Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.

Ride Description

Cottonwood Pass (East) is one of only 6 climbs in the U.S. that top out above 12,000' (5 of those 6 are in Colorado - the Himalayas of North America). This is an up-and-back ride as the back side 

July 11, 2013 Colorado Springs Gazette article by Nathan Van Dyne is an excellent summary of this climb and includes the following description "The trip up is classic as well. The first 5 miles from McPhelemy Park in downtown Buena Vista are fairly easy before the climbing begins in earnest at Cottonwood Hot Springs. The Denny Creek trailhead signals

the start of the 10 percent grade. The scenery is top-notch, particularly above treeline. This ride is even better in the fall when the road is lined with golden aspens." Another excellent summary of the climb, along with photos is found at CottonwoodPass.netposted by the Colorado Guy.

We will detail and video this climb in summer 2015. 

Hover cursor over segment slices (below) for exact  grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.

Start (click and drag map; double click to move forward); note - Google Street View does not go to the top

 Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Cottonwood Pass RideWithGPS page.  Hover over the distance line at the spot you would like to begin a sub-  segment for this climb.  Click your mouse on the start point and drag the vertical graphing line the distance you wish to obtain sub-detail from, then release the  mouse at the end point.  This will give you the following sub-detail for the selected segment in the “Metrics” window top right of the page:  (a) distance, (b) elevation  gained and lost, (c) max grade, (d) average grade (e) that segment's climb category – e.g. Cat 1, HC, etc., and (f) FIETS score for the segment.

Climbing and Cycling Colorado

Cottonwood Pass (East)

Link to Google 360 degree view at summit

Note: Scroll  in text box to view more of the Ride Description.

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  • Distance:                                19.2 miles                  

  • Beginning elevation:            7,943'

  • Ending elevation:                 12,127'

  • Elevation gained:                 4,223'

  • Average Grade:                   4.4%

  • Fiets Index:                           7.97
  • Location:  Climb begins in Buena Vista, CO  at the intersection of Hwy 24 and Hwy 306 (W. Main St.),  66 miles southeast of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport,   and 145 miles southwest of Denver International Airport   (38.83791, -106.14577 latitude/longitude)