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Independence Pass

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

Driving between Aspen and Leadville on Independence Pass, don’t miss the short hike to scenic Weller Lake. The hike starts at a small, signed parking lot 0.3 miles east of mile marker 49. One end of the parking lot has marked parking spaces, the trailhead is on the other end of the parking lot.

At the Weller Lake sign, walk down a few steps to the bank of the Roaring Fork River. Turn left and follow one of the social trails to a bridge over the river.

Cross the bridge, climb up ten steps and look for a trail split. Turn right. About a quarter mile from the trailhead, you’ll find a sign marking the entrance to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

It’s around that spot that the switchbacks begin. Switchbacks are back and forth trails that crisscross a mountain, making it easier to gain elevation than going straight up.

Cross another bridge over the Weller Lake outlet stream at 0.43 miles and then it’s just an 8th of a mile to Weller Lake. You can take nice shots of the lake from here, or do some boulder hopping to get a little closer to the shore.

Details: The hike to Weller Lake and back to your car in the parking lot is about 1.25 miles round-trip with 250 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From Aspen, drive 0.3 miles past the mile marker 49 sign. In 2012, there was a sign before the parking lot letting drivers know Weller Lake was next. The parking lot is paved and has about 10 spaces.

In the area, don’t miss the ghost town of Independence about 5 miles away. Click here for more great hikes in Colorado and throughout the west.


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