 3, 2018
triton189 Singletrack  
Review: Holy S&*% what a fun trail! I did this on a longer travel Ibis hd4 and couldn't have been happier. Great flowing berms, lots of chunk and gnar in spots and a pucker section at the "waterfall" that will test the best rider. Hard climb up the county road to get to the trail head but worth it.

World Champ

September 19, 2017
Review: The thing I remember - vividly! - about the Cottonwood Trail is the big rock features in the depth of the Canyon. I love that intensely technical style of riding that keeps you focused and reminds you that you're alive.


June 4, 2017
Review: So much fun

Similar Trail: 18 road


February 1, 2016
cjsutterer Trailblazer  
Review: Quite a climb to get to the top, like all rides in Colorado, but it was totally worth the effort. Super fast singletrack down through a canyon! Hold on tight, you are in for the ride of your life!

World Champ

June 18, 2012
Greg Heil World Champ  
Review: Cottonwood is a ripping trail that has it all! From smooth, flowy sections up top to steep descent to big features to rolling technical descents, this is an entertaining trail that is a fabulous addition to the legitimate Salida trail system! (Review updated 7/7/14)

Cottonwood MTB Trail 4.83 out of 5 based on 6 ratings. 6 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Video: Building the Cottonwood Trail in Salida, Colorado
Watch: Singletracks Rides with the Singletrack Sampler - From 1,000ft to 9,500 in a Day!
The 20 Best Trails Greg Explored in 2015