Week of Camping at Cottonwood Lake
Megan From Texas On Her Camping Experience (Summer 2007)
Minivans, while completely un-sexy, have an amazing ability to carry untold numbers of people, dogs and all their accompanying "stuff." Last summer (2007) my dog rescue friend Debi, her four school age kids and three medium to large breed dogs in addition to myself and my two German Shepherds all piled into her light blue minivan and traveled from Austin, Texas to spend a fabulous week at Cottonwood Lake.
After hearing about how great the Buena Vista/Salida area was from my friend Steve, we decided that Cottonwood Lake Campground would be our home away from home during our time in Colorado.
We could not have asked for a better experience! The lake is breathtaking as is the surrounding National Forest ... great for hiking, horseback riding (stable near the entrance of the park!), fishing, or scaling 14,000+ foot peaks. I especially enjoyed quiet morning strolls/hikes with my dogs as the sun came up. We would walk along the shoreline listening to the fish jump up to catch gnats silly enough to fly close to the water's surface. Then after days filled with fun adventures like whitewater rafting, visiting local ghost towns, swimming in natural hot springs, and even driving into town to catch an evening movie at Buena Vista’s real live “drive-in-theater” (and so much more) we would fall asleep listening to the wind blow through the pine trees above our tents.
The list of things to do in the area is long ... art shopping in Salida to catching a sunset at the top of a mountain pass ... there is something for everyone!
From a practical standpoint for tent campers, Cottonwood Lake offers nice sized, private campsites with pretty mountain views. The “facilities” were kept clean and in close enough proximity to any of the campsites. Water (non-potable) was also easily accessible. We had no issues with bugs or even loud/pesky two legged neighbors during our stay. And the park is only about 15-30 minutes away from those wonderful little comforts that make "roughing it" so much more enjoyable ... places such as grocery stores, laundromats and public pools that offer really hot showers!
I hope to get back to the area again this year ... there are more mountains to hike and more trails to explore!
One more photo of the lake