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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Saguache Ranger District

Quick Facts

Cotton Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,000 Feet (3117.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet (311.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,000 Feet (3428.9 Meters) Ends at junction with Rito Alto Trail #745.
Length, One-way: 11.0 Miles (18.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 749
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Electric Peak, Valley View Hot Springs

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The trail is well marked and maintained. It follows the creek through a rugged, steep canyon and diverse scenery. Teacup Lake presents an opportunity for primitive route-finding.

Attractions are fishing in the creek and lakes, wildlife, and numerous good campsites.

Directions from Mirage Lake Road: Take Colorado Highway 17 north 7.5 miles to Mirage Lake Road AA). Go east from Highway 17 for 5 miles. Turn north on gravel road for 2 miles. Turn east on new access road constructed in 1989 to the trailhead.

Directions from Forest Trail 856: Horsethief Basin Trail

Directions from Forest Trail 745: Via Rito Alto Trail 745

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: *Actual Elevation Gain = 3617 ft., NOT 1000 ft. as indicated by info on this web site. *Distance from trail head to Cotton Lake approx. 8 mi. (El. Gain = 3017 ft.) *Numerous trail reroutes which are NOT indicated on the 1994 USGS Electric Peak TopoMap.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Numerous good campsites
ICON Cold Water Fishing Creek and lakes
ICON Hiking & Walking Cotton Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Well marked and maintained

Related Activities
Horse Thief Basin Trail - The trail is brushy and infrequently maintained. It exists mainly as a connector between the North and South Brush Creek drainages and Cotton Creek.

North Crestone Creek Campground - North Crestone Campground is in the narrow valley of North Crestone Creek at the base of Sangre de Cristo Range.

North Crestone Creek Trail - The trail offers excellent possibilities for extended backpacking or just a good day hike from the campground. Attractions are fishing the creek and lake, excellent scenery, waterfalls and opportunity to see bighorn sheep and occasionally bear.

North Crestone Loop Trail - The trail exists as a connector between Comanche Lake and the North Crestone drainage. The trail offers spectacular viewing near Phantom Terrace.

North Fork Crestone Trail - The trail is in good condition and offers numerous possibilities for circuit routes with other trails lasting from 2 days to a week. This route is a photographer's dream.

Rito Alto Trail - The trail ascends a rugged, steep canyon with diverse vegetation and is well marked. Attractions are fishing in the creek and lake, and big game.

Wild Cherry Creek Trail - The trail offers the opportunity for a long day trip or a pleasant overnight. Attractions are the easy access, fishing in the lake, and big game.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Creede-Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 580 , Creede, CO, 81130, Phone: 800-327-2102 or 719-658-2374, Fax: 719-658-2717


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