Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Aspen in Pitkin County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Early Travel Over the Pass

 
 
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
1. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker
Inscription.  The first travelers over Independence Pass came from the east because most of western Colorado was Indian territory until the relocation of the White River Utes in 1881. Prospectors from the Leadville area explored the Roaring Fork Valley in the 1870s but the first records of travel over the Pass come from 1879, when prospectors found gold near the Independence Ghost Town. Mining fueled the development of a toll road over the Pass and mineral development thrived for a number of years until the ore played out. The road fell into disrepair until the State of Colorado designated State Highway 82 over the Pass in the 1920's and rebuilt the road on its current alignment. Remnants of the original road and the way stations that serviced it can still be found alongside the current highway. Ruins of old mines and cabins are scattered throughout the woods and valleys of the Pass.

[Captions]
Left: The stretch of road known as "The Narrows” just below the Weller Campground has always brought thrills or terror. Steep drop-offs, loose rock, narrow roadways and changeable weather made early travel a risky undertaking. Even
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
2. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail
The stretch of road known as "The Narrows” just below the Weller Campground has always brought thrills or terror. Steep drop-offs, loose rock, narrow roadways and changeable weather made early travel a risky undertaking. Even today the road can be treacherous, particularly during early spring and late fall when cold temperatures can cause icing. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
today the road can be treacherous, particularly during early spring and late fall when cold temperatures can cause icing. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Top middle: The original road over the Pass featured long stretches of "corduroy” where logs were laid down to counter the effects of water, mud and soft soils. Original corduroy logs can still be found next to Highway 82, just east of the summit on the north side. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Bottom middle: Originally, travel over the Pass was on foot paths worn by Native Americans, prospectors and pack animals. In 1881-82 a toll road was built over the Pass. The road saw heavy traffic from wagons, horses and foot travelers until the railroads came to Aspen in 1887. The remains of the old road can still be found at various locations along the Pass. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Top right: The road over the Pass was sometimes crowded even before Aspen became a popular tourist destination. This photo shows a funeral procession pausing at the top of the Pass in 1930. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Bottom right: (Left) Citizens of Aspen turned out for "Good Roads Day” every spring to open the Pass. Photo: Aspen Historical Society (Right) Modern snow removal
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
3. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail
The original road over the Pass featured long stretches of "corduroy” where logs were laid down to counter the effects of water, mud and soft soils. Original corduroy logs can still be found next to Highway 82, just east of the summit on the north side. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
is still dangerous. Opening the Pass on Memorial Day weekend is always CDOT's goal. Photo: Mark Fuller

Did you know? The original toll road (1882-87) over the Pass was open all year round.
 
Erected by Independence Pass Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles.
 
Location. 39° 6.497′ N, 106° 33.835′ W. Marker is near Aspen, Colorado, in Pitkin County. Marker is on Colorado 82, on the left when traveling west. Marker is approximately 17 miles east of Aspen, in the White River National Forest. The road is closed October-May. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Almont CO 81210, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Continental Divide (here, next to this marker); The Environment (here, next to this marker); Restoring the "Top Cut" (approx. 1.3 miles away); Independence Pass Foundation (approx. 1.3 miles away); Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 2.1 miles away); a different marker also named Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 2.1 miles away); Independence Townsite (approx. 2.1 miles away); Tent City (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aspen.
 
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
4. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail
Originally, travel over the Pass was on foot paths worn by Native Americans, prospectors and pack animals. In 1881-82 a toll road was built over the Pass. The road saw heavy traffic from wagons, horses and foot travelers until the railroads came to Aspen in 1887. The remains of the old road can still be found at various locations along the Pass. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
5. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker Detail
The road over the Pass was sometimes crowded even before Aspen became a popular tourist destination. This photo shows a funeral procession pausing at the top of the Pass in 1930. Photo: Aspen Historical Society
Early Travel Over the Pass Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
6. Early Travel Over the Pass Marker
This marker is on the left.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 7, 2021