Independence Pass is one of the few places in the state where you can ascend above treeline on a paved road. There is a paved trail here through beautiful alpine tundra. In summer you should find American Pipits and White-crowned Sparrows without trouble. If you hike across the tundra, you might stumble across White-tailed Ptarmigan or Brown-capped Rosy-Finch.
Habitat: Spruce-fir Forest, Krummholz, Streamside Willow, Alpine Tundra
Directions: Follow US 24 south from Leadville about fifteen miles to its junction with CO 82. Turn right (west) onto 82, following signs for Aspen. The pass is about fifteen miles west on 82--you can't miss it. Take care when driving this road, especially if you head west down the Pitkin County side.
Delorme: 47 D5
Roads of Colorado: 85 F2-F3
Dates of Access: Summer
Ownership: US Forest Service
Restrictions: Road is winding and potentially dangerous; high altitude may affect some people's health
Parking: Paved lot (absolutely NO roadside parking!)
Lodging: Hotel in Leadville or Aspen
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car or paved trail