This 2018 road closure will affect many who will travel The Colorado Trail (CT). West of Buena Vista and affecting all CT Collegiate West (CW) travelers the entire 2018 trail season, Cottonwood Pass Road will be closed.
NOT A HARDSHIP FOR MOST CT USERS. While this will impact CT users, primarily those traveling the CW, knowing about the closure and planning ahead will likely erase any hardship.
ROAD CLOSURE ZONE. From immediately west of Avalanche Trailhead, up and over Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Park Trading Post, the Cottonwood Pass Road will be closed to vehicle, bicycle, and foot traffic for paving operations. Part of the closure means this road between the CT Collegiate East and CT Collegiate West will be closed.
CT COLLEGIATE WEST RESUPPLY AFFECTED. Travelers along the CT Collegiate West will find the trail open as normal and they will be allowed to continue on the trail across the closed road at the top of Cottonwood Pass. However, users along the CW will not be allowed to diverge on Cottonwood Pass Road either east or west. There will be no vehicle access to Cottonwood Pass, eliminating shuttle and hitching possibilities, so CW travelers must continue on the trail and not plan to diverge at Cottonwood Pass.
RESUPPLY OPTIONS FOR 2018 CW TRAVELERS. Knowing this, most CT Collegiate West travelers will simply plan to resupply near each end of the CW and not near the middle. Near the north end of the CW is Twin Lakes Village where one can resupply. Near the south end of the CW the trail crosses US Hwy 50 at Monarch Pass. One can resupply along Hwy 50 at one of 4 common locations: Monarch Crest Souvenir Shop, Monarch Spur RV & Campground, Salida, or Gunnison. (Refer to the CT Databook for more details on these resupply places.)
CT COLLEGIATE EAST LARGELY UNAFFECTED. The CT Collegiate East (CE) Segment 13, the trail itself, will remain open. The road between the CE and the town of Buena Vista will also be open, facilitating resupply from the CE. Likely the Avalanche Trailhead (where the CE crosses Cottonwood Pass Road) will be see more activity than normal, especially with Mt. Yale climbers displaced by the closed road, potentially helping CE travelers hitching between the trailhead and town.
SPREAD THE WORD. Knowing in advance about this road closure will really help CT users, especially those traveling the CT Collegiate West. Please spread the word to both trail users and any support personnel.