Independence Pass closed for the season

October 28, 2019 - Northwestern Colorado

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LAKE/PITKIN COUNTIES – The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed the gates on both the Twin Lakes and Aspen sides of Independence Pass. The seasonal closure was put in place early this morning, Monday, Oct. 28 after maintenance crews determined that the closure was needed to keep both maintenance equipment operators and the traveling public safe.

Closure dates from the past eight years reveal that the gates have typically been locked in early to mid-November: 

2011 November 2

2012 November 9

2013 November 4

2014 November 12

2015 November 4

2016 November 17

2017 November 17

2018 November 5


The alternate route to Aspen during the months the pass is closed is I-70 to Glenwood Springs, and CO 82 into Aspen. CDOT typically gets the pass open on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, weather permitting.


Updated road conditions are available at or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page


Independence Pass is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway that is maintained by CDOT. It is the highest paved state highway in Colorado, crossing the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet.  Though it is a paved road, it is also narrow and curvy on several stretches and therefore difficult to traverse in poor weather. The pass also has steep drop-offs in places along the route. Several areas of the roadway can only accommodate a single car width, so drivers must use caution and pay close attention when confronted with oncoming traffic.

The summit of Independence Pass is located 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. Independence Pass is generally open during the summer months, from Memorial Day through November.


Earlier this year, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.


CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Governor Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s inter-modal mobility options.