CO 82 Independence Pass closed for the season

Travel Advisory

October 28, 2921 - Northwestern Colorado

LAKE & PITKIN COUNTIES – Independence Pass on Colorado Highway 82 is closed for the season. The roadway closed at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 25 due to a winter storm. The closure was extended into the seasonal winter closure starting Thursday, Oct. 28. Closure gates will continue to be closed near Aspen and Twin Lakes. The safety closure is to keep maintenance equipment operators and the traveling public safe during the winter season. Plowing steep switchbacks on CO 82 on either side of the pass is not safe during winter months and sections of the roadway are exposed to significant avalanche hazard.

The alternate route from the Denver Metro Area to Aspen is via westbound Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs, then CO 82 to Aspen. CDOT typically reopens the pass on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, weather permitting. 

Independence Pass

Independence pass usually closes in November for the winter season. Dates for closures in previous years are: 

2011 November 2

2012 November 9

2013 November 4

2014 November 12

2015 November 4

2016 November 17

2017 November 17

2018 November 5

2019 October 28

2020 November 13 

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, depending on weather conditions.

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Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.