Hiking Project Logo

A lengthy hike from downtown Salida, heading straight up Cottonwood Gulch to an elevated viewpoint on Rumba Ridge.


Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

12.2

Miles

19.6

KM

Out and Back

8,802' 2,683 m

High

7,042' 2,146 m

Low

1,836' 560 m

Up

1,836' 560 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Expect high-speed downhill mountain bike traffic.

Overview

The Cottonwood Trail provides a fantastic long-distance out-and-back hike from downtown Salida. In fact, the route shown here can even be extended if you're truly looking for long mileage. The Cottonwood Trail winds up a narrow gulch between towering hillsides, at times passing through narrow rock canyons, before culminating at an elevated viewpoint with spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the Sawatch range.

Description

Depart from the F-Street Bridge Trailhead by crossing the train tracks and looking for the signs for Rise-N-Shine. Take a right on Rise-n-Shine and follow the signs along the base of the hills to the Maybe trail. Take a left on Maybe and begin climbing steeply up the hillside.

Continue straight/uphill at the junctions with Rise-n-Shine, Sweet Dreams, and Backbone to reach the Cottonwood Trail. After passing the left turn to Unkle Nazty (and remaining on the Cottonwood Trail), there are no more trail junctions to worry about.

Now it's time to settle in and climb. While the trail is never steep, it gains elevation consistently as it winds up the bottom of the gulch. The trail crisscrosses the gulch, and if you're not looking for it, you might miss where the singletrack climbs out of the bottom of the wash. If you miss the trail, it's usually not a problem—you can often hike straight up the bottom of the wash if you so choose, although you'll encounter much rougher rocks and looser footing.

At a fork in the gulch, where a wide-open valley heads up and to the right, the trail continues up and left into a narrow canyon known as the Waterfall section. This is a steep, rocky section, but it's still fairly easy to get up, even if you need to use a hand on a rock here or there.

The Waterfall is over quickly, and the trail transforms into a smooth uphill with turns that swing back and forth across a gully. After a hard left turn, the trail zigzags uphill to reach the top of Rumba Ridge.

On top of Rumba Ridge, you'll receive a well-earned reward for your work: spectacular views of the Sangre De Cristo and Sawatch mountain ranges! This viewpoint is the marked turnaround.

However, if you haven't had enough yet, you can continue on Rumba and cross the road onto Beasway. The singletrack begins alternating between descents and climbs after passing the top of Rumba Ridge. From this point, it more or less rolls along the mountainside.

In total, there's another 3.5 miles of singletrack to reach the upper Cottonwood/Beasway parking lot, which would add an additional 7 miles to this out-and-back route, for a maximum distance of just over 19 miles.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2257

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#366

in Colorado

#2,257

Overall
0 Views Last Month
0 Since May 5, 2024
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
0%
100%
0%
0%

Photos

Climbing the Frontside Trail.
Apr 15, 2024 near Salida, CO
View from Rumba Ridge.
May 5, 2024 near Salida, CO
Frontside Trail near Loyal Duke's Grave.
May 5, 2024 near Salida, CO
View from Rumba Ridge.
May 5, 2024 near Salida, CO
View from the top of S-Mountain.
Apr 15, 2024 near Salida, CO
Bighorn Sheep on Frontside.
May 5, 2024 near Salida, CO

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 66 days ago
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none
Welcome

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started