LAKE & PITKIN COUNTIES – Independence Pass on Colorado Highway 82 is closed for the season. The roadway closed at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, because of a winter storm. The closure was extended into the seasonal winter closure starting Thursday, Oct. 28.
Gates will continue to be closed near Aspen and Twin Lakes in order to keep maintenance equipment operators and the traveling public safe during the winter . Plowing steep switchbacks on CO 82 on either side of the pass is not safe during winter months and sections of the roadway are exposed to significant avalanche hazards.
The alternate route from the Denver Metro Area to Aspen is via westbound Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs, then CO 82 to Aspen.
Weather-permitting, CDOT usually reopens the pass on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Independence Pass usually closes in November for the winter.
Dates for closures in previous years are as follows:
2011 November 2
2012 November 9
2013 November 4
2014 November 12
2015 November 4
2016 November 17
2017 November 17
2018 November 5
2019 October 28
2020 November 13
The pass is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway maintained by CDOT that’s the highest paved state highway in Colorado, crossing the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet. Though it is a paved road, it is also narrow and curvy on several stretches and therefore difficult to traverse in poor weather. The pass also has steep drop-offs in places along the route. Several areas of the roadway can only accommodate a single car width, so drivers must be careful.
The summit of Independence Pass is located 18 miles west of Twin Lakes and 19 miles east of Aspen and crosses the Continental Divide over the Sawatch Range. The Pass travels through 32 miles of mountains through the San Isabel National Forest and White River National Forest on the west side of the Divide.