Independence Pass officially closed for the season

Independence Pass was officially closed for the winter on Friday, with the Colorado Department of Transportation saying the scenic highway would not reopen since closing Oct. 23 due to weather.
Aspen Times file photo

Motorists can no longer depend on Independence Pass to shave off some time on their drive to Denver. The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Friday that the pass is officially closed for the season after this week’s snowstorm.

The scenic stretch of Highway 82, which connects Aspen to Twin Lakes, had been closed since Oct. 23 because of snow. Chances of it re-opening were buried by Thursday’s snowfall, which also led to multiple temporary road closures in the Aspen area. The pass closed for the previous two winters on Oct. 25, 2021, and Nov. 13, 2020, according to CDOT.

The alternate route from Aspen to Denver is from Highway 82 to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Springs. CDOT typically re-opens the pass on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, weather permitting.

The summit of Independence Pass is 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 mountainous terrain. It winds through the San Isabel National Forest on the east and White River National Forest on the west side of the Divide.

During the winter months, heavy snowfall at the highest elevations of the pass makes it impossible to travel, according to CDOT. The pass is generally open during the summer months, from Memorial Day through November, depending on weather conditions.

While the closure gates are now up, the closed area of the Aspen side of the pass is used by winter enthusiasts who cross-country ski, walk/hike, and snowmobile.

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