Discovery Trail (Independence Pass)

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Connects: Independence Pass Road (HWY 82), Braille Trail

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Discovery Trail

The wide path on the Discovery Trail

Aspen, CO – Easy – 0.3 Mile Loop – Hike, Dog Friendly – Dirt

The Discovery Trail is an easy trail you can hike that is dog friendly. This is a 0.3 mile gravel loop trail near Independence Pass in Aspen, CO.

To access the trailhead, from Aspen drive 12.6 miles up Independence Pass Road (HWY 82). The trail is located on the right, past mile marker 53, with a sign for the Discovery/Braille Day Use Area.

More information about the Discovery Trail can be found at:
White River National Forest – Discovery/Braille Trail

A welcome sign reads: (Click to expand)
Welcome Braille & Discovery Trails

The Discovery and Braille Trails are designed to provide easy access to nature in a tranquil setting. Intended to be accessible to the very young and to the physically challenged, these trails offer beauty and inspiration to all in a serene, vibrant sanctuary. You are encouraged to take your time on these trails and enjoy nature using all of your senses.

The Discovery Trail was developed in 1996-97 by the nonprofit Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, in cooperation with the White River National Forest. It was designed to provide wheelchair access to the forest and to the Roaring Fork River. The signs along the trail illustrate and describe the natural and human history of the area and provide opportunities for visitors to interact with their surroundings.

The Braille Trail was designed and built in the late 1960s by Aspen biology teacher and environmental leader Bob Lewis with the help of volunteers. Trail improvements made between 2006 and 2010 did not alter Bob’s original concept of a trail where visitors could experience nature intimately. The first of its kind, the Braille Trail inspired the development of hundreds of similar trails around the world.”

A sign at the trailhead reads: (Click to expand)
Welcome to the Roaring Fork Discovery Trail

You are standing 10,200 feet above sea level. Conditions at higher elevations are more extreme than at lower elevations. Very few species have adapted to life at high altitude. Vegetation that grows down in the valleys cannot survive here where the winters are long and unforgiving. Many animals migrate to lower elevations or hibernate during the harshest months. The Native Americans who spent their summers here moved to lower ground for winter. In out day we close Highway 82 over Independence Pass for the entire winter season.

We invite you to explore this unique mountain environment and to pay close attention to your surroundings.

Smell the clean, fresh fragrance of the alpine forest.

Look closely to find evidence of plants and animals which make this place home.

Listen to the roar of the river and the gentle song of the birds.

Touch the variety of textures; feel the mosses, lichens, bark and water.

Everything in nature has a purpose.

So be curious while investigating how the parts of this ecosystem work together. Observe and enjoy this area quietly and please leave this place as you would hope to find it.”


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Posted in 1-3 Miles, Aspen, Dirt, Dog Friendly, Easy, Gravel, Hiking, Independence Pass, Less Than A Mile, Trails Tagged with: ,

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