Independence Pass

Top choice scenic drive in Aspen

Looming at 12,095ft, Independence Pass connects Aspen with Twin Lakes and is one of the more high-profile passes along the Continental Divide. The hairpin-turn views are gorgeous but a downright distraction for drivers, so save contemplation of the summer snowfields and knife-edged peaks for the designated pullouts. Look for the ghost town of Independence on the way up.

Driving over the pass, there are plenty of side adventures worth considering. At the summit, there's a short trail that takes you to a scenic view or you can head up the Linkins Lake Trail for gorgeous views at 12,000ft. Down on the other side, you come to the little town of Twin Lakes, which offers good fishing and boating.