At the top of Cottonwood Pass is the Skyline Hike. It’s only a 1.6 mile hike (round trip) to the small summit at 12,574′ in elevation but you can continue on the Colorado/Continental Divide trail as far as you want. I continued down over the saddle and up to the next highest point to where the trail started to head back down into the treeline – about 4.9 miles round trip.
The best time to get on the trails around here is as early as possible – lol – I only met a few people who hiked past the small summit (most were thru-hikers) but, about 1/2 a mile from my truck, 4 school buses worth of parents and children of all ages started the hike up to the summit. It was almost painful to see that many people on the trail at once.
It was REALLY windy once I passed the summit but the views were just amazing. You get a 360° view of the Collegiate Peaks, the Sawatch Range, Taylor Park and all the way to the Elks near Crested Butte.