Who knew Aspen was a great destination for biking?
Cycling to the top of the Independence Pass is a chore. The climb begins at around 8,000 feet elevation on a narrow, steep road that offers very little rest for 18 miles. It peaks at 12,095 feet, for about 4,000 feet of climbing. And yet, to walk this ruthless ascent is the fulfillment of a lifetime for many. This is because there are few roads that go through such rugged and beautiful scenery while pushing you to new sporting heights. Riders pass through ghost mining towns and climb above a valley once populated by game and summer Native American tribes. However, riding the Independence Pass is not all about beauty, nostalgia and sporting challenges. There is often traffic in both directions, the road often lacks a shoulder, it narrows in sections to a single lane and has variable conditions and steep drops. Add to that the unpredictable Colorado weather – it could snow in July at the top of the pass – and it is essential that cyclists be prepared for all eventualities. Bring plenty of diapers, food, and water, and be prepared to turn around in the event of a thunderstorm. The Aspen to Independence Pass route is open to cyclists from Memorial Day weekend until approximately November 1, depending on weather.