Cottonwood is much more scenic, but at night I'd head thru Gunnison. Time wise, I think it's about a wash. I went over one way and back the other last weekend from Denver and it was the same time within 10 minutes.
good gracious, i knew elk were rutting up there, but i didn't realize deer started now up there as well. The rut doesn't start down here (in texas) till mid november! Never really thought about it till now i guess