This segment of the Rainbow Trail leads 12 miles north from North Brush Creek to Big Cottonwood Creek. This part of the Rainbow Trail may be used by hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. Undeveloped sites along the trail and at the trailheads are available for camping. No facilities or drinking water are provided. Fishing is popular from the side trails along the route, particularly at Brush Creek, Rainbow and Balman Reservoir Lakes.
Directions from Salida: North Brush Creek: Drive east on Highway 50 to Cotopaxi. Turn right on Road 1A. Drive approximately 7.25 miles to Highway 69. Turn right on 69. Travel to Hillside where 69 intersects with Road 198. Turn right on to 198 and follow it for less than a mile. Take the first left, which is 191. Follow 191 for 2 miles to 192 forks to the right. Take this fork and follow it almost 3 miles to the trailhead.
Directions from Salida: Big Cottonwood Creek: Follow Highway 50 southeast from Salida to County Road 40 about 1 mile southwest of Coaldale. Take 40 about 3.5 miles to the trailhead. The above sites are accessible by autos and small trucks with small trailers.
Late May through Mid-October .