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Cottonwood Pass Road reopens in Eagle County

Portions of the road are not paved and there are sharp turns and steep drop-offs.
Credit: cj2a - stock.adobe.com

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — Cottonwood Pass Road, in Eagle and Garfield counties, reopened for the summer on Monday.

The mountain road, which runs from Gypsum to the Roaring Fork Valley between Carbondale and Basalt, will remain open through autumn, weather permitting.

Drivers are asked to use caution when driving this road, as portions of the road are not paved, there are many sharp turns and steep drop-offs.

Eagle County officials said regulations prohibit travel on portions of Cottonwood Pass for oversized vehicles without a permit.

Cottonwood Pass Road is not to be confused with Cottonwood Pass between Gunnison and Chaffee counties.

The road over Cottonwood Pass between Buena Vista and Almont, in south-central Colorado, is the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States. The pass, Chaffee County Road 306, is still closed or the season.

Colorado chain and traction laws

The CDOT urged travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway:

  • Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it's critical to use chains to comply with Colorado's chain law.
  • Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All passenger vehicles must have appropriate all-weather tires with 3/16-inch depth. Vehicles must have one of the following: winter tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, chains or alternative traction devices such as an autosock. 4WD and AWD vehicles must have winter tires or all-weather tires.
  • Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains, except for 4WD and AWD vehicles with all-weather tires with 3/16-inch tread depth.

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