Cottonwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Shasta County, California, United States. The population was 3,316 at the 2010 census, up from 2,960 at the 2000 census. Cottonwood was a stagecoach town where a settlement was established in 1849. The first Post Office was opened in 1852. Cottonwood is equidistant between Redding and Red Bluff, 15 miles (24 km) in either direction. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Anderson.
In the spring of 1997 Hollywood came to this small, quiet town to film Almost Heroes starring Matthew Perry and Chris Farley. It was Farley's last film.
In the summer of 1961, parts of Hell Is for Heroes, starring Steve McQueen, were shot in and around Cottonwood. Bob Newhart made his debut appearance in this film.