The Amazing Cottonwood Pass, elevation 12,126 feet is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado, United States. It is located near the border of Gunnison and Chaffee counties in Colorado and is in the Sawatch Range. The area surrounding the pass is mostly forest, with the San Isabel National Forest to the east and the Gunnison National Forest to the west.
The Continental Divide is marked at the saddle point of Cottonwood Pass. The pass is closed every winter due to very heavy snowfall, mostly from mid October until sometime in May. When it does open, the pass can be accessed from Buena Vista to the east by following Chaffee County Road 306. Near the high summit, the road name changes to Gunnison County Road 209 as it continues to the west, passing near Taylor Park Reservoir and continuing down into the town of Almont.
The major part of this road is paved, with the exception being the section linking the summit of Cottonwood Pass with Taylor Park Reservoir, that part is gravel. When it is open, the pass is one of the only few routes through the Sawatch Range accessible in a regular passenger vehicle. Independence Pass is another such seasonal path through this incredible mountain range, while efforts are made to ensure that U.S. 50 at Monarch Pass remains open year-round for all vehicles, barring extreme weather conditions.
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