Cottonwood Lake

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4.6/5 (10 reviews)
Buena Vista, Colorado (Chaffee County)
Last Updated: 05/15/2021
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Trail Information

Highlights

The Cottonwood Lake Trail is a short, easy drive that allows for campground camping and several recreation opportunities in close proximity to downtown Buena Vista. The Cottonwood Lake Trail follows CR 344 along South Cottonwood Creek until it reaches Cottonwood Lake. The trail then continues around the lake to the Cottonwood Lake Campground and connects to the Mineral Basin Trail. Mineral Basin allows for access to the area above the lake for further exploration and off-roading. Cottonwood Lake offers shore fishing and a boat launch for non-motorized water craft. Many times you will find stand-up paddlers, canoes, kayaks, inflatable rafts and fishermen in float tubes enjoying the water based recreation the lake provides.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Check out our Alpine Tunnel East (9.42 mi away) trail guide for an All-Access Preview!

Trail Reviews

4.6/5 (10)
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15600
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/06/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I got lucky and drove this just minutes after it was graded AND watered (passed the grader and water truck at the lake) so I might as well have been driving on pavement with how smooth it was. It only took about ten minutes to get to the lake and it’s a beautiful little spot. I then took Mineral Basin all the way up to check out the views.
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500
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/25/2022

After camping for four nights and running Pomeroy Lake and Hancock Lake we wanted to run something easy (that also had a lake) on our way home. This trail was a perfect choice. You can't really call this a trail because it's so well maintained, flat, and wide. The lake is stunning with some pretty adventurous trails around its shore. Fished a little with no luck. But the dogs liked the swimming and the wife liked the hiking. The facilities were a little run-down; dock was in need of repair and closed, picnic tables were torn up. Pretty surprising since the lake is so close to downtown Beuna Vista and its so easily accessed and heavily used! But it was a nice stop and an easy ride back into town to gas up and head home. Would definitely visit the lake again—and continue on to Mineral Basin when we have more time.
Trail Review: Cottonwood Lake - JP
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14600
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/03/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A well maintained dirt road that’s fairly busy with traffic going to Cottonwood Lake.
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Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/02/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Extremely well maintained dirt road.
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/05/2021

Easy, graded road to Cottonwood Lake. Lake is gorgeous, saw kayakers and paddle boards on the lake. If you can handle a rougher road, continue past the lake and go up to Mineral Basin.
Trail Review: Cottonwood Lake - Shaun Seela
Trail Review: Cottonwood Lake - Shaun Seela
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