Cottonwood Lake Campground is a very popular site for campers, as well as anglers. Campsites fill up quickly on weekends. Weekdays can be less busy, and campsites may be much more available. This facility has 24 campsites. The campground is situated on a gently sloping hillside surrounded by young stands of aspen trees.
Water is provided by a solar-powered pump. RV's and camp trailers cannot fill their water tanks from the campground faucets due to the poor recovery of the well. Water tanks should be filled up in Buena Vista prior to visiting the campground.
No showers are available and restrooms are simple vault toilets.
At a Glance
Check in: 2 pm
Check out: 12 pm (noon)
Quiet hours: 10 pm to 6 am
This is a first-come, first-served campground.
Tent camping,Camping trailer,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
$20.00 fee per site for overnight camping. Two (2) vehicles or one (1) RV per site is included in the camping fee. $5.00 for a third vehicle.
$6.00 fee for day use if not camping overnight.
Fees are payable by check or money order. Self-servicing fee tube is available.
First-come, first-served sites must be occupied the SAME NIGHT.
Golden Age and Golden Access Cardholder: 50% discount off the camping fee only.
05/15/2015 - 09/28/2015
The following restrictions apply to this campground:
Maximum 8 persons per site: 2 tents and 2 vehicles or 1 recreation vehicle (RV).
Maximum RV length is 35 ft.
Vehicles must park on the parking pads provided.
ATV's are not allowed in the campground unless on trailers.
Dogs must be leashed at all times.
No discharge of firearms or fireworks.
Only licensed vehicles can operate inside campground.
Camping is NOT ALLOWED behind a LOCKED GATE.
Buena Vista, Colorado
Yes, 2 accessible toilets
The Interagency Senior Pass (previously known as the Golden Age Pass) and the Interagency Access Pass qualifies for a 50% discount at concessionaire run campsites. The discount only applies to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass owner, not to any additional campsite(s) occupied by members of the pass owner's party.
Contact the Salida Ranger District at 719-539-3591
During peak season, this campground is a full-service campground. Extended season has reduced service such as water, trash, or a host may not be available.
To get to Cottonwood Lake, travel north on Highway 24 to the only stoplight in Buena Vista. Turn left at the stoplight and travel west on Main Street. Main Street will leave the city limits of Buena Vista and will continue as County Road 306, also known as the Cottonwood Pass road. Stay on this road for about 6 miles then turn left at County Road 344 and the sign that indicates Cottonwood Lake, 3 miles. This road can be rough so drive slowly.
This site is not universally accessible.
Parking is permitted on the parking pads provided at each campsite. Do not park on the main campground roadway.
Camping & Cabins
This campground is located just west of Cottonwood Lake, on the north side of County Road 344. The campground is situated in a stand of young aspens. Most sites are located in full sun with little shade. Restrooms are provided. There is no dump station available and no dumping of grey/waste water allowed. No electrical hookups are available.
This campground is not available for reservations and all sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis.
Reservations are not taken for this campground!
This campground is extremely busy from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Weekends are busiest with campers having better luck finding a campsite during the middle of the week.
This campground is located just west of Cottonwood Lake, on the north side of County Road 344. The campground is situated in a stand of young aspens. Most sites are located in full sun with little shade. Restrooms are provided. There is no dump station available and no dumping of grey/waste water allowed. No electrical hookups are available. This campground can accomodate RV's up to 35 feet.
Dispersed camping is permitted approximately .75 miles west of Cottonwood Lake. Camping is not permitted within 100 feet of the stream.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
NOTE: Motorized dispersed camping is authorized within one vehicle length off of designated Forest Roads. Campers should use care when parking and not damage soils or cause erosion.
Groups of 75 or more persons, must contact the Salida Ranger District and apply for a "Group Use" permit.
Summer and Fall
Lake and Pond Fishing
Cottonwood Lake is located .25 miles east of the campground and offers anglers some of the best fishing around. Hand-propelled boats and canoes are permitted on the lake.
River and Stream Fishing
Stream fishing is available on the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek. The creek can be accessed by walking directly south of the campground or by driving west on Forest Road 344 for about .5 miles. Another good spot for stream fishing is at the Green Timber Gulch trailhead located 3 miles west of the Cottonwood Lake campground.
Summer and Fall
Parking is available at the trailhead.
The drive, via Forest Road 344, up to Mineral Basin is spectacular, especially in the fall when the aspen trees are turning golden. This road is not recommended for passenger cars but high-clearance vehicle can travel with little difficulty.
Forest Road 344 travels west from Cottonwood Lake campground.
Heavy use during the summer months.
Summer and Fall
Easy to Intermediate
No OHV rentals are available for this area. Check with the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce at 719-395-6612 for information of local jeep and OHV rentals.
OHV Riding & Camping
OHV Road Riding
Dispersed camping is permitted .75 miles west of Cottonwood Lake campground and many OHV riders will ride Forest Road 344 from their campsites. OHV are required to stay on designate roads and observe all signs indicated closures to motorized traffic.
OHV riders can travel on Forest Road 344 into the Mineral Basin where the road terminates at an historic iron mine.