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Cottonwood Creek Campground

Dave McReynolds

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Dave McReynolds

This is a bit of a cheat, in that this is not a report of a motorcycle ride, but the road to Cottonwood Creek Campground would be such a spectacular motorcycle ride that I had to post it anyway. We drove to this campground last week because the trailhead is there for a backpacking/climbing trip we just returned from yesterday.


Leaving from Lone Pine, California to the west toward the Sierras on the road to Whitney Portal, you make a left turn at the Alabama Hills, the site of many cowboy western movies. Then, over the next ten miles or so, you gain over a mile in elevation on this perfectly wonderful paved road until you arrive at Cottonwood Creek Campground at an elevation of just over 10,000 feet. I've stayed at many campgrounds in California, and I would guess this might be the highest one served by a paved road. As you wind up the road, it is easy to imagine you are in a small airplane, if you look out toward the east. Here is a shot looking back toward Lone Pine.




Here is a shot looking up at two of the switchbacks to come.




It is a beautiful campground, with lots of spaces available on the day we stayed there. A word of caution: 10,000 feet can be high enough to feel it, if you're not used to the elevation, so you might go easy on the booze if you camp there, or you're likely to have a whopper of a headache during the night. Altitude sickness is a funny thing. It hits you harder when you're laying down resting than it does when you're active. I guess it helps to be pumping blood through your lungs.


Well, anyway, since I'm cheating anyway, here's a shot of our base camp for our climbs, Sky Blue Lake. Our camp was near the outlet at the right side of the lake, but you probably won't be able to see it in the picture.




As you can see, conditions are still somewhat wintery there in late June. The mountain in the background is the Miter, which we climbed the next day. I caught this picture of Nancy climbing the Miter.



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If you look REAL close you can see the Frontier Motel in Lone Pine in the pic where we stayed June 8th on our way back from riding Sonora, Carson and Monitor Passes....Kathy wanted to ride up to Cottonwood but didn't have enough day left when we got there and the pool and beer were calling...

Thanks for the report.....I know how nice it is there way up in the mountains....



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