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View from Cottonwood Pass looking east into Chaffee County. Photo by Jan Wondra.

This morning, Chaffee County Road and Bridge Department announced that it plans to reopen Cottonwood Pass, CR 306, for the season by Friday, May 26. Both Chaffee County and Gunnison County sides of the pass will be opened.

Chaffee County Road & Bridge Department will be working in concert with Gunnison County Public Works Department this evening, Thursday, May 25 to clear the top of the pass.

Road & Bridge anticipates the coordinated effort will have the pass cleared on both sides of the county line no later than the morning of Friday, May 26, and fully open to vehicular traffic at that time.

Chaffee Commissioner Keith Baker spoke at the reopening of Cottonwood Pass in Oct. 2019. Behind him, you can see the faint trail of the Continental Divide Trail. Photo by Jan Wondra.

Cottonwood Pass crosses the Continental Divide at an elevation of 12,120 feet. It connects Chaffee and Gunnison counties on Chaffee County Road 306 and Gunnison County Road 209.

The top of the pass was re-engineered and widened only a couple of years ago to make it safer. The Colorado Trail winds across the pass, and a popular vantage point on the trail can be accessed from the paved parking area added at the top of the pass.

Cottonwood Pass is generally closed from early October through mid-May due to heavy snow accumulation. It is the highest public road in the continental United States and the drive is a popular summer rite of passage for residents of Chaffee and Gunnison counties and tourists alike.