Collegiate Peaks Campground is located 11 miles west of Buena Vista, Colorado, along Middle Cottonwood Creek near the top of Cottonwood Pass. The campground offers well-spaced campsites and scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors enjoy fishing and exploring local trails. A commercial hot springs inn and spa is located about 5 miles east of the campground.
"First come, first served" does not necessarily mean that the site will be available when you get there. Someone may get there before you. This is a popular campground and is normally full starting on Friday, sometimes as early as Thursday, so plan accordingly.
The campground offers several single-family sites on three loops. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, campfire ring and grill. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Sites# 1, and 18-30 are first come-first served, also called "Walk-up" sites. All other sites are reservable. Site #2 is used by the host from mid-May through September. After that time it is available as a "walk-up", first-come, first-served site.
About 15 minutes from the Collegiate Peaks campground is Cottonwood Lake Campground, a first come-first served, no reservation facility which is located on County Road 344. It is a very popular site for campers, as well as anglers. Campsites fill up quickly on weekends. Camping and campfires are restricted in on County Rd 344 to developed campgrounds only. Starting at about 1 mile west of Cottonwood Lake campground dispersed, primitive camping is allowed.
Two vehicles or one RV/Trailer and tow vehicle per site is included in the camping fee. $10.00 for a third vehicle.
Firewood is available for sale at host site for $10.00/bundle.
The campground sits at an elevation of 9,800 feet, tucked in a dense stand of mixed conifers and aspen. Some sites sit alongside the creek while others are tucked back in the woods. Afternoon thunderstorms are common during summer months.
Cottonwood Pass is a high mountain pass across the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The road reaches the divide at an elevation of 12,126 feet. The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness offers challenging trails and prime backcountry fishing lakes. The Town of Buena Vista is only a short drive away where visitors can enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops, incredible art galleries and a large selection of antique shops. The area boasts more than 100 miles of Arkansas River to raft, fish, float or kayak in, as well as fifteen 14,000 ft mountains. Visitors can choose from recreational activities like hiking, biking, ATV/UTV riding, kayaking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, zipping and swimming.
Hiking and fishing are among the most popular activities. The Denny Creek Trailhead is less than a mile away and it take hikers through Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area to destinations such as Kroenke Lake and Mt. Yale. The Ptarmigan Lake Trailhead is less than 3 miles from the campground and boasts views of vivid wildflowers. Middle Cottonwood Creek is small but fairly well-stocked with brook trout. Determined anglers can often pull rainbow and cutthroat trout from the beaver ponds west of the campground.
Individual Campsites: Cancellations up to 2 days before a reservation start date incur a $10.00 cancellation fee.
A visitor who cancels a reservation the day before or on the day of arrival will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee including tax and applicable add-on for a campsite.
Cancellations for a one-night reservation will forfeit the entire amount paid and will not be subject to an additional service fee.
A no-show visitor is one who does not arrive at a campground and does not cancel the reservation by check-out time on the day after the scheduled arrival date. Staff will hold a campsite until check-out time on the day following the arrival date.
No-shows are assessed $20.00 service fee and forfeit the first night's rate, taxes and applicable add-on for a campsite.
Visitors may submit a refund request through their Recreation.gov profile within 7 days of the end date of their reservation. Refunds will not be issued after the 7 days has ended.
Refunds for debit or credit card payments will be issued as a credit to the original bank or credit card used to pay.
For check or cash purchases, Recreation.gov will mail a Treasury check for refunds of cash, check, or money order payments to the address associated with the reservation. Treasury check refunds may take up to 6-8 weeks to arrive.
In the event of an emergency closure, the Recreation.gov team or facility manager will refund all fees and will attempt to notify you using the contact information within the Recreation.gov visitor profile.
SALIDA RANGER DISTRICT OFFICE (719)539-3591 (FOR INFORMATION ONLY M-F 8AM-4:30PM) 5575 CLEORA RD SALIDA CO 81201
For campground inquiries, please call: CAMPGROUNDS DO NOT HAVE PHONE SERVICE, CALLING TO CHECK AVAILABILITY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IS NOT POSSIBLE. FOR RESERVATIONS CALL: 1-877-444-6777
From Buena Vista, Colorado, take Highway 306. At the stoplight, go west for 11 miles toward Cottonwood Pass. Campground is located on the left-hand side of the road. Highway 306 is paved on east side of Cottonwood Pass.