Hiking Bob: Independence, Cottonwood Pass openings, NPS, EPC, CPW updates

Independence Pass has reopened as of June 1.

A few quick updates to get you started this weekend, as of the morning of Friday, June 5:

Independence Pass, Colorado Highway 82, reopened from its seasonal closure on June 1. One of the most scenic mountain passes in the state, it is also one of the more treacherous, with winding curves, steep dropoffs and very narrow passages. It is also home to some great hiking opportunities, including this loop hike.

For the first time in more than two years, drivers will be able to traverse up and over Cottonwood Pass, which connects Buena Vista in Chaffee County with Taylor Reservoir, in Gunnison County. The road over the popular pass had been closed to through-traffic while the Gunnison County side of the pass was being paved for the first time ever. The road provides an access point for a number of popular hiking destinations, such as the Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, 14er Mt. Yale, Ptarmagin Lake, Lost Lake and Hartenstein Lake.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, the breathtaking Trail Ridge Road reopened on June 4. Drivers are urged to check on road conditions there before attempting to drive the road, the highest elevation point-to-point road in the country.

NearbyFlorissant Fossil Beds National Monumentwill reopen the main visitors center parking lot, dog walk area, bathroom facilities and outdoor exhibit area starting on June 8. The visitors center itself will remain closed, and the site will begin collecting the usual $10 entry fee, which had been suspended during the COVID-19 closures.

[pdf-1] Colorado Parks and Wildlife has announced that CPW offices and visitors centers will re-open to the public on June 5, following closures due to COVID-19. Some restrictions as to hours and services will apply, and you can find details here.

The popular Mt. Evans Road to the top of the popular 14er west of Denver, will remain closed to all motor vehicle traffic from Echo Lake to the summit until sometime next year. People will still be able to hike, run or bike to the summit, however.

El Paso County Parks pavilions and playgrounds re-opened on June 4, along with organized sports activities. There are some restrictions, which can be found here.

The Garden of the Gods Visitors Center opened in a limited manner this week.

Be Good. Do Good Things.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc. to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.