Trailhead:  Cottonwood Creek
Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  sps70
 Date of Info:  07/19/2012
 Date Posted:  07/24/2012
We hiked all the way up to Cottonwood Lake ( and then to the top of the Needle). It would be easy to get sucked into hiking into the wrong drainage as the Cottonwood Lake drainage is not clearly visible until you arrive at tree line. We were able to solve the puzzle with a map and elevation readings off a GPS. It was very difficult to follow the trail but the best route seemed to be close to(but not across) the creek all the way up. Once we were above tree line we lost the trail and ended up climbing the south side of the creek above tree line but we did talk to other hikers who had managed to stay North of the creek which seems to be where the standard route is. Hiking this drainage in the dark would be very very difficult. There are multiple routes and lots of downed trees. All three in our party agreed that this was a difficult approach because of how steep it was and because of the route finding issues.

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