Colorado Guy Independence Pass, Colorado

Bike Independence Pass

My Morning Bicycle Ride From Twin Lakes, Colorado To Independence Pass

Bicycle Independence Pass

All winter, I had a desire to bike this particular Colorado pass, and I did it. With the exception of Cottonwood Pass, Independence Pass has got to be the premier mountain pass for a cyclist to take on.

Coming from the east, Independence Pass has an imposing presence with its very steep grade at the switchback area with frightening cliff edges. Yet the 14 mile ride from Twin Lakes to the lowest switchback at Lake Creek (with that grand view of Mt. Champion) is a relatively gentle uphill throughout. From what I'm told and can gather, the ride west to the pass from Aspen is even more gruesome than the ride I did.

My next major bicycling goal is to ride a century (i.e. 100 miles) in a day. Wish me the best!

Photos and commentary by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - Google Plus

Independence Pass Road June 9, 2007 - I began my ride at Twin Lakes and decided not to take any photos until I reached the final closing gate west of the La Plata Peak trailhead. A few weeks ago, I biked much of this early portion and you can see those photos here: Twin Lakes Bike Ride.
Colorado Mountains
Independence Pass Road
Two photos of the mountain scenery in the area.
Independence Pass Road The long approach to the first major switchback on the highway.
Mt. Champion The view of Mt. Champion just below the first switchback.
Independence Pass Road Switchback
Independence Pass Road
Like I said, the 14 mile ride from Twin Lakes to the first switchback at Lake Creek is a relatively gentle and gradual uphill for much of the way. Then, "all hell breaks loose" with a final four to five mile grunt. The bottom photo shows the cliff edge beside the road, which can be a harrowing experience for first-time visitors.
Near milemarker 65 along that stretch above, I pulled over to photograph this pretty roadside waterfall.
Independence Pass Skiers
Independence Pass Skiers
Switchback #2! The road makes a hairpin turn inside Mountain Boy Gulch, an area quite popular for skiing this time of year. This spot was a good excuse to rest and talk with the skiers, who were either awaiting rides from partners back to Independence Pass or were hitchhiking to get back up.
Independence Pass Area Upward I went and I stopped to snap this photo of Mountain Boy Gulch and the second switchback hidden behind trees to the right. Skiers go down the snow-covered ridge to the right.
Independnece Pass Road I think this is my favorite photo as I approached the final and highest switchback. Note the "10 miles per hour" sign on the top left.
Switchback at Independence Pass Road
Independence Pass Road
I rested briefly at the final switchback and at that point Toni (left), another bicyclist from Buena Vista, passed me up. She and I had some enjoyable and encouraging conversations way down in the canyon.

The right photo is the view looking back down at Independence Pass Road into the canyon.

Independence Pass The final snowy approach to the summit.
Steve at Independence Pass I was so happy to be up there! :)
Independence Pass Skiers
Independence Pass
Independence Pass
I spent maybe 15 minutes up there before riding back down. Here are three scenery photos at the top. Note the skiers in the top photo. Also, the pond north of the road (bottom photo) is still frozen over, but there are signs it is slowly thawing out.

My Independence Pass pages:

  • Snowshoeing at the Pass
  • Hike to Snowdrift Ridge
  • Independence Lake
  • Autumn Foliage and Snow
  • Sunset at the Pass
  • Snow at the Pass
  • Drive to Aspen with Friends
  • Town of Twin Lakes, CO
  • Independence Pass Road I rode at great speeds coming down, and I only stopped once to snap this mountain shot. What a ride!

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