It’s a plan. Both Chaffee County and Gunnison County Sides of the Pass to be Opened by Memorial Day
Chaffee County Road & Bridge Department has announced its plans to reopen Cottonwood Pass to vehicular traffic for the 2022 summer season by the morning of Friday, May 27.
Chaffee County Road crews will be working in concert with Gunnison County Public Works Department to clear the roads up to the pass on Thursday, May 26. They anticipate the route will be fully cleared on both sides of the county line late that same day.
That is unless more snow falls. Over the past five days, more than two feet of new, wet snow has fallen on the Continental Divide, several inches just last night.
Cottonwood Pass crosses the Continental Divide at 12,120 feet, connecting Chaffee and Gunnison counties on Chaffee County Road 306 and Gunnison County Road 209. The Pass is generally closed from early October through mid-May due to heavy snow accumulation. Due to a mild fall in 2021, the popular, scenic road remained open until the end of October.
The pass was closed for nearly two years in 2018 and 2019 for major construction work, making the two-lane road safer. It is officially the highest paved road over the Continental Divide of the United States.
Featured image: View from Cottonwood Pass in Chaffee county, looking west into Gunnison County. Photo by Jan Wondra.