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cottonwood pass, colo


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looking for info on the grade percentages and lengths of the grades to cross from buena vista to taylor reservoir. we have a 33 foot gas rv and towing a jeep. don't want to beat up the rv  by crossing over here if it's a backbreaker. thanks

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 The paved pass reaches 12,126 feet. 

... Cottonwood Pass is the highest paved mountain pass over the Continental Divide and is the third highest paved road in the state, has an incredible tree lined climb on the east side with a 10% grade section.

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It's an absolutely beautiful drive especially in Fall with the aspen colors.  From Buena Vista you'll have mostly 5-6% grades but a few short sections up to 10%. You're going over the Continental Divide and the Pass is at 12,126' EL. We've stayed at the Taylor Park national forest campground overlooking the lake - very nice.  I'd recommend driving it in the morning.  Mountain rain storms happen just about every afternoon in the West.

For reference, Buena Vista is 7965' EL so you'll have 4,161' to climb.

An easier way to Taylor Park is to take Hwy 50 to Gunnison and Taylor Reservoir is 28 mi. from there.  You'll come to a tiny town of Almont at 8,022' EL and head to Taylor Park along the fast-flowing Taylor River.  Fishing is excellent there & also at Taylor.  There are a few national forest campgrounds from Almont up to Taylor Park.  Taylor Park is at 9300' EL. so it's not a big climb.

We drove from Almont to Taylor Park - where we've always stayed a half-dozen times with our 40' motorhome pulling the Jeep.  We drove the Jeep to Buena Vista from Taylor Park when Cottonwood Pass was still 1/2 gravel.  It's newly paved all the way now and in excellent condition.

You can easily do a day trip to Crested Butte - a pleasant little town.


Mt. Evans paved highway is 14,130'

Pikes Peak paved highway is 14,115'

Cottonwood paved highway is 12,126'

Trail Ridge Rd. (Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park) is 12,183'

Independence Pass paved highway is 12,095'

Monarch Pass on Hwy 50 is paved 11,312' .... westbound - 6% downhill for 9 miles.... get into low gear before even beginning the downhill so you don't have to use your vehicle brakes much.

Since we love Colorado so much and had a Jeep I think we drove just about every paved and unpaved road in Colorado!   Enjoy!!

Edited by 2gypsies
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The only problem I ever ran into on Cottonwood was on the west side years ago. We were held in place by a very large bull that seemed to think the road was his. It was a 30 minute standoff before he got bored. I honestly don't know if that is open range any more or not.

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