The Continental Divide at Independence Pass

After a long weekend exploring the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, hiking to the incomparably beautiful Hanging Lake, soaking in the natural hot springs of Glenwood Springs and hiking around Aspen, Amy and I were ready to spend a relaxing week in Boulder before our next adventures would begin a few days later.

On our drive back east from Aspen, we wanted to take a road other than I-70 to see some new sights and take more of a back road route home. Without realizing it, we were on the road that would take us across the Continental Divide via Independence Pass — a 12,095 foot elevation.

According to my trusty pal Wikipedia, this road (US-82) is “the highest elevation of a paved Colorado state highway on a through road, the second-highest pass with an improved road in the state, the fourth-highest paved road in the state and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States.” OH OKAY. And we found it by accident. Colorado is just full of damn surprises.


While in Aspen we had been surrounded by a steamy day with hot hot temps and the occasional sun shower, at the Continental Divide we were met with crisp blue skies, a temperature in the 40s and snow… SO MUCH SNOW. And in June!

IMG_3627 IMG_3629

“Occasionally I have come across a last patch of snow on top of a mountain in late May or June. There’s something very powerful about finding snow in summer.” 
–Andy Goldsworthy, British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist

IMG_3631IMG_3637 IMG_3640

It was blustery up at 12,000 feet, and there were people paragliding (I think that’s what this is called…) with snowboards along the little slopes! It was so cute. Good for them. Those people were living their lives.

IMG_3648DSC_0841After making our way down the aspen tree-filled, breathtaking eastern side of the Divide, we reached the tiny little town on Twin Lakes, where we got some snacks and soaked in the views before heading back to the Denver ‘burbs. Just like in Aspen, my photos could never do the place justice, but take a look at some of these pictures for a taste of what it was really like.

Have you ever been to the Continental Divide — in Colorado or elsewhere?

Related posts: 

Share on
Leave a comment

You may also like


  • Reply Margie

    I love this! The pictures are fantastic . So much snow in June! Looks like you and Amy had a great time!!

    August 17, 2015 at 9:25 am
    • Reply Kristen

      We had the best time ever. EVER.

      August 17, 2015 at 11:13 am
    • Reply shmamyhopf

      It really was the best time ever. That afternoon was full of weird surprises and fun things. Twin Lakes FOREVER.

      August 17, 2015 at 11:22 am
      • Reply Kristen

        The Jerk Store called and they’re running out of you.

        August 17, 2015 at 11:25 am
  • Reply Hannah Myer


    I wonder how many times I start out my comments on your posts in all caps. Probably like 90%.

    August 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm
    • Reply Kristen


      August 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm
  • Reply Bethany

    Oh my gosh that’s gorgeous!! And can’t believe there is snow! And can’t believe how high up! I’m terrified of heights and every time we drive over the continental divide in Montana it freaks me out and it’s only like 7,000 feet. Haha looks like an amazing trip!

    August 18, 2015 at 11:04 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      The drive up was a little unsettling with the lack of guard rails and steep cliffs but the views were out of this world! 🙂

      August 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm
  • Reply emmachayes

    That is beautiful. Ahhh I want to be in snow filled mountains!

    August 19, 2015 at 4:52 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I’m pretty sure most of this snow has melted by this point in the summer, but it should be making a comeback in just a few more weeks!

      August 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply beckyabb

    To quote a character from a rather famous Disney movie, “Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I’ll be a happy snowman!” 🙂 Great post.

    August 20, 2015 at 9:57 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Great movie, great reference. Thanks 🙂

      August 20, 2015 at 10:42 am
  • Reply She won’t make it 6 months | skyward eyes

    […] all over Colorado — from Denver to Colorado Springs to Mount Evans to Hanging Lake to the Continental Divide to Aspen to Boulder. We explored Devil’s Tower and South Dakota and Nebraska. I went to San […]

    September 14, 2015 at 6:09 am
  • Reply Highlights of summer 2015, according to Instagram | skyward eyes

    […] 1. Opening the summer with this magical weekend when Amy came to visit me in Colorado: hiking to Hanging Lake, spending a night in Glenwood Springs, hiking in Aspen the next morning, and driving across the Continental Divide. […]

    September 23, 2015 at 6:48 am
  • Reply Notes on leaving & delayed withdrawal | skyward eyes

    […] star lit sky. My sister and I hiked to Hanging Lake and through Aspen and accidentally drove to Independence Pass at the Continental Divide. I spent countless hours exploring the trails of Rocky Mountain National […]

    December 22, 2015 at 7:27 am
  • Leave a Reply