Frenchmen's Creek

Frenchmen's Creek is located on the eastern border of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, northwest of Buena Vista. This is NOT, however, the best aproach to Mount Columbia or Mount Harvard; North Cottonwood Trail, on the Salida District, is a much better trail.

To access Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia, follow the North Cottonwood Trail to the junction with Horn Fork Basin/Bear Lake Trail. The route cuts off prior to Bear Lake and ascends Harvard’s south slopes.

For detailed route information please visit the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative website at:

At a Glance

Usage: Medium

General Information


From Buena Vista, travel west on County Road 306 for 2.5 miles to County Road 361. Turn right on this road and travel north for 2.5 miles. You need to watch for the road sign for County Road 365 (North Cottonwood) on the left. The road makes a hard left and travels west from the intersection towards the mountains. Stay on County Road 365 for 3.5 miles. The Colorado Trail crosses the road at this point. The road will continue west for 1.4 miles and end at the North Cottonwood Trailhead.

General Notes:

Dispersed camping is permitted along the road to North Cottonwood. Campers must camp at least 100 feet away from the stream.

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.

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