Aspen, CO: Independence Pass (formerly Hunter Pass)

We went way out of our way to come to Independence Pass. I have a thing for mountain passes and high elevations. This one was 12,000+ feet, so the highest I’ve ever been.

I’ve had a “thing” for them, ever since we were driving from Cody, WY to Sheridan, WY and had to pass through Big Horn National Forest. It was pretty, and it took about an hour to get up, even though we didn’t really know we were going “up”. At the top, there was a gift shop and a waterfall. Annddd thheeennnn it was time to come down again. And what took us an hour to climb took us about 10 minutes to come down (from almost 10,000 feet to almost 1,000). It was exciting. But I had to pee, and I was seriously death-gripping the steering wheel by the time I got down.

That says 12,095 feet, by the way. And see my car in the background?

So. Independence pass. What should have been a 3 hour drive from Denver to Steamboat Springs was maybe 7 hours.

By the end I was doubting myself. But in the middle it was beautiful! Plus I got to see a good portion of Colorado, and since I had never been there before it was cool.

See all that snow? It was about 50 degrees up there. In the middle of July! I needed to get a hoodie out of the car, I was loving it.

The road up, was SUPER wind-y, and very steep, with sharp drop offs on one side of the road (the other hugged a mountain). It’s closed in the winter. Wonder why? (ha ha). It looked like the hair pin turns in the Mazda “zoom zoom” commercial.

We didn’t go see it (it was cold, we were tired, our butts were square), but there’s also a place somewhere out in the wild called the “Devil’s Punchbowl” which is a swimming hole! I asked Joel if he wanted to go find it and got an “absolutely not, are you insane?” in response.

Maybe next time. Maybe next time it won’t be 50 degrees! Since I do not think it is a hot spring.

Also, from the photos online, it had steep rock walls on all sides, and you had to jump to get in. Soo, how do you get out? I’d love to hear feedback from someone in the comments on that one!

P.S. See that hair pin turn in the distance?

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *