Cottonwood Meadows Recreation Area Trail System
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Cottonwood Creek Trail # 127:
Trail Length: 5 miles
Elevation: Low, 5280 ft., High, 6120 ft. Elevation difference, 840 ft.
Difficulty Level: Easy for hikers/bikers and Moderate to Difficult for horses
This trail follows the course of Cottonwood Creek from the Cottonwood Meadows Lake recreation area to Forest Road 3870.014. It provides access to excellent trout fishing for its entire length in the deeply shaded riffles and holes of Cottonwood Creek. This lively little stream creates a relaxing background sound as it tumbles and gurgles its way down the drainage.
This is a nice hiking and mountain biking trail with easy grades. It does, however, have a few rather narrow clearance sections in its upper reaches near Cottonwood Meadows Lake that make the difficulty level higher for horseback users. The environment consists of shady stands of mixed conifers with some large mature cottonwood trees in the lower reaches of the trail.
Visitors to the Cottonwood Meadows Campground will find this to be a nice trail for a day-hike to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest and a good place to do a some small stream fishing for rainbow trout.
Cougar Peak Trail # 125:
Trail Length: 5 miles
Elevation: Low, 6200 ft., High, 7919 ft., Elevation difference, 1719 feet
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult
This trail provides access from the Cottonwood Meadows Lake Campground to the top of Cougar Peak, one of the highest points in this vicinity. Trail users will find points of geologic interest along this route in the interesting shale slides and rock outcrops and be rewarded for the climb to the summit with panoramic vistas of the surrounding country. Views of Gearhart Mountain, Abert Rim, and the Goose Lake Valley are fantastic from this lofty vantage point.
The environment consists of both open country with low growing shrubs the dominant vegetation and deeply shaded stands of mixed conifers. Wildlife viewing is excellent and seasonal wildflowers are plentiful in the spring and early summer.
A separate trail on an old jeep road provides a safer alternate route in the upper elevations of the trail for horseback riders who wish to avoid the shale slides.
This trail provides visitors to the Cottonwood Meadows recreation area a good day-hike with spectacular scenery from the top of Cougar Peak.
Cottonwood Loop Trail # 128:
Trail Length: 2 miles
Elevation: Low, 6160 ft., High, 6250 ft., Elevation difference, 90 ft.
Difficulty Level: Easy
This trail provides a loop trail around the Cottonwood Meadows recreation area. It is a popular trail with horseback riders. Many riders like to take this trail in conjunction with a trip up the Cougar Peak trail for an enjoyable 12 mile round trip ride.
On the loop trail visitors will see beautiful groves of white trunked quaking aspens, some extremely large diameter mature ponderosa pines, and have views of the lake.
This is a great trail for family hikes as it is fairly level and not too difficult for even the youngest hiker. It is also a fun and easy mountain bike trail.
What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do
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