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Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

darnestown md
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Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

Hi I am coming to Colorado in August. I will be driving either from Colorado Springs to Aspen or from Aspen to Colorado Springs. I know Independence Pass is supposed to be beautiful. However, I am not sure I feel comfortable driving it. Is there another way to go? Would appreciate knowing how long driving takes(will have to kids in the car) and if it makes more sense to start in Colorado Springs or Aspen. Thank you very much!

WestSlope,CO
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1. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

You can easily get to or from Aspen a couple of different ways without going over Independence Pass. Did you want to do this in one day or take an overnight along the way?

You could go Hwy 24 from Colorado Springs to Johnson Village then north to Buena Vista and Leadville, then Interstate 70 west to Glenwood Springs and south to Carbondale. This would be about 260 miles and take around 5 1/2 hours

From Colorado Springs you could also go Hwy 24 to Johnson Village and Poncha Springs, then west on Hwy 50 to Montrose, (will you have time for a visit to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park?) north on 50 to Delta, then Hotchkiss and Redstone, Carbondale, Basalt and Aspen. This would take approximately 7 1/2 hours to cover about 370 miles.

You could reverse directions for either route.

Are you making a loop from and back to Denver? If so, I'd go to Colorado Springs first, to help acclimate to the altitude. Then to Aspen by way of Montrose, Hotchkiss, Redstone. (beautiful drive, lots to see along the way)

Then from Aspen back to Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, through Glenwood Canyon and Interstate 70 back to Denver. (Also a beautiful drive with lots to see along the way)

.

Park City, Utah
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2. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

Good ideas from misspWestSlop. One other, routing via Alma-Fairplay-Breckenridge, which is a nice drive. You can't go wrong on any of the drives. But I would seriously consider Independence Pass - it's a spectacular view and a great, well-maintained highway.

Wichita, Kansas
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3. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

The drive over the Pass proper [approximately 5 miles] is a little less daunting if you travel East to West - from Twin Lakes to Aspen. There are no guardrails on the East side so travel from E to W will put you up against the mountain most of the the time.

If at all possible avoid weekends when there is a lot of day-use traffic on the West side of the Pass between Lost Man Reservoir and Weller Campgound.

There are two - very narrow - short 200 yard - nearly ONE LANE only sections on the West side near the 'Grottos'. The safe speed limit in this area is about 20 MPH.

Drive time using Highway 82 - Independence Pass from Colorado Springs would be 4-hours.

Independence Pass is shown in the lower portion of this map.

fs.fed.us/r2/…index.shtml

Edited: 21 June 2011, 17:25
darnestown md
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4. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

thank you so much for your reply. Do you mind if I ask you one question? Do you think the driving is dangerous on Independence Pass? It just sounds scary to me. It seems like older people in RVs do it, so it can' be that hard. My husband may do most of the driving , so that would help. thank you again for your help. I really appreciate it!

sherry

5. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

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6. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

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WestSlope,CO
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7. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

There can be accidents anywhere, of course, but I personally feel safer on the mountain roads with my husband driving than I do driving in almost bumper to bumper traffic going 75 mph from Denver toward Fort Collins! You and your husband drive in metro traffic in Maryland? I don't have any statistics, but my guess is that chances of having an accident on Independence Pass are miniscule in comparison to chances of being involved in an accident on any city freeway in the country, but we all do that without a second thought. It's those darn cliffs and dropoffs that scare us! (And I say us, because they scare me, too! It's just not entirely rational.) My husband says that if you can drive down a highway and keep your tires within the white lines and not hit the rumble strips or veer into another lane, (or if you can drive down a narrow city street with cars parked along the side and not hit them) you should be able to drive Independence Pass, Trail Ridge Road, or the Million Dollar Highway.

Accidents on the mountain roads often involve alcohol or excessive speed, like 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, or the driver is looking at the scenery instead of paying attention to the road and doesn't negotiate a curve. Sometimes a driver swerves to avoid a deer or elk and loses control of the car. Some accidents happen during rain or snowstorms or icy conditions when someone hits a patch of ice or is driving too fast for the conditions. Only very rarely do we read about someone who just drove off the road for no apparent reason.

So...if you aren't either in too big a hurry, or the opposite-- afraid of the heights to the degree that it paralyzes you or makes you panicky or miserable, and if you are fairly confident in your driving ability or your partner's driving ability, and if you are patient enough to pass only when it is very safe and patient with other drivers who may be more frightened or cautious, I see no reason you shouldn't drive Independence Pass.

Edited: 24 June 2011, 22:24
Fruita, Colorado
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8. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

My spouse who will 4WD all over the place and grew up here absolutely refuses to do Independence Pass because you are on the road with oncoming traffic that might or might not be prepared to share. We have had enough challenges in the past (such as holding onto a horse trailer to keep it on the road) due to some tourist too afraid to get away from the middle of the road and willing to risk the lives of men and horses to have their way. We do Million Dollar Hwy. and other roads fine but not that one.

9. Re: Driving Aspen to Colorado Springs

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