Cottonwood Creek

Crestone, Colorado 81131

Cottonwood Creek

Cottonwood Creek Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A lesser-used trail with access to Cottonwood Lake, Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Broken Hand Peak, and the South Colony Lakes."

More Cottonwood Creek Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Colorado's Sangre de Cristos and Great Sand Dunes (Falcon Guides)
Jason Moore, Revised by Lee Hart
View more trails from this guide book
"A lesser-used trail to a high basin with access to Comanche Peak."

Cottonwood Creek Trip Reports

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I hate to criticize the trail guides, but they sure missed the length of this hike! The distance from the trailhead to the Cottonwood Creek trail is 1.8 miles and the trail itself is 3.3 miles for a total of 5.1 miles one way. I verified this on a topo and with my GPS. It was a very nice fall day when I made this hike and the colors were beautiful! (See photos) The views are somewhat limited due to the tree cover. The trail itself isn’t all the difficult or interesting. There are some steeper parts separated by some level areas to provide a little relief. The trail gets difficult to follow near the very top due to a number of social trails and animal trails. I did find the remains of an old cabin near the top, but you’ll need to look for it as there isn’t much of it left. If you hike, enjoy!
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Cottownwood Creek trail up to Cottonwood Lake is not a very traveled and mantained trail. It is fine for the first few miles, then kind of looses it's focus through the boilerplate and up to the lake. You have to really keep your eyes out for the cairns. I still highly recomend it for those same reasons though. Have fun!

Cottonwood Creek Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
5,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike or backpack
Best July to September
8,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
13,200 feet
Top Elevation
Rio Grande National Forest, San Isabel National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Crestone Peak, Crestone
Local Maps

Trail Log