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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    
2008-08-05 I made it upto the trailhead in my Pontiac Vibe yesterday with no undercarriage damage. If you drive slow and just pick your lines a car can make it. There was one other car in the parking lot. yorksman         
2008-07-08 To skip all the details of "drive on the left side on this part, the right side on that part"... just take your time, go slow, and don‘t drive a low-clearance vehicle. My 2WD pick-up made it to the TH just fine by being careful. It is messy and bumpy, though. docwil6         
2008-07-06 As others have mentioned, there are a series of craters at about .8 past the end of the maintained dirt road. They looked very menacing on Thursday night when we pulled up so we camped around that spot but on Friday morning I could see the line quite well. Stay WAY left to get around the first bit then go WAY right and straight through them on the right side. In my Honda CR-V I didn‘t hit bottom and drove through these a few times. After this section the road is very reasonable all the way to the end. I will note that if you really want to try to figure out how to get through (and the "private-keep out" signs don‘t bother you, it appears you can drive through the residential area that is just to the N/W of the road. The entry to the road into the residential area is right before the end of the maintained dirt road and comes out about .5 mile above the craters section. I know this goes through because we saw a Lincoln Town Car on the road above the craters. :-) Jason Halladay         
2008-06-24 I was the guy with the Subaru Outback mentioned in the last update =) Actually, my wife drove it up there while I walked from about 8800‘ (I like walking better than driving). I drove on the way down and heard/felt a half-dozen undercarriage kisses from rocks, but nothing major. On the other hand, there was a line of oil drips on the road ahead of us, so I guess it‘s certainly possible to get yourself in trouble. ElliottDavis         
2008-06-24 I was the guy with the Subaru Outback mentioned in the last update =) Actually, my wife drove it up there while I walked from about 8800‘ (I like walking better than driving). I drove on the way down and heard/felt a half-dozen undercarriage kisses from rocks, but nothing major. On the other hand, there was a line of oil drips on the road ahead of us, so I guess it‘s certainly possible to get yourself in trouble. ElliottDavis         
2008-06-21 I wouldn‘t say there are ruts at the bottom of the road. They are more like craters, about 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide. I guess it depends on how much you love your wife. I had my wife‘s Highlander and probably could have made it, high-siding and figure-eighting through but I chickened out. Be advised, if you park where I did you will have a 3.5 mile walk to the trailhead, so I paid for my wussiness. It‘s a pretty walk through aspen groves but it does add mileage and elevation to your day. We did see a Subie Outback at the TH so it‘s doable...in fact once you‘re past the craters it‘s really not too bad, that‘s the worst of it, about 20 feet of bad road. Good luck! Beagle         
2008-06-15 Very deep ruts and frightening boulders at 4.8 mile mark from town( 0.8 miles from where there is a sign that maintenence ends). I almost got stuck in my honda accord on 6/13 and it would have caused serious suspension issues if I continued. Turned back. Condition was much better in 2005. worldtraveler532         
2008-05-25 The road was clear all the way to the trailhead. comin2getcha         
2008-05-18 On Saturday 5/17: In a 4x4 we were able to drive all the way to the TH. Most cars were parking about 1/4 of a mile away from the TH, due to snow. Snow is melting fast, so it should be gone in a matter of a day or two. mtnbikerskierchick         
2008-05-18 I would say this is 4wd only right now due to deep ruts at the bottom of the road. With 4wd it‘s accessible to within .5 mile of the TH - possibly all the way. There was enough snow that we didn‘t bother to keep going (we weren‘t hiking), but there looked like there were successful tracks. (5/1 dubsho3000         
2008-05-18 I would say this is 4wd only right now due to deep ruts at the bottom of the road. With 4wd it‘s accessible to within .5 mile of the TH - possibly all the way. There was enough snow that we didn‘t bother to keep going (we weren‘t hiking), but there looked like there were successful tracks. (5/1 dubsho3000         
2008-05-02 As of 4/27 you can almost get to the Colorado/Main TH (less than .5 miles away). This is still quite a ways from the Mt Harvard TH (3-5 miles?) dubsho3000         
2008-04-07 Last update still accurate as of Apr 6, 2008 Doug Shaw         
2008-03-21 Blocked by snow at 8650 feet 2.25 miles before where the Colorado Trail leaves the road. Almost 5.5 miles from North Cottonwood Trailhead. Shad         
2007-09-26 Previous reports state that a car can get to the TH, but I would use extreme caution if you choose to do this. The summer has not been kind and there are DEEP ruts combined with big rocks in two seperate sections. Colorado Rocky Mountain School got their shuttle bus up there, and it did a great job of digging the holes deeper at the tough section. Lane Meyer         
2007-07-22 If you can navigate well (and don't have a brand new car), you can get up to the trailhead in a 2WD car. The tough part is about a mile in. After that, you won't have any problems! We did it this weekend in a Civic! womanhiker         
2007-07-02 The road up to the trailhead is definitely not for 2wd vehicles. There is one washout near the bottom section with gulleys that can be trouble even for 4x4's. Make sure you have high enough clearance for negotiating rocks. beesting         
2007-05-12 Road open all the way to the end 5/8/07. Would be very rough for a passenger vehicle, as it is quite washed out. gb         
2006-05-30 Road dry and rough but passable for passenger vehicles. Much rougher than 2 years ago. Trail to Harvard and Columbia dry up just passed the switchbacks. Then drifts in the trees to the Columbia fork. From the snowfield at the base of Columbai to the summit is completely dry. I hauled ice axe and crampons up and down without taking off my pack. wcrosman         
2006-05-16 Road is open, rough for first mile on county road. Trail is good shape to the Kroenke Lake / North Fork Trail Intersection. Some snow on trail, with no real limitations Tparker         
2006-04-25 Driveable to the end. Gonna get it soon killingcokes         
2005-06-15 On 6/07/05 the roads were clear and dry all the way to the trailhead parking lot. cirelan         

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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