Highway 82 across Independence Pass is best driven from east to west, since this direction offers the nicest views. Today you can view the remains of miner's cabins, the Farewell Stamp Mill, stables and a general store. So no, my favorite … Independence Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.692m (12,112ft) above the sea level, located in Pitkin County, in central Colorado, USA. Cyclists are often present and can be difficult to see around curves in the mountain road. FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON TRAVEL CONDITIONS, OPENINGS, AND CLOSURES ON COLORADO ROADs, click HERe. I almost died driving on the Independence Pass. 4. The pass itself is situated at 12,095 feet in the Sawatch Range and a scenic overlook at the summit provides excellent views east of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak and provides great access for hiking, biking, backcountry skiing, sightseeing, and more. Drivers must follow the speed limit and proceed with caution. As you approach, you’ll see makeshift stone stairs that lead down into an opening. Glimpse of Aspen Tour. Photo: mark byzewski. It’s also considered to be one of the best road biking climbs in Colorado. Next. Aspen Scavenger Hunt: Get An “Altitude” Adjustment. Independence Pass, part of Highway 82, passes over the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen. See you in May 2021! Always keep your eyes on the road and drive slowly while remaining prepared to yield. There are several trails to enjoy right off of the pass, ranging from easy to difficult depending on your interests and hiking level. The hike is no longer a dirt path, but instead it has transitioned you to trekking over one large rock. If there's one reason to rent a car in Aspen, it's to take the 20-mile drive through Independence Pass. Keep in mind, there aren’t any signs with the name ‘Devil’s Punchbowl,’ but again, Google maps leads you right to it. On Independence Pass, CDOT will stop cars below the first one-lane section of road on the Aspen side and let through one group of cars at a time, Peulen said. $40.00 per adult. At the peak of summer, driving from Aspen to Leadville along Independence Pass can be a headache, as the highway is full of tourists stopping at every vista. Get directions, reviews and information for Independence Pass in Aspen, CO. Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour. The summit of Independence Pass is 18 miles west of Twin Lakes and 19 miles east of Aspen. The road over the pass is not for those who fear heights. It was a popular stop during the gold rush. Drivers must follow the speed limit and proceed with caution. All rights reserved. Activities near Independence Pass Fall colors along Independence Pass, Aspen. After a fast & furious snow storm on September 8, Highway 82 was cleared of snow and re-opened to cars until November 13. Independence is the highest paved mountain pass in Colorado, though there are several higher unpaved passes (such as Mosquito and Cottonwood), while three paved roads climb further (Pikes Peak Highway, Mount Evans Byway, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park), but these are not passes. At 12,095 feet, Independence Pass is the fourth highest paved road in the state. Featuring many stops along the way to enjoy scenic views, it twists around stunning groves of aspen trees and hugs the Roaring Fork River. As you leave... more. But take away all those things and there are hidden gems to be discovered. Fee-based camping on the Aspen side of Independence Pass is available at Difficult Campground, Weller Campground, Lincoln Gulch and Lost Man Campground. See you in May 2021! Aspen is 19 miles (31 km) to the west, with Twin Lakes 18 miles (29 km) to the east. Day 13 of the Pandemic Road Trip finds us driving is one of the most dangerous roads in the state of Colorado. Sheer, exposed cliffs make my kneecaps clatter like castanets. There is a lot of recreation on both sides of the pass, including two national forests and a couple ghost towns The drive takes about an hour. Driving Independence Pass provides jaw dropping views at a gradual elevation gain of 12,092 feet, so be ready for a photo op. Approach this oasis and find cliff divers plunging into a pool of water fed from a narrow opening between the rock. When road is open to vehicles, be alert to all the traffic, which is especially heavy on summer weekends, since the route is extremely narrow in some sections. (Duh). In addition to 360 surrounding mountain views, the various species of trees provide gorgeous colors along the way. Sheer, exposed cliffs make my kneecaps clatter like castanets. Independence Ghost Town Sixteen miles east of Aspen is the historic ghost town of Independence, once a thriving mining town with over 40 businesses and an estimated population of 1,500. She loves outdoor adventure, whether it’s a solo trip or with her daughter, she takes any opportunity to be outside. The patterns along the inner walls in the cave are remarkable, smooth to the touch and perfectly formed waves. Once, during a backpacking trip, I had to crawl on my hands and knees through a 200-foot stretch of trail that was making my eyeballs spin like plates balanced on the end of long, spindly poles. Driving up Independence Pass is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon and along the way to the top of this 12,096’ pass you can stop at highlights. The Independence Pass connects Aspen with its eastern neighbours. 3 reviews. LAKE & PITKIN COUNTIES – Independence Pass on Colorado Highway 82 is open for the season. Pass with Kaz Driving School is run by Karen Burgoyne, an experienced Approved Driving Instructor. More info. The highest paved pass in North America is a classic Colorado drive and offers access to excellent hiking, biking and more. The ride from Twin Lakes to the summit is 35-miles round-trip with a 3,100-foot elevation gain. In the second of three stories about how to Come to Life in Colorado, we’ve rounded up (in no particular order) 33 of the local favorites — those...Read more, Positioned at the heart of southern Colorado’s expansive San Luis Valley and ringed by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Range’s 13,000- and 14,000-...Read more, With natural beauty and plenty of kid-friendly options, it’s no surprise Alamosa is the...Read more, Watch: Hiking at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park >>Read more, 10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About, 99 Gorgeous Places in Colorado: Part 2, The Local Favorites, Hiking in Alamosa: 11 Locals’ Favorite Trails, 10 Things Your Family Will Love About Alamosa, Moffat County: Colorado’s Great Northwest. See all tours & tickets. One thing to be thankful for, Google maps leads you right into the lot, just as long as you entered in “Grottos Trail,” Aspen. The pass was initially built for mining purposes in 1879. 21 reviews. Independence Pass, part of Colorado State Highway 82, passes over the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen, Colorado. Road biking on Independence Pass is popular during the summer. Driving past the abandoned houses and structures is captivating and will have you longing for more knowledge about the people and history behind the ghost town of Independence. The pass comes roughly in the middle of a 32-mile (51 km) stretch of Highway 82 between the two winter gates, a corridor that is sometimes referred to in its entirety as Independence Pass. Driving Independence Pass may not be for the faint of heart, but the drive is worth it in its payoff of views and adventure. At 12,095ft at the summit, Independence Pass is the highest paved pass in the state. More info. People jump from 20 foot cliffs into borderline hypothermic cold water that takes your breath away when you … The capacity to drive is crucial to a person’s ability to regain their independence. You won’t have to hike long, within the first 30 to 40 steps, take notice of a wooden sign to your left that says “ice cave,” with an arrow pointing downwards. Colorado’s Independence Pass is a Scenic and Historic Byway that passes over the Continental Divide between Aspen and Leadville. Driving over Independence Pass is unnerving, especially for flatlanders as they negotiate sharp curves and perilous-looking drop-offs for the first time. Walk a bit further and suddenly, there it is. A version of these article originally appeared on Aspen Chamber’s website. Motorists, cyclists and other travelers will benefit from a smooth new driving surface. Elbert, and on the opposite (south) side you will pass La Plata Peak (the 5th largest mountain in CO). The capacity to drive is crucial to a person’s ability to regain their independence. Don’t let the name “Highway 82” confuse you. It is about 20 miles from Aspen to the peak of the pass, but riders can turn around at any point and head back to town. Planning on driving Independence Pass while I’m there... but while looking through certain details, I came across something that made me super nervous. Once, during a backpacking trip, I had to crawl on my hands and knees through a 200-foot stretch of trail that was making my eyeballs spin like plates balanced on the end of long, spindly poles. $40.00 per adult. We drove on the Independence Pass from Aspen to Leadville, CO. The road out of Aspen was a little windy, but, it wasn't bad. The road is steep, narrow and twisty with only a few guardrails but is completely safe. The highway provides some … In the east, the journey begins at the junction with US 24 in the upper Arkansas River valley, already at quite a high elevation of 9,100 feet. At 12,095ft at the summit, Independence Pass is the highest paved pass in the state. Once parked, there’s a bridge allowing you to cross Roaring Fork River where the beginning of the trailhead is easily seen. This is supplemented by the many nature trails and biking routes that surround the pass. So no, my favorite part of my recent camper van tour of Colorado wasn’t taking Highway 82 over Independence Pass, between glitzy Aspen and down-to-earth … A flagger at the top of the second one-lane section on the Aspen side will ensure that two-way traffic through those areas doesn’t happen. It begins in Twin Lakes and ends in Aspen’s world-famous ski resort village. This is the spot to explore, people will crawl in and out of this cave and the echoes of their voice can be heard from a distance. It looks just like it’s named — a punchbowl. Driving Independence Pass Independence Pass is one of the highest paved roads in Colorado. August 3, 2020 Leave a Comment. Independence Pass is part of the great Top of the Rockies Byway. You can access Independence Pass by traveling east on Route 82, which runs through the heart of Aspen. There is plenty of parking and a scenic overlook near the pass where you can take in the 360-degree views. Independence Pass [30604 - 47499] Highway 82 Aspen CO 81611. Be prepared to white knuckle your steering wheel and use your laser eye focus however, because you will come across switchbacks and areas without guard rails. It was a popular stop during the gold rush. Think of Aspen and the image of Colorado Ski Resort comes to mind, there’s a reason for that. https://www.mapquest.com/us/colorado/independence-pass-16110122 The iconic pass is situated on Highway 82 at an elevation of around 12 thousand feet. Highway 82 over Independence Pass is now CLOSED to vehicles for the winter season. It begins in Twin Lakes and ends in Aspen’s world-famous ski resort village. 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