CO 82 Independence Pass closed for the season

Travel Advisory

November 4, 2022 - Northwestern Colorado - Closure gates will continue to be closed near Aspen and Twin Lakes

Lake & Pitkin Counties - Independence Pass on CO 82 is closed for the season. The roadway closed at approximately 7 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 due to a winter storm. The closure was extended into a seasonal winter closure on Friday, Nov. 4.

Closure gates will continue to be closed near Aspen and Twin Lakes. The safety closure is necessary 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 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
  • 2021 October 25

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.

Know Before You Go

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

Remember: Slow For The Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!

Download the COtrip App!

The new FREE COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!