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 4.5 (40)

From baby heads to berms, this trail has it all!

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8,360' 2,548 m


7,483' 2,281 m


0' 0 m


877' 267 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Not Allowed


The trailhead for Cottonwood can be reached either by shuttling or pedaling about 7 miles up County Road 175 out of Salida. Look for a large unpaved parking area on the right (south) side of the road, which has a large kiosk.

The first section of the Cottonwood trail starts as Beasway Trail, with a fairly gradual climb through a shady pine forest. This will be a welcomed bit of respite from from the full sun exposure on the road if you're riding during the summer. This trail got a major facelift in the summer of 2014 and now follows a very different path to start. Expect smooth, nicely bench-cut trail that contours across a rather exposed topography. There are a few minor rock features to navigate on this first section of singletrack, but for the most part it is all smooth and flowing.

The descents feature in-sloped corners and a smooth surface so you can really let it go here. Some of the best views of the Collegiate Range can be seen from this portion of the trail.

Eventually, you'll come to a junction with Forest Road 173, cross it and continue on the singletrack signed as Rumba Trail. This will start with a climb, until you get on top of the actual ridge, overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Salida to the right. This is where the fun starts.

Follow the ridge out and back down, into the drainage, where the trail really starts to flow. Watch out for some sneaky left turns. This leads to the "Waterfall" section (technical, might check it out first before riding it) and then the actual Cottonwood Gulch, the start of the actual Cottonwood Trail.

The trail rolls up and down both banks of the gulch as well as straight lining the riverbed at times. Expect the most technical, rocky riding you've seen yet. There are large roll-over features, drops, loose rocks and tight chutes. In short, this is a technical trail rider's dream. Hold on all the way down to the junction with Unkle Nazty and keep left to stay on Cottonwood.

This trail has its terminus at an intersection with Backbone and Sweet Dreams. Take Backbone if you want to get back to town quickest/easiest. Take Sweet Dreams for more great singletrack, to Dream On and/or Chicken Dinner Trail.


Shared By:

Taber West with improvements by Marcel S and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 40 votes


  4.5 from 40 votes
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in Colorado


21 Views Last Month
10,175 Since Sep 9, 2013



Chasing the sunset down Beasway, Rumba, Cottonwood and Sand Dunes
Apr 27, 2022 near Salida, CO
Believe it or not, this is a part of Cottonwood Trail. Fun for tech-loving riders and hike-a-bike for more timid riders.
Oct 10, 2014 near Salida, CO
Beautiful Salida Singletrack
Oct 10, 2014 near Salida, CO
Cottonwood, Salida, CO.
Oct 21, 2018 near Salida, CO


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Apr 15, 2022
Christina Thomas
Oct 4, 2020
Sue U.
Sep 21, 2020
Yvonne Barnes
The 3rd paragragh is totally incorrect. This is how it was until about 6 years ago!
Sep 6, 2019
Tim McCabe
Trail destroyed. Washed out by flash flooding earlier in the week. Such a tragedy!
Jul 6, 2019
Connor Parish
An incredibly fun all-over-the-map trail with everything from flow to mad tech. A true gem of a technical ride in beautiful Salida, CO. 2.9mi — 0h 21m
Jun 30, 2019
Luke Perkerwicz
Jun 23, 2019
Justin Carrier
Hell ya 10mi — 1h 15m
Jun 2, 2019
Thomas Pyke