Independence Pass

#2 in Best Things To Do in Aspen
Independence Pass
Bruce Works/Shutterstock

Key Info

Independence Pass

Price & Hours

Free
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Recreation, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

If there's one reason to rent a car in Aspen, it's to take the 20-mile drive through Independence Pass. This scenic road is one of the highest in North America, meandering along the Continental Divide at a whopping 12,095 feet above sea level. Get ready to feel like a daredevil as you navigate tight turns along towering cliffs and through thick forests. When you're ready to stretch your legs, a paved hiking trail leads to a sightseeing platform where far-reaching views of the Continental Divide are sure to make your jaw drop.

Those who cruised through Independence Pass say the scenery is truly breathtaking, adding that there are spots along the way to stop for a picnic and snap photos. Although travelers agree that a drive down Independence Pass is a must, they also advise that you proceed with caution because of the daunting nature of the narrow, winding road. (Some go as far to say if you are prone to carsickness, this is not a trip for you.) 

You can access Independence Pass by traveling east on Route 82, which runs through the heart of Aspen. You don't have to pay to use the road or the hiking trail, but you should note that Independence Pass is closed during the winter due to weather conditions.

See all Hotels in Aspen »

More Best Things To Do in Aspen

Maroon Bells
Snowmass
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 11
#1 Maroon Bells

Rising more than 14,000 feet, these twin peaks are a favorite spot for hikers and wildlife-watchers, boasting beautiful vistas and breathtaking scenery. In fact, Maroon Bells' jagged peaks and multicolored slopes make it one of the most photographed sites in North America. The surrounding area features numerous trails and campsites, granting you a variety of viewing points from which you can capture the perfect shot.

Read more
Alaskan Dude/Flickr
See full list of Best Things To Do in Aspen »

Explore More of Aspen

Recommended

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019

15 Epic Outdoor Adventures to Enjoy Across America

Plan an unforgettable trip in your own backyard or on the opposite coast.

Will WalkeyMarch 12, 2019

The 30 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Explore the globe in search of these intriguing historic sights.

Gwen PratesiMarch 11, 2019

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2019

U.S. News ranked 3,877 top properties for 2019. Check out the 50 best.

Zach WatsonFebruary 5, 2019

30 Hot New Hotels to Check Out in 2019

See which new properties offer surprising and fun features.

Lyn MettlerFebruary 5, 2019

10 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the USA

Go all-in for these luxe resorts flush with amenities.

Will WalkeyFebruary 5, 2019

The Caribbean Comeback: 12 New and Renovated Caribbean Hotels to Visit

These island properties are sure to impress travelers.

Erin ShieldsFebruary 5, 2019

17 Amazing Kid-Friendly Hotels

Discover which properties offer ample amenities for children.

Christine SmithFebruary 5, 2019