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N. Cottonwood Creek Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sawatch Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Harvard, Mt. Columbia
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH. It may require 4WD in early summer.
Directions:  Turn west on County Road (CR) 350 (Crossman Ave.) near the center of Buena Vista. This road is less than 1/2 mile north of the stoplight in the center of town. Continue on CR 350 for 2 miles and turn right onto CR 361. After almost 1 mile, turn left onto CR 365 (dirt). Continue on this road for over 5 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road. Turn right into the wooded parking area which loops around counter-clockwise. The trail starts on the west side of the parking area.
Winter Access:  Closed near 9,200 feet - over 3 miles below the TH.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2012-04-19 The road is drivable to within 1/10 of a mile from the TH. There is snow on the road from that point on. It looks like someone had driven the rest of the way to the TH. The snow gets deep in some places, a modified 4x4 with chains would probably make it. I hiked the trail towards harvard to around 10,000 ft. The trail was clear until the bridge, after that there is a lot of snow. Attached pictures: 1) Snow covering the road 2) Hork Fork Basin 3) Bear Lake 4) Columbia to Harvard Ridge dehrlich101  4  1 1    
2012-02-26 The road is passable with 4wd for about 3 miles (to the first trail head). A couple of deeper sections but no need for chains on my jeep. The trail up to the main Harvard/Columbia/Yale TH is packed snow. Possible on foot but better w/ snow shoes or skis. Beyond the trail head sign is fairly deep snow (I didn‘t go much further). 2" crust on top of sugar. Broke through even with snow shoes in some places wincoder         
2011-11-25 The road to North Cottonwood trailhead is passable. There are sections of ice and packed snow, as well as bare road. I would recommend a 4 wheel drive just due to the ice. About a half mile before the trailhead is packed snow the rest of the way. The deepest snow on the road is only about 6-8 inches. mountaintan         
2011-07-17 Got to the trailhead fine in a stock Corolla. May have bottomed out once. :-) Doctor No         
2011-07-04 No problems at all in a passenger car. FredBud         
2011-07-04 The condition of the gravel road to N. Cottonwood Creek TH is perfect as of July 4. There are a few bumps and dips, but it was nothing our beat-down low-slung 2WD car could not handle. mediocre_climber         
2011-05-15 Road is open and passable all the way to N. Cottonwood TH, a couple of snowdrifts in the last 1/2 mile require some clearance. pioletski         
2011-03-19 Road is open a short distance past the normal winter closure. Some 4wd vehicles were able to get to the Harvard Lakes trailhead and a few were able to get slightly higher, within 2+ miles of upper TH. BillMiddlebrook  1       
2010-12-14 Clear past Colorado Trail THs, and up to ~9600‘. JMB         
2010-10-16 Still clear all the way to the TH. tmathews         
2010-08-16 We drove this road Friday August 13 in the afternoon. Compare to several years back there has been an great improvement done! Easy dirt road. There were regular cars parked at the trailhead (i.e. Toyota Corolla, Dodge vans, etc) so it should not be a problem for anyone unless you are driving a low rider (which shouldn‘t be in the mountains anyway!). There is one section near the start of the road that is very annoying because it has the grooves of the half-track equipment used to condition the road. The faster you go the more your vehicle will shake and rattle. Otherwise its a breeze until you get to the parking lot at the end. Then the road is pretty bad, but regular cars, with care, should be able to drive it. robanar         
2010-08-14 Road has some annoying washboard sections right now. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-07-29 Drove our Dodge Caravan up here yesterday, had no issues. Markwise         
2010-07-18 Drove up to North Cottonwood Creek to hike Harvard this morning in my 2wd sedan and had no problems on the road. It was completely passable. There were a couple of bumps, but nothing major. The parking lot was nice except when you exit. There are a lot of rocks and it gets a bit bumpy. Safe travels. Amgdharper         
2010-07-07 This road has definitely been re-graded and is now easily passable for most cars. There are a couple swales where a car should take it slowly, but the exposed drainpipe from previous years is gone. There were several late-model nicer cars at the trailhead. TravelingMatt         
2010-06-20 They must‘ve worked on the road because it is easily passable by just about any 2wd vehicle. I drove my very low clearance Honda Fit to the TH. CarpeDM         
2010-05-16 Open to trailhead BillMiddlebrook         
2010-05-08 Drove all the way to the summer TH in a subaru. Still some snow patches, but for the most part, it‘s dirt & drivable all the way now. robco         
2010-04-28 4WD can get to within 1/2 mile of trailhead. Just some minor snow patches. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-04-26 4WD can get .9 miles above Harvard Lake Trailhead. cjw         
2010-04-22 4WD vehicles can now drive (some snow patches) to the Harvard Lakes trailhead, approx. 1.7 miles below the North Cottonwood Creek TH. 2WD vehicles can get to some pull-offs approx. 2.7 miles below the trailhead. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-03-13 Driving to the normal winter access works, but 1 mile later the road opens again. There is a way around, we were intimidated by "private property" signs right off the bat, don‘t be. There is proper space cleared for parking up higher (about 1.25 miles shy of the Colorado trail intersection). This would have saved us 35 minutes of skinning. cjw         
2010-01-06 See report from 1-4-10. Same, except it was getting a little icy on the 3 miles from winter to summer TH. Parking only for about three or four cars. Park after the last house. There‘s a more public-looking parking area for a few cars 100 feet further, but the track stops and almost got stuck with forego the extra 100 feet. Dancesatmoonrise         
2010-01-04 The winter TH for North Cottonwood Creek is at 9080‘, which is normally where the road is plowed to. The road was well tracked by skiers and snowshoers all the way to the summer TH. This adds ~3.1 miles each way to the hike. Kevin Baker         
2009-11-16 Drove the 4runner to about 1/4 mile from the trailhead to the big boulder below the hill. Brought chains but didn‘t need them. It should be impassable after the next big storm killingcokes         

A portion of the parking area (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-30)The start of the trail (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-30)

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