Independence Pass East Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Independence Pass East

CO, USA

All the cycling data and info you'll need to climb Independence Pass East

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

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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!  

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.