WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

It's a shame that the entire length of Colorado's State Highway 82 can't stay open all year. It's an incredible 85-mile stretch of highway from Aspen, Colorado to the Twin Lakes that either starts or ends with the mighty Independence Pass.

Much like the Million Dollar Highway, Colorado 82 is home to ghost towns, old cliffside swimming holes, incredible hiking, and many other surprises. With a portion of the highway near Independence Pass closed from October to May, some of these areas are only accessible on foot during the winter.

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Where is the Ghost Town of Independence, Colorado?

The townsite for Independence, Colorado can be found off of Independence Road, near Independence Mountain famous for Independence Pass. Easy to find right? This ghost town is located right off of Colorado 82 about 16 miles southeast of Aspen, Colorado.

What makes Independence, Colorado famous?

Miners branching out from Leadville in the late 1870s were the first to find gold in the Independence area. By the early 1880s, almost $5 million in gold (by today's currency) had been discovered in the mines and in the Roaring Fork River. The old miner's cabins sit out in the snow at 10,800 feet within the sound of the Roaring Fork River nearby.

Can You Still Find Gold In Independence, Colorado?

It's absolutely possible. Plenty of mines throughout the state still allow visitors to pan and search for gold. Many have a 'keep what you find' policy. Learn more about historic Independence, Colorado in the photo gallery below.

Photos: Tour the Ghost Town of Independence, Colorado

Down the slopes off Colorado Highway 82 sit the empty miner's cabins and the ghost town once called Independence. This once important community was nearly the county seat of Pitkin County but ultimately lost out to Aspen. See the cabins that are still standing today and visit the Roaring Fork River nearby. Maybe you'll find some gold!

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

MORE: The Story Behind Colorado's Beautiful Million Dollar Highway

In 1883, the county of Ouray commissioned Otto Mears to build a toll road from the town of Ouray up to the top of the Uncompahgre Canyon. Scroll on to learn more about the incredible highway Mears built through Colorado's San Juan mountains.

MORE: Tour One of Colorado's Oldest Ghost Towns in St. Elmo

Founded in 1880, it was said the residents of St. Elmo took the last train out of town and never came back.

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

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