Ghost Town of Independence, Colorado

Near Aspen, Colorado, I found the fascinating ghost town of Independence. Early settlers there had to be independent — at an elevation of 10,920 feet, the town is buried in snow from October through May!

Prospectors discovered gold there in 1879, and 3 years later, the town soon boasted 40- some businesses and about 1,500 residents. Today, only well-weathered ruins remain on the site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We had fun wandering around, imagining what life was like during the boom times.

Aspen is on State Highway 82 in west-central Colorado, 26 miles southeast of Carbondale and 49 miles west of Leadville (featured on page 58 of the Nov/Dec 2004 issue).

Independence is 13-1/2 miles east of Aspen on Highway 82. It's open daily for self-guided tours until Independence Pass (about 4 miles farther east on the Continental Divide, at 12,093 feet in elevation) closes for the winter season, which usually lasts from late October through Memorial Day.

For details, call the Aspen Historical Society at 1-800-925-3721.

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