Buena Vista, CO Mt. Princeton, CO

South Cottonwood Canyon - Chaffee County, Colorado

Photos of Mountain & Scenery From Our Drive Inside South Cottonwood Canyon

South Cottonwood Canyon is one of the lesser known canyons in the Sawatch Range to the west - all the more reason to create a photo gallery to honor it!

Where is it? South Cottonwood Canyon is a horizontal slither between Chalk Creek Canyon and "Cottonwood Canyon." In simple terms, South Cottonwood Canyon is located west of Buena Vista and home to Spring Canyon Conference Center, Cottonwood Lake and an above-timberline region known as Mineral Basin.

Directions - To enter the canyon, travel five miles west on Chaffee County Road 306 (West Main Street) from the Buena Vista traffic light - as if you were traveling to Cottonwood Pass. Approximately five miles west. Make a left on Chaffee County Road 344 and travel in the canyon.

Local Kent Naegele took me for a drive in his truck up the canyon. We drove as far as we could until the snow was too much to drive through. Immediately below are our photos.


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South Cottonwood Canyon, CO May 3, 2009 - We passed Cottonwood Lake and were continuing west when I snapped the adjacent photo, my first photo of the journey. It was a fairly cloudy and dreary afternoon, and we did not know what to expect from the weather. No matter though... we just wanted to go for a drive! :)
Traveling west on Chaffee County Road 344. Past the Cottonwood Lake Campground, the road becomes rougher. It is possible to travel far into the canyon with an ordinary passenger vehicle (like mine), but take it slow. A 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle is definitely a good idea.
Colorado Mountains I was disappointed with the photos because of the clouds and poor lighting. Nonetheless, here's a decent of shot and his dog Remington in an open area.
South Cottonwood Canyon, CO An ordinary mountain view? Maybe. But remember all those gray trees are aspens. Imagine the colorful view this probably makes in the fall!
Forest Nice forest picture.
South Cottonwood Canyon Road' border=

Standing In Snow

Onward we continued in the canyon. We finally reached the object of my desire... SNOW! Beautiful snow!

I immediately twittered a photo of all this amazing snow to my Twitter page for all my beloved tweeps to see. So nice! Below are some of my recent snow related pages:

  • Snow Photos
  • YOUTUBE VIDEO: Snow in Buena Vista, CO
  • Snow Photos
  • Snow Photos
  • Snow Photos
  • Snow Photos

    On a side note, much of the canyon can be viewed from the Buena Vista / Collegiate Peaks topo map edition of National Geographic:

  • Sheep Mountain, CO One final photo as we descended in the canyon. Sheep Mountain stood prominently out there.

    Other Links In South Cottonwood Canyon

    A photo of me with my mountain bike at Cottonwood Lake.

    Cottonwood Lake pages:

  • Mountain Biking In Area
  • Autumn at Cottonwood Lake
  • www.CottonwoodLake.info
  • Cottonwood Lake, CO
    Steve Quilico and I drove up on the canyon and took a dirt road spur that led close to Ptarmigan Lake.
    Emma Burr Mountain is located on the Continental Divide in the far end of the canyon. We began our climb above timberline in Mineral Basin. Emma Burr Mountain, CO
    Mt. Kreutzer is another "13er" located on the Continental Divide at the far end of the canyon. Our hike of this mountain began at Cottonwood Pass, and we walked approximately five miles on the divide. The adjacent photo is the grand view of much of South Cottonwood Canyon. Mt. Princeton stands tall and proud on the right. South Cottonwood Canyon
    Beautiful autumn photos inside the canyon in September 2008. Autumn Foliage
    A 4-wheel drive adventure with Shannon Tucker. This was my first visit all the way into the canyon.
    The Poplar Gulch Trail begins in St. Elmo and climbs up the other side of the ridge. At the top, one can look down into South Cottonwood Canyon. (Adjacent photo)

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