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Easy access to +13000' from Independence Pass parking lot on Continental Divide.


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Map Key

1.2

Miles

1.9

KM

Point to Point

13,393' 4,082 m

High

12,097' 3,687 m

Low

1,296' 395 m

Up

3' 1 m

Down

21%

Avg Grade (12°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Geological Significance · Views · Wildflowers

Independence Pass is closed to traffic in winter (October-May). No vehicles longer than 35' allowed.

Need to Know

Bathrooms at parking lot. Access is a bit easier from Twin Lakes side since from Aspen there are some narrow (almost single lane) spots. No vehicles over 35' allowed.

Description

Independence Pass if nothing else is a wonderful scenic drive between Twin Lakes and Aspen Colorado. Cross the Continental Divide at 12095' and enjoy views in all directions. There is a short (0.4 mile RT) paved walk from the parking lot to Independence Pass Overlook that is a must do. There is also Ridge Line trail #1494 that peels off to the right of that interpretive trail, and runs about 4.7 miles out and back to just shy of 13000'. BUT to have a trail mostly to yourself, cross the road from the bathrooms and take the unmarked trail at the Twin Lakes end of the parking area.

This hike is short (about 2.6 miles RT) and with a gain of just over 1300' is moderately steep most of the way. It's all above tree level of course. The trail is obvious although sometimes narrow, and rocky, and there is lots of loose scree at the top. Once up it might be possible to continue further along the ridge but we stopped at the nearest high point, 13419'. Panoramic views - down the Aspen side check out Lost Man's Lake and others, and down the Twin Lakes side notice how small your car looks in the parking lot, scope out La Plata in the distance (14er) and appreciate wildflowers in season. We have frequently seen bighorns on the road, so they might appear somewhere if you are lucky. Any of the Independence Pass trails are a treat, because you can get to elevation quickly, from the comfort of a paved parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Numerous wildflowers in season, the usual pikas and marmots on the hill, possibly bighorns.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kathy S

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#16065

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1,392

in Colorado

#16,065

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2 Views Last Month
203 Since Sep 11, 2021
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Photos

Taken from the Independence Pass parking area. Igloo Peak is in between the first two orange posts, and the trail can be traced along the ridge to the right. The beginning of the paved Overlook path can be seen bottom left.
Aug 25, 2022 near Aspen, CO
Trickier (scree in a few spots) as you approach the top.
Sep 13, 2021 near Aspen, CO
Huge squared rock is visible from parking lot and a good visual waypoint as you hike up.
Sep 13, 2021 near Aspen, CO
Numerous wildflowers depending on season and moisture level.
Sep 13, 2021 near Aspen, CO
Independence Pass lot down below.
Sep 13, 2021 near Aspen, CO
Like the sign says, 12095' in the parking lot.
Sep 13, 2021 near Aspen, CO

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Jul 14, 2023
Atsuko Ohtake
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