DENVER (KDVR) — Part of Colorado Highway 82, specifically Independence Pass, was closed for the season as of Monday, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
CDOT said winter weather conditions and significant early snowfall over the weekend caused the closure, which typically starts the first week of November and lasts until around Memorial Day weekend.
Along with being a scenic byway, the pass provides access to Aspen from Denver and is the highest paved state highway in Colorado at an elevation of 12,095 feet.
The road is 32 miles long and includes narrow and curvy sections and steep switchbacks. CDOT said plowing both sides of the pass is not safe during winter.
The highway also includes steep drop-offs in several areas and can only be driven by one car in certain sections. CDOT said these features, as well as heavy snowfall at the high elevation, cause it to be impossible to pass during the winter.
Because of the closure, people looking to drive to Aspen from Denver were encouraged to instead take westbound Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs and then southbound Colorado 82 to Aspen.
Over the past 10 years, the earliest the pass closed was Oct. 28, which happened in 2019 and 2021. The latest the pass closed was Nov. 17, which happened in 2016 and 2017.