Oct 26, 2021 -- Posted by : goi70

Independence Pass on CO 82 closed on Monday, October 25 due to a storm, and will remain closed until the spring. Closure gates block off the road near Aspen and Twin Lakes, prohibiting vehicles from entering. The purpose of the safety closure is to keep maintenance equipment operators and travelers safe through the spring; CO 82’s steep switchbacks are not safe when snowy, and Independence Pass is exposed to significant avalanche hazard.

Independence Pass via US 24 is a popular back way into Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley (heavily used during summer months), while Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley are more easily accessible via I-70 to Glenwood Springs during the winter. Independence Pass typically closes the first or second week of November and reopens just before Memorial Day. This year marks its earliest closure in a decade (and hopefully that means a fruitful and snowy ski season!)

Independence Pass is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway that is maintained by CDOT. It is the highest paved state highway in Colorado, crossing the Continental Divide at 12,095 ft. It is paved, but curvy and narrow with steep drop-offs – rendering it unsafe to travel during winter months, particularly for maintenance and snowplow vehicles.

The summit of Independence Pass is 18 miles west of Twin Lakes and 19 miles east of Aspen and crosses over the Sawatch Range. The Pass travels 32 miles through mountainous terrain, winding through San Isabel National Forest on the east and White River National Forest on the west.

During the winter months, heavy snowfall at high elevations makes the pass impossible to travel. Coloradans and visitors can look forward to traversing the Pass in their cars again during Summer 2022!


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