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Cottonwood Trailhead

Cottonwood Trailhead



People enjoy open space for physical, emotional and mental health. Remember to always be courteous. Don't forget to: 

  • Plan visits ahead of time and don’t park illegally at full trailhead areas.
  • Remember to “keep the space in open space.” Maintain 6 feet of distance from people not in your household.
  • Leave No Trace. Stay on trail and walk through mud. If you step off trail to let others pass, immediately step back on trail. 
  • Protect first responders. Know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks.
  • Visit to see current trail closures, historical data that shows areas of high and low open space use and trails that are wider than 6 feet. See when trails are busiest through our Visitation Data Explorer.


On the south side of Independence Road, 0.2 miles east of the Diagonal Highway.

Please check for Trail & Area Closures.

Or view the interactive trail map (includes trail closures) and the interactive wildlife closures map

You are responsible for knowing and complying with all closures and OSMP rules & regulations.


Parking lot at the trailhead on Independence Road. The entrance on Jay Road is an access point with no parking.


Please keep your car doors locked and your car windows rolled up at all times while leaving your vehicle parked at OSMP trailheads. Also consider leaving important valuables at home or take them with you while visiting open space. To report suspicious activity please call City of Boulder Dispatch 303-441-3333 or Boulder County Dispatch 303-441-4444. For crimes in progress, call 911 immediately.


An RTD bus passes very close to this trailhead. Learn about Taking the Bus to OSMP.


View Cottonwood Trail Map pdf

Cottonwood Trail (1.2 mile) extends north and south from the parking lot. Southward it is hard surface, wheelchair accessible and heavily used by bicycle riders. The path follows the Four-mile Canyon Creek ditch and passes by Hayden Lake (**Please note that this is a private lake) as it heads southwestward to the 47th Street bikeway. North from the trailhead, the path is soft surface, open to bikes, and when dry appropriate to sport chairs. It passes through agricultural grazing lands and over Fourmile Creek to Jay Road where the trail ends.


This area is identified as being popular with people using wheelchairs. See the Accessible Trails Page for details.


No facilities available.


No picnic facilities.


Bicycles are allowed on this trail. Bicycles may be ridden only on those trails that are posted with the international bicycle symbol. Other bike trails on OSMP.


Cottonwood Dog Regulations Map

Learn about bringing your dog to OSMP. North of the trailhead dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times unless they meet the voice and sight control standard and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight tag. Dogs are not allowed west of the trail in the prairie dog preserve. South of the trailhead the trail enters the city limits where dogs are required to be on leash. Dog excrement removal is required by law.


Horses are allowed on all trails. On-trail riding is encouraged to protect rare plants and wildlife habitat. Learn more about riding your horse on OSMP.


Prairie dogs are protected on this site. You may observe brown plastic along the bottom of the fences. This is "prairie dog fencing" designed to keep the prairie dogs in the preserve.


  • Historically an area of farming and cattle ranching. Cattle are still grazed on the property and utilized as a weed management tool.