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Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
fvhayden

Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby fvhayden » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:58 am

Aren't all those people in Crestone a bunch of communists? Private property is theft, right. Come on hippies, live up to your values!

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:36 am

The parking is the issue. There really isn't any and it causes problems with blocking the road and access to the private property.

mattpayne11 wrote:That valley is one of the truly awesome places I've been in Colorado. I'm glad that meetings are happening.


Yeah, that valley is probably my favorite in the state and even when the trailhead is open there are far fewer people there because it's a longer and harder approach. Well worth the effort though.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:06 pm

highpilgrim wrote:The parking is the issue. There really isn't any and it causes problems with blocking the road and access to the private property.
Last time I was there, two years ago, there was plenty of parking right near the water tower, no blocking of the road at all. (sorry Steve, yes are Bad People for doing this). If you're worried about parking there now, and I would be given all the weirdness, park at the Spanish Creek t/h (still "open", right?) and walk the extra mile or two to Cottonwood creek t/h. If you really want to check out CC, I sincerely doubt if you'll be hassled. Our last couple of times there we started up the valley to the right of the "No Trespassing" sign, right next to the creek, bushwhacked up the creek for 1/4 mile or so until we were off of private property, then joined the trail from there. Exactly what you said Matt Payne; minimal private land to cross. I personally don't worry about such trivial things.

Flame away, I say "whatever".

Beautiful approach, but I certainly wouldn't say its anywhere near my favorite. Quite rough in places, with some tough route finding to minimize the bushwhacking, as the trail gets very convoluted. Once past there though it is a super-cool and gorgeous approach to the 'Stones.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:42 pm

climbing_rob wrote:Beautiful approach, but I certainly wouldn't say its anywhere near my favorite. Quite rough in places, with some tough route finding to minimize the bushwhacking, as the trail gets very convoluted. Once past there though it is a super-cool and gorgeous approach to the 'Stones.


Call me a masochist but I love the complexity of the route finding on the approach. It's phsically and mentally challenging and the wrong turns are fun too. First time there we missed that sharp steep cutoff to the upper basin and wound up under Millwaukee as a result. Second time we followed the stream and found some interesting scrambling to get to the lake. It wasn't till the third trip that we found a steep ascending traverse into that meadow below the lake that was relatively easy.

That approach feels a lot like thirty years ago before the trails were so beaten. Add to that how few people actually approach from that side and you get much more a wilderness feel to the climb. We rarely saw others until on the upper parts of the climbs and usually only on the way down. Starting from near the lake gives you a big jump on everyone.

As to the parking, generally you're right; Since there's not much traffic there the parking is enough. Last time there however, in October during hunting season there were a lot of cars/trucks there and some were out in the road. We never saw most of them up on the moutain but I guess that's all it takes to bug the landowners. Since it became an issue, we started dropping everyone off a the trailhead with their gear and then parking remotely and walking back to the TH. We've never had problems doing this.
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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:16 pm

highpilgrim wrote: Call me a masochist but I love the complexity of the route finding on the approach.
Yep, agreed, tons of fun, for the same reason (masochism). Gotta watch for that 1st cairned creek crossing, if you take that, go uphill on the other side for a bit (on a trail), then cross back over, it all works. It was near dark the 1st time I did this, made it interesting.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby SteveBonowski » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:30 pm

Rob: I have no interest in "flaming away" as you put it. I don't think an approach like that is real productive. There is no parking available at what used to be the Spanish Creek trailhead. The dirt road running past both trailheads itself is private. The fact that hunters are using the area to park for hunting season creates some other issues not worth going into here as the concerned party is not at the negotiating table at this time.

"bushwhacked up the creek for 1/4 mile or so...." hope you didn't pee in the stream ;-) . The water intake for the subdivision is at the trailhead and they don't do more than minimal purification. Human waste issues created by non-followers of Leave No Trace have been an identified problem in the stream corridor and at the trailhead area by the property owners. "....minimal private land to cross. I personally don't worry about such trivial things." Not flaming here, but might I suggest you spend some time on the web site of the Access Fund to learn more about access issues and problems, if you've never done so. I'm a long time member myself.

Matt wrote: "it would seem that a few hundred highly interested and engaged citizens could generate funds to convince the landowners to sell or lease the land to the USFS for public access." Sounds simple and maybe a lease is how it may turn out. But I doubt you'll find motivated sellers. The area is in a conservation easement for preservation and use by the spiritual groups for retreats and meditation. The other land owner at the trailhead is the local water & san. district and it's highly unlikely they'll sell.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby SteveBonowski » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:13 pm

Some good news. The Cottonwood Creek trail is open for the summer, with no restrictions on access. The reason for the opening is to allow the USFS/BLM staff from the Saguache office to do counting of the traffic on the trail. They have placed traffic counters on the road and infrared counters on the trail in several places. How we climbers handle this temporary open access will determine, in part, the future of being able to use this trail. The Cottonwood Study Group; USFS, local residents plus CMC; has identified an alternate parking area and a trail corridor. Easements, however, are necessary.

Parking remains limited at the trailhead area, which is on property of the local water & sanitation district (www.bacawater.org). Climbers may want to contact the District in advance of arrival. Follow their instructions. They'll want the ID of your vehicle plus a note on the dashboard. There are no amenities at the trailhead, including no outhouse, and no camping or campfires allowed.

Please stay on the trail, which begins opposite the parking area just past the water tank. A prior poster talked about "avoiding" the private property by bushwhacking along the creek for 1/4 mile. Both sides of the creek; and the stream banks on both sides; are private.

A CMC colleague of mine and his wife hiked the trail last week. The route was fairly easy to follow, but they reported a lot of deadfall. They also missed the turn up to Cottonwood Lake, but were able to cross over a high pass near Broken Hand Pass and then drop down to Cottonwood Lake where they camped.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby tmathews » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:54 pm

This is great news, Steve! I may have to do a day trip this weekend just to get a GPS track. The trail was full of deadfall two years ago when I got permission to hike it, so I can only imagine what it's like now. I think this news probably deserves a new thread.

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Re: Cottonwood Creek Access Closed

Postby highpilgrim » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:17 pm

SteveBonowski wrote:Some good news. The Cottonwood Creek trail is open for the summer, with no restrictions on access.


That's great news, Steve. Thanks for your effort there...
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