Independence Pass East Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.8
FIETS
15.5 mi
DISTANCE
2,892 ft
GAINED
3.5 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Christopher Jacobs, Byers CO, USA

INTRO

The "other" side of Independence Pass - heading to Aspen from the east from Vail.   This is a scenic bike ride on a lightly used highway with no oversized vehicles. 
3.5% average grade.  64% of thw climb is at 0-5% grade and 31% is at 5-10%.  The steepest quarter mile is 8.8%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button above.
Roadway:  2 lane highway, well maintained and in good condition with no to a narrow shoulder.

Traffic:  Light and no oversized vehicles (nothing over 35') are allowed.  

Parking:  There is a big dirt parking area at the start of the climb - MapStreet View. 
Provisions:  There is a general store in Twin Lakes 2 miles east of the climb start. 

Weather:  This climb ends above 12,000' so be sure to consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for the time you expect to arrive at the finish to assess what clothing to bring on your ride.
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Adding Independence Pass West would be a great out-and-back which would involve 30 miles of riding and nearly 7,000' of climbing.

We stay in Aspen when riding Independence Pass. Aspen has many hotels and lodges to choose from, in addition to outstanding villa and condo rentals in this popular ski resort area. A challenging and scenic out-and-back is tacking Independence Pass East onto the climb from Aspen which makes for a 60 miles 6,700' out-and-back ride. 

Use the Routes in Area Tool to see other great bike climbs in this area. 

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Independence Pass, Colorado -- Route from Aspen is a US 100 Bike Climb.

Ride 15.8 miles gaining 4,128’ to 12,095’ at 4.8% average grade.

The eastern approach to the pass is less challenging and scenic than from the west, but finishes at the same high altitude as from Aspen, of course!  So the altitude alone makes this one a bit tougher than its pedestrian statistics suggest.

We climbed Independence Pass September 4, 2014 and reached the summit in the snow!  

Before heading to Colorado on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

Bicycle ride up Independence Pass - Continental Divide sign and cyclist riding to it.

Highest paved passes in Colorado, all cross the Continental Divide:

  • Cottonwood Pass, Buena Vista, CO - 12,127’
  • Trail Ridge, Estes Park, CO - 12,183’
  • Independence Pass, Aspen, CO - 12,102’

These passes[1] are also the highest in the U.S., followed by Guanella Pass, CO (11,639’), Slumgullion Pass, CO (11,539’), Beartooth Pass, WY[2] (10,950’), Grand Mesa, CO (10,875’), Wolf Creek Pass, CO (10,857’), Hwy 143, UT (10,413’), Hwy 153, UT (10,308’).

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TOP 100 US BIKE CLIMBS

Wolf Creek Pass (top photo): southwest CO (Pagosa Springs)

Independence Pass: central CO (Aspen)
Cottonwood Pass: central CO (Buena Vista)

Trail Ridge: Stops nine miles short of the Divide.


[1] Passes are distinct from “highest points” on climbs that do not continue over a summit (e.g. Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak).

[2] Starts in Montana, but the pass itself is in Wyoming.