Cottonwood Creek has three branches before it arrives in the town of Buena Vista.
Middle Cottonwood Creek is accessed above Rainbow Lake (private) to the top of Cottonwood Pass. South Cottonwood Creek contains Cottonwood Lake, a very popular campground. Fishing is best beyond the campground. North Cottonwood Creek is the trailhead for Mount Harvard and contains a nice lake for fly fishing called Anglemeyer Lake which is a two-mile hike from the trailhead.