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Independence Pass, Aspen

4.8
#1 of 26 in Outdoors in Aspen
Independence Pass, originally known as Hunter Pass, is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. It is at elevation 12095ft on the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range. The pass is midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties.State Highway 82 traverses it, in the process reaching the highest elevation of a paved Colorado state highway on a through road. After Cottonwood Pass to the south, it is the second-highest pass with an improved road in the state, the fourth-highest paved road in the state and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the U.S. Because of the heavy snowfall at its elevation, it is closed in wintertime, isolating Aspen from direct access from the east during the ski season.When the pass is open in warmer weather, it is a popular destination. A scenic overlook near the pass allows visitors to take in the alpine tundra environment above treeline, and offers excellent views to the east of Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak and the second-highest mountain in the contiguous United States. Rock climbers are drawn to nearby bouldering opportunities, and informal paths lead to nearby mountain summits of even higher elevation. Backcountry skiers make use of the slopes during the late spring and early summer. Since 2011 the pass has been on the route of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
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Independence Pass Reviews
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1,369 reviews
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4.8
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  • My husband and I had the opportunity of traveling Independence Pass before closure for the winter. We were thrilled and would do it again if the opportunity presents itself. Beautiful, beautiful sight...  more »
  • We ended up drive Independence Pass pretty much by accident, this was the way our GPS took us! What a fabulous surprise it was. However, there was some snow on the road in a few areas which made it in...  more »
  • We accidentally took the path using google map on the way out from Aspen. We knew the drive was on the scary side when driving back from Aspen as we were told by locals that majority of driving back i...  more »
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  • Super chilly! I went there during the fall season and it was already snow covered with chilly winds gushing. Make sure you wear jackets and cover your ears. The view of the rockies is excellent on a clear day. Plenty of parking and public restrooms available. The drive to this point is enjoyable too. During fall, as you get down the pass and go towards Aspen you can see most beautiful fall colors that the area has to offer. It's incredible. The winding roads are lot of fun too, especially if you are on a bike. Plenty of spots to just stop and enjoy the scenery and colorful forest.
  • Beautiful road to drive, especially in the fall, but not for the faint of heart. If you don't like driving near ledges with no guard rail, stay off this road! Vehicles over 35' long not allowed and for good reason. There are vault toilets and a nice viewpoint (5 minute walk) at the top.
  • This was an amazing drive and the day we decided to drive had snow. It was from the night before. Incredible road but you have to keep in mind it is a narrow and dangerous with curves at altitudes of 11K. That said, take it and you will be astonished.
  • Nice view. It started showing when we went. It was amazing experience
  • Amazing and scary drive! The one lane spots right beside the cliffs with heavy traffic are extremely nerve racking. The sights are absolutely gorgeous!!

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As a resort colony, Aspen offers a wide range of lodgings. Small and quiet bed and breakfasts, lodges, and luxury hotels populate every downtown street. Consider renting a cabin just outside of downtown to get in touch with the area's natural beauty.
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