NaBloPoMo – Day 9 – Independence Pass On The Continental Divide – 12,095 Feet Above Sea Level

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22558 – 871

Here’s the haps:

The last time I had tried to embed a map in a post I wound up having problems with everyone being able to see it. I’m going to try it again because if you look at the hairpin turns and the mountainous terrain you will understand the kind of slow drive we took to go to Aspen, Colorado from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was kind of surprised that Google Maps would not plot the drive but then I realized that this road, Colorado Highway 82, is closed from October to May. I used Bing Maps, which allowed me to future date my search, and the computer says that from Colorado Springs to Maroon Bells Welcome Center is 160 miles, 3 hours and 45 minutes. It actually takes at least 5 or more hours. The worst part is getting to the top of the pass because the road goes every which way and you cannot drive at even close to the posted limit of 35 mph. This is because of the terrain.

My son stopped early in the morning and picked up a couple of hitchhikers(Grab the little slider arrow to switch between two pics.):

I like this “Image Compare” block. The slider is kind of neat.

I’m sorry we did not get more pictures of the road itself but we were trying to drive and it required some concentration and focus. While there were guard rails for the most part there were stretches that had none. Eventually, we came to the top of the pass. Surprised by snow and ice in July in North America? It is quite a lot colder in the mountains the higher up you go.

The first travelers over Independence Pass came from the east because most of western Colorado was Indian territory until the relocation of the White River Utes in 1881. Prospectors from the Leadville area explored the Roaring Fork Valley in the 1870s but the first records of travel over the Pass come from 1879, when prospectors found gold near the Independence Ghost Town. Mining fueled the development of a toll road over the Pass and mineral development thrived for a number of years until the ore played out. The road fell into disrepair until the State of Colorado designated State Highway 82 over the pass in the 1920s and rebuilt the road on its current alignment. Remnants of the original road and the way stations that serviced it can still be found alongside the current highway. Ruins of old mines and cabins are scattered throughout the woods and valleys of the Pass.
The highest point on the road. 12,095 feet. This is the highest paved road crossing the Continental Divide. Water from the west side drains into the Pacific and the east side drains into the Atlantic. To the east is the Pike-San Isabel National Forest and to the west is White River National Forest.

There are hiking trails, paved and dirt, all over here with informational plaques all around, if you are looking for a real Colorado Rocky Mountain High.

Tomorrow: The Bells, The Bells…but sorry, no tintinnabulation.


  1. Looks like a great place to visit….in warmer weather. The snow really hangs on up on the divide. We hiked the divide in late July in Banff and just missed a late season snow fall. Thanks for sharing Herb. Allan

  2. I googled tintinnabulation and it is really a word. How beautiful. And the last picture looks like a crater of a volcano, isn’t it? Or probably I am just imagining things. Your trip is so exciting. And please drive slowly even in those places with railings, which are probably just props. If something happens, those railings can’t do much. Be careful and your fans are waiting for all the beautiful pictures you can get.

    • It wasn’t really a crater but it was a depression full of snow. This took place in 2019 so I know I must have survived the drive, lol.

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