Coloradans know that our window for driving over Independence Pass each summer isn't open for very long, but June to October is one of the best times of year to enjoy the scenic views of the Rocky Mountains, along with some of Colorado's biggest 14er mountains like Mount Elbert and Mount Massive.

Read More: See Colorado's Abandoned Mountain Paradise at Interlaken Resort

Independence Pass is Colorado's highest paved road that crosses the Continental Divide. Along the way, there are some great places for camping, picnicking, and even one of the coolest swimming holes in the Colorado backcountry.

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Where is Colorado's Independence Pass?

Independence Pass route on Highway 82.
Google Maps

Colorado's Independence Pass sits on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties in the heart of the state. It follows Colorado State Highway 82 from Aspen, all the way to Twin Lakes. The pass crosses the continental divide over the Sawatch Mountain Range while passing through the San Isabel National Forest and the White River National Forest.

The Highest Paved Road over the Continental Divide

Independence Pass in Colorado
Google Maps

The pass crosses the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet. The drive takes about 45 minutes without stopping, and about 90 minutes if you stop and enjoy the overlooks. It's important to note that this is a popular route for cyclists during summer and the fall color change. You'll want to use caution as some portions of Independence Pass are only wide enough for one vehicle at a time, so pay attention to oncoming traffic.

Read More: Is there Still Gold in the Ghost Town of Independence, Colorado?

Ghost Towns and Swimming Holes

Along Colorado 82, you can find some fun hiking trails that lead to waterfalls and ice caves. You can hike to the old mining town of Ruby, Colorado, or check out the popular ghost town of Independence for which the pass takes its name. Along the way, you can find the popular swimming hole the "Devil's Punchbowl."

Keep scrolling for some great photos of the pass and learn 12 things you should know about the pass before making the drive.

12 Things You Should Know About Crossing Independence Pass

Get ready to drive over Colorado's highest paved road crossing the Continental Divide by traveling Independence Pass between Aspen and Twin Lakes. Here are 12 things you should know before making the trip.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

KEEP GOING: Colorado's Amazing Mountain Passes Ranked By Elevation

Maintain a good grip on the steering wheel because we traveling to the top of the Rockies via Colorado's extreme mountain passes. Scroll on to learn more about mountain passes above 10,000 feet throughout the state.

Gallery Credit: Wes Adams

LOOK: Colorado's Fun Backcountry Swimming Holes & Hot Springs

Get out on the trails and discover Colorado's super fun swimming holes and hot springs. Remember to obey all posted signs and to check water levels and conditions before swimming. All locations are 'swim at your own risk'.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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