Independence Pass

When I was growing up our family would travel from the Denver area to vacation in Snowmass at Aspen. There is more than one way to Aspen from Denver, but our path typically took us over Independence Pass.

“Independence Pass is [a] 3686 meters (12095 feet) high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. The pass is at the summit of the ridge of the Sawatch Range between Aspen and Leadville . . . The pass is traversed by Colorado State Highway 82 and is one of the highest paved mountain passes in Colorado. Its narrow road provides for slow cautious navigation on its approaches. The pass is closed in winter, from the first heavy snow fall in autumn, often opening only in late May.” (

We would place complete faith in my father as he drove us up Indendence Pass in his 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport, powered with a 425 cubic inch engine with dual quad carburetors. At each hairpin turn we could look down on stunning dropoffs, just feet away from plunging to our doom. We would typically pass one or more packs of bike riders – – people who thought pedaling up a road like that was recreation. The summit of that pass and Aspen were a welcome sight.

I found the following account by a couple who drove up Independence Pass in 2002:

“Just went over this last week in the dark, late at night. As a flatlander from Florida, this was very scary. Almost hit several deer on the way down west side. This road is not for faint of heart. My wife was very terrified. The narrow single lane part was very scary with cars coming the other way. There are no road signs on 82. We turned around after a while then had to drive it again. It is not marked that you are on the right road. You may suggest to DOT that they need lines and/or reflectors. This could help immensely.” (

One Response to “Independence Pass”

  1. Barry Bonds sports a new look with fancy bicycle, slimmed-down appearance | Big League Stew – Yahoo! Sports « The Greg Jones Blog Says:

    […] I have little, if any, interest in Barry Bonds. But the picture of him with his bike in front of the sign at the top of Independence Pass brought back memories, some of which are captured in an earlier blogpost. […]

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