We love the Banana Belt of Colorado and in particular the Buena Vista area. On this date we took a ride up to Aspen, Co. via Independence Pass.
Independence Pass, elevation 12,095 ft (3,687 m), is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in theUnited States.
he pass is at the summit of the ridge of the Sawatch Range between Aspen and Leadville, on the border between Pitkin and Lakecounties and is located within the confines of the White River National Forest. The pass connects the upper valley of the Roaring Fork River upstream from Aspen with the headwaters of the Arkansas River near Leadville. The pass is traversed by State Highway 82 and is the second-highest paved mountain pass in Colorado after Cottonwood Pass. The top of the pass is well above the tree line and the terrain type at the top is tundra. The road is narrow and steep with a 6.5% gradient, including tight switchbacks on each approach. Sections of the pass have a speed limit of 25 mph, with advisory limits on some switchbacks as low as 10 mph. Trucks and other large vehicles are prohibited from driving on the pass; large RVs are allowed, however. The pass is always closed in winter, from the first heavy snow fall in autumn, often opening only in late May or early June
Although we stopped at the summit, we didn't take many pictures because we had been here last year. However, this year there was much more snow on the summit. Our Jeep's outdoor thermometer indicated it was 56 degrees at the summit about a 20 degree difference from when we left BV.
We didn't go down the west side of the pass last year. So I was surprised by the very narrow and steep descent into Aspen. There were portions of the road with a cliff face on one side, drop off on another and no centerline as the road was barely narrow enough for one large vehicle.
Upon arriving in Aspen we immediately noted how modern the city appeared in comparison to some of the other Colorado mountain towns we have visited. Aspen is at 7900 ft. and the temperature was 78 degrees.
Also of note was the numerous upscale shops and customers. We parked in a public parking garage as street parking was at a premium and expensive.
We ate lunch at Little Annie's in the heart of the shopping district. Afterwards, we walked and just browsed.
|Ski Lift Area in the Background|
|El Conquistador outside of the Public Library|
|Narrow curve with no lane dividers|
Although we enjoyed our excursion to Aspen, we both left Aspen with the opinion that we wouldn't want to live there. It's very beautiful but, very expensive in an overindulgent kinda way if that makes any sense. I guess if we were snow skiers we would have a different perspective.
Round trip for us was about 120 miles and took a few hours.