Independence Lake

Distance: 2.5 mi (4 km) one-way
Elevation gain: 1300 ft (396 m) to pass
Location: east of Aspen, Colorado
Date: August 19, 2012

Lost Man Lake from the pass

The route to Independence Lake follows the Lost Man Trail and begins at the same trailhead west of Independence Pass as the route to Linkins Lake. The Lost Man Trail follows the Roaring Fork River, which begins at Independence Lake. This trail can actually be done as a much longer loop hike to a trailhead closer to Aspen if a car shuttle is used or you walk to road.

Independence Lake and Twining Peak from the pass

The trail begins at an elevation of 11,500 feet, and much of the trail follows the valley bottom or at least close to the bottom before passing Independence Lake. But soon after the trailhead the trail forks with a half mile cutoff going to Linkins Lake. There are some fairly steep sections, but none as long or as steep as many of the surrounding mountains. All of the trail is above the treeline and passes through either shrub-sized willows or alpine tundra.

Geissler Mountain from the Lost Man Trail near Independence Lake

After about two miles, the trail reaches Independence Lake at 12,500 feet and surrounded by Twining Peak to the south and Geissler Mountain to the northwest, among others. After going around Independence Lake, I continued on the Lost Man Trail to the pass at over 12,800 feet north of the lake. From the pass there were excellent views of of Independence Lake to the south and Lost Man Lake to the north. However, the wind was very strong at the pass, and I did not continue on down to Lost Man Lake.

View Linkens & Independence Lakes in a larger map

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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