Author Topic: Independence pass  (Read 1357 times)

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Offline VQV

Independence pass
« on: February 22, 2011, 11:54:34 am »
Can anyone give me information about riding Independence Pass from Aspen to Leadville?  The difficulty level?  The sceneries? The downhill? The weather around mi-july? 

We want to include this pass in our Cross America Tour in 2012.  http://www.explorebybike.com/destination-Cross-America-Trip-2012

Someone told that the road was dangerous...it is true?

Please, I you rode it, tell me about it!

Merci beaucoup!!!


Offline valygrl

Re: Independence pass
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 03:26:21 pm »
Hi - I've ridden it on a loaded tour, in late July 2005.  I would recommend it, it is beautiful.   

The west side ascends up a green forested valley, then ascends above tree-line into high alpine meadows.  The last several miles are fairly difficult, mostly because of the altitude, there is nothing terribly steep - I think it's all 6-8% grade at the steepest.  The descent down the East side was fast, smooth and open.  The road has some narrow sections on the West side maybe 15 miles out of Aspen.  Don't ride it on the July 4th holiday weekend, because there will be too much traffic, and if you can do it on a week day that would probably be better, but I would ride it again, it's not too dangerous.

The weather in July is excellent, cool mornings and warm sunny days -- but there are often afternoon thunderstorms on the high passes.  It would be good to be at the top of Independence Pass by noon or 1pm to avoid thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms usually start around 1-3pm and can last a few hours, then they go away.  Although short, they can be severe, with lightning, hail, rain and strong wind. 


Offline John Nelson

Re: Independence pass
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 05:23:42 pm »
I've ridden it in both directions. It is true that the west (Aspen) side is narrow and the surface can be rough. For brief stretches, it's even a one-way road (although wide enough for one car and one bike). Try to ride it at a time with less traffic (e.g., really early on a weekday). You won't have any problems on the east side. Take warm clothes.

Offline charvey

Re: Independence pass
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 06:26:05 pm »
I did the pass five years ago, therefore, my recollection may not be accurate.  The pass is gorgeous, not dangerous.  There are some hairpin turns where the shoulder is limited, otherwise, quite beautiful.  Chilly at the top with snow (even in July when I was there).  It is long (several hours) and the elevation is constant.  I only went to top then turned around back to Aspen.  The route is simple--get all supplies in Aspen--no place to stop along the way and no indicators as to the remaining distances.  Good luck.

Offline VQV

Re: Independence pass
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 08:24:46 am »
Thanks to all of you!  I'm glab to hear that it is weel worth the effort!
We will keep it on our itinary!

Au plaisir,