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.