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I've searched, but "crested butte" brings up 8 pgs of threads on the front range forum alone. How do you guys get to CB? I've heard of the shortcut straight west from buena vista, as opposed to going south to salida->gunnison->CB. How long should I expect the shortcut to take? Is it paved or unpaved?
 

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Cottonwood pass. Paved only on the east side. Graded dirt road coming down the west side and through Taylor park, but it's often miles and miles of washboards. Personally, I think it's better to go via US 50.
 

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just drove it last weekend, it's in good shape not too many washboards... basically it takes the same time, but shorter in distance. If you are driving in daylight take Cottonwood... +1 for Doctor's
 

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I do this trip every year from Front Range.

I-70 to Copper Mtn
CO91 to Leadville
US24 to Buena Vista
Cty Hwy 306/209 over Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Reservoir
Cty Hwy 742 to Jack's Cabin Cutoff
CO135 to Crested Butte

Just drove Cottonwood pass last week. Its in great shape - minimal washboards.

I feel like this route saves a lot of time vs Monarch pass.
 

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bacon! bacon! bacon!
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Cottonwood Pass saves LOTS of time getting to the Butte if:

1) You're willing to drive fast on a dirt road that may be badly washboard (AWD helps a lot with this).
2) You don't get caught behind one road maggot after another.
 

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I've done both routes many times and I prefer US 50. The time difference is negligible, and if you get stuck behind a group of people towing campers on your way to Taylor reservoir you may end up chewing dust for a long time. Jack's Cutoff can get washboarded out sometimes, too. However, if you've never done it then you should just to see that area.

But yeah, Dr. Park is well worth the visit regardless of which way you go.
 

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The Notorious S.L.O
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kosayno said:
I'm planning on making the pilgrimmage in Septmember. Does one need a high clearance vehicle once off pavement over Cottonwood Pass?
High clearance not required, as stated the washboard can be epic in frequency and length of road that is affected, challenging all things attached to your car, we had to tighten everthing back down once we got to CB.

and, if you get behind a camper or boat, they will be crawling thru any washboard section.
I prefer 50 to Gunnison.
 

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The Hwy 50 route is 230 miles
The Cottonwood route is 194 miles

You can easily lose the time saved by the fewer miles on Cottonwood with traffic, road conditions, etc.

It's still the best way to go. :cool:
 

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You must not ski or snowboard? Avoid I70 like the plague, especially if you are heading back on sunday but the top of crow hill really SUCKS right now if you are headed back to denver!
If you have never been over cottonwood pass you should really take that route!! It's a really nice drive even if there are washboards and RV's

rsi said:
kinda depends if you are travelling during heavy traffic times on 285....
 

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cbrock450 said:
You must not ski or snowboard? Avoid I70 like the plague, especially if you are heading back on sunday but the top of crow hill really SUCKS right now if you are headed back to denver!
If you have never been over cottonwood pass you should really take that route!! It's a really nice drive even if there are washboards and RV's
285 is not a big secret. traffic can get pretty ugly there too especially when you're not able to pass ...Cottonwood pass is a nice drive tho
 

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I have a place in CB, but reside in the front range, so I do the drive regularly. Cottonwood is typically good for a 30 min time savings versus going over Monarch Pass in my experience. Traffic can always be a wrinkle ... but that's true either way. Cottonwood is also far more scenic than Monarch (IMHO).
 

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resurrecting an old thread, because I'm headed to CB this weekend. I will be towing a small camper (cue SkaredShtles derisive comments ;)). I can go highway speeds pretty easily in it, but am not sure how well it will handle a rough road. Should I go over Cottonwood or just go around to Gunny.
 
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