Independence Pass

Notable fall color.

Hikers on Independence Pass.

How to get there:

I-70W Exit 171. Continue south on US-24 50 miles to SH-82.

  • From I-70/C470 to SH 82
  • 143 miles 2 hr 40 mins
  • GPS
  • Parking Area
  • 39.0759 -106.2816

In General:CampgroundFishing AvailableHiking Seasonal Closure

  • Length: 43 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hour 15 mins

This route winds its way to an elevation of 12,095 ft, crossing Independence Pass and ending in Aspen. The road is narrow and steep with tight switchbacks on either side.

Photo Ops:

The rugged scenery includes river meadows, alpine tundra, ghost towns, abundant summer wildflowers and impressive fall colors.

This highway is nothing but scenic! Some notable spots:

Twin LakesScenic vistasHistoric SiteWildlife

Twin Lakes lies adjacent two natural lakes at the foot of Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert 14440 ft. The vista is spectacular!
Twin Lakes Historic District
Twin Lakes Village as well as Interlaken Resort, a National Historic Site, has been preserved with a shed, assay office, log cabin, the Clarion Hotel, and the Red Rooster Tavern still standing.

Independence Pass and ghost townScenic vistasHistorical Site or BuildingsFlowers

At 12,095 ft, it is the second-highest paved mountain pass in Colorado, after Cottonwood Pass. The ghost town of Independence is approximately two miles west of the pass.

The GrottosHikingWaterfallsFall Colors

Drive about 10.5 miles west of the pass on Highway 82 to a trailhead on the left, turn and drive about 200 feet to the parking area. Hike to an area where the river tumbles down through spectacular eroded rock formations with ice caves and a waterfall

The NarrowsScenic vistasFall Colors

So named because the road narrows dramatically. Here the road clings to the cliff and there is a precipitous drop-off to the river canyon below. There are wide views to Mount Shimer and the Difficult Creek Drainage.

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