Features: Birding — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
The Cottle Trail (and/or sections of it) are typically part of longer runs through Calero County Park, since there are no nearby parking areas.The easiest access to Cottle Trail is at a trail junction in its midsection. To get to this trail junction from the trailhead parking area, take the Access Trail
, then either Pena Trail
or Figueroa Trail
to Serpentine Loop Trail
followed by the Serpentine Loop Trail Connector
, which ends at the Cottle Trail junction. See the trail descriptions for these other trails.
Currently, the Cottle Trail start point shown in this description has no access, but over the next several years there are plans to add access here. The Cottle Trail end point is deep in Calero County Park, far from all parking areas and roads, at a trail junction with Chisnantuck Peak Trail
As shown in this description, Cottle Trail starts on a hillside above the Calero Reservoir dam. From here, the trail goes through wooded and grass sections as it follows the reservoir's western shoreline for the trail's first 1.3 miles. To the left of the trail, the reservoir can be seen below, nestled among the grass and wooded hills of Calero County Park.
Leaving the reservoir behind, Cottle Trail follows a broad, grassy creek valley. This valley, housing Cherry Canyon Creek, is one of several that feed water into Calero Reservoir. About 1.6 miles from the trail start, you'll find the trail junction with Serpentine Loop Trail Connector
After passing the trail junction, Cottle Trail enters the woods and follows Cherry Canyon Creek upstream. The trail crosses the creek three times as the creek valley narrows and its densely wooded sides steepen. As the creek approaches its headwaters around mile 2.0, the trail begins a steep climb. At about mile 2.4, the trail veers left to climb up out of the creek valley. A small high meadow is soon reached. At the end of the meadow is the Cottle Rest Site with a picnic table, horse-watering trough, and hitching post. This is a great place to take a break after the steep climb and long run to get here.
The Cottle Rest Site marks the end of the Cottle Trail and the beginning of the Chisnantuck Peak Trail
that leads higher up Bald Peak.
Oaks, buckeye trees, and manzanita woods can be found here. Ferns and other dense vegetation grows along the creek. Grass hills are abundant, often with deer, ducks, geese, hawks, and other birds in the area.