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Level: Advanced
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: One-way
Elevation: +839/ -763 ft
Total: 82 riders

Mountain Biking Cottonwood

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#17 of 1,362 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#104 in the world

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.

First added by Greg Heil on Jun 17, 2012. Last updated May 11, 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
Parking lot at the junction of CR 175 and 183
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Cottonwood Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail conditions

Good (on Aug 30, 2019)
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Camping & Lodging

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Cottonwood videos

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Mountain Bike Trails Near Salida, Colorado

Easiest | 3 mi
Beginner | 12 mi
| 0 mi
Beginner | 0 mi

Rider questions

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  • Gdb49

    Wow!!! If you're not having fun coming down this one, change sports. Might make my top 10 in Colorado- FYI-there is about 30 trails in my top 10.

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  • Reet_TripOutside.com

    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: https://www.tripoutside.com/location/salidaco/

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  • triton189

    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.

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  • Jim Cummings

    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.

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  • cjsutterer

    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!

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    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)

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