Peak:  De Anza Peak A (13er)
 Route:  Cotton creek
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  9patrickmurphy
 Date of Info:  06/15/2021
 Date Posted:  06/16/2021

The Cotton Creek trail is in rough shape. Really great, cruiser trail until about 4 miles in at the 4th creek crossing: the logs are in a very precarious position so take your time. Immediately after the 4th corssing there is an impressive amount of fallen trees making the trail difficult to find. Once you find the trail, there are still tons of downed trees rather continusly for a few miles. I camped just after the 5th and final creek crossing at 10,200.

More (lots more) deadfall to the Horsethief trail junction. The junction itself is blocked by about six massive downed trees, and the trail marker is very easy to miss, especially in the dark. Once on the horsethief trail (just bushwhack around the trees) there are a few more downed trees. Most maps don't accurately portray the amount of switchbacks and might make you skeptical you are going the right way, check out the most recent Forest Service topo, it is accurate (though it doesn't show the spur that heads East near some campsites near 10,900; don't take this). The horsethief trail is phenomenally well-built. I'm not sure of its history, but it seems the current trail replaced an older, steeper trail with less switchbacks. You'll find this trail from time to time and can take it if you like.

Getting to DeAnza from the top of the horsethief trail is trivial. I continued on to Gibbs, Marcy, and "Silver", snow is either all gone or inconsequential in trail runners, all class 1 or 2. From the pass between Cotton and RitoAlto creeks, there is a good amount of snow on the Cotton Creek trail above the lake, then the trail is super wet for a while, then it's just very long. I saw fresh bear poop on the trail near the lake. I encountered more deadfall starting on the switchbacks below the lake, and then progressively more until I got to camp.

I had planned on attacking the Mount Owen group from the same camp, but this day took so much out of me that I decided against it. The deadfall is obnoxious and this heat wave we're in makes for very fatiguing travel up high on a ridge. A bear spooked me around 7pm near camp, so I decided to pack out since I was really startled. Saw more bear poop on the trail on the way out.

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