Independence Pass

At 12,095 feet, Independence Pass is one of the highest paved mountain passes in the United States. Independece Pass is the summit of the Top of the Rockies National Scenic & Historic Byway, and is located between Twin Lakes Village and Aspen.

Independence Pass serves as the eastern gateway to the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as an historic link between the Western Slope and communities on the Front Range. Thousands of people - from Colorado "locals" to international visitors - travel over the Pass from its opening in May to its closing in the fall.

Facilities at the summit include vault toilets and a paved trail that provides pedestrian access to a scenic viewing platform, which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the glacier-sculpted peaks and ridges of the Continental Divide. Don't forget your camera in the car!

Nearby spots of interest are the Independence Pass Trail, The Interlaken Historic Resort, Twin Lakes Historical District, and Interlaken Trail.


Independence Pass usually opens Memorial Day Weekend, and closes in late fall depending on weather. Call the Leadville Ranger District for the current status.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Toilets,Parking
Open Season: Memorial Day to late fall (weather depending)
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Summer, Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Closest Towns: Twin Lakes to Aspen, CO
Water: None
Restroom: Vault toilets are available at the Summit
Operated By: San Isabel and White River National Forests

General Information


From Leadville, travel 13 miles south on Hwy 24; Turn right (west) onto State Hwy 82. The summit is approximately 19 past Twin Lakes Village.

From Aspen, travel approximately 20 miles east on State Hwy 82 to the summit.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Road Cycling

Viewing Scenery

Scenic Driving


Interpretive Site:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

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  Elevation : 
12,095 feet - 12,135 feet at the viewing platform