4 EV-Friendly Road Trips on Any Budget
Traverse the state in an electric vehicle, charging the whole way along Colorado’s scenic and historic byways.
Travel the state on electric byways
1. Silver Thread
Winding through historical districts, the 117-mile Silver Thread byway will have you thinking you’ve misplaced your stagecoach. Pass verdant meadows on the 6-mile Revolution Rail pedal car in South Fork. After, reward weary muscles with a grapefruit radler at Creede’s SquarePeg Brewerks before the sound of water plummeting draws you like a sailor to a siren at North Clear Creek Falls. Spend the next hour exploring Hinsdale County Museum in Lake City, where little ones will love the over-the-top doll house. At dusk, pull over at Huntsman Gulch — you’ll be surrounded on all sides by Colorado’s mighty mountains — then book it to Gunnison Valley Observatory for a star talk.
Bristol Head Bakery $ (Creede), South Fork Malt Shoppe $, Sherpa Cafe $$ (Gunnison), Patcharee’s Kitchen $$ (Gunnison), Rachel’s Keep On Keepin On $$$ (South Fork), Climb Elevated Eatery $$$ (Lake City)
2. Grand Mesa
The world’s largest flat-topped mountain beckons with jaw-dropping vistas on Grand Mesa byway's stunning 63 miles. Start atop a mountain bike riding — potentially screaming — down singletrack at Mesa’s Powderhorn Bike Park. If that’s not for you, check out the Mesa Lakes area of the Colorado Birding Trail for the thrill of the chase in a different way. Did you bring your boots? Because the ghosts of former cowpokes wanna teach you about cattle herding at Raber Cow Camp in Orchard City — via interpretive signs, not hauntings. Twenty minutes down the road is Lands End Observatory, where endless views remind you just how big the mesa really is. In Cedaredge, snap up ripe peaches at Uncle Johnny’s U-Pick Farm. End the day with a tour of Stoney Mesa Winery, where the Cabernet Franc is a highlight.
The Cabins of Grand Mesa $ (Cedaredge), Grand Mesa RV Park $ (Mesa), Maison De Terre $$ (Cedaredge), Kiser Creek Cabins $$ (Cedaredge), Tiny Homes At Powderhorn Mountain Resort $$$ (Mesa), Mesa Lakes Lodge $$$ (Mesa)
3. Collegiate Peaks
The highest concentration of 14,000-plus-foot mountains doesn’t disappoint for views, but there’s so much more than peak chasing on the 57-mile Collegiate Peaks byway. Get acquainted with the area on a guided ATV tour via Granite’s Sage Outdoor Adventures. After, buy some souvenirs — that you’ll immediately eat — at Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy in Buena Vista. At nearby Growing Wild, a U-pick flower farm, you’ll feel like you’re in “Alice in Wonderland.” Squeal in equal parts exhilaration and terror while rafting the famous waters of the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon National Monument. Or feed the fish in Salida at Mt. Shavano State Fish Hatchery, which helps stock Colorado’s lakes. End the expedition with a glass of sangria at Vino Salida Wine Cellars in Poncha Springs.
The Rooster’s Crow Cafe $ (Buena Vista), Howl Mercantile & Coffee $ (Salida), Simple Eatery & Spoon It Up $$ (Buena Vista), Thai Mini Cafe $$ (Poncha Springs), Mary Murphy Steak House $$$ (Nathrop), 216 Ferraro’s $$$ (Salida)
4. Top of the Rockies
Meander around Colorado’s tallest pinnacles and oldest mining towns on Top of the Rockies' 115 miles of magic. Begin at the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail’s Independence Pass — a small section of the 3,100-mile path. Then head over to Independence Ghost Town, an archaeological dreamland most active in the late 1800s. Reserve a spot on the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ free, 1-mile, wildflower-bedecked Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Walk. Your next stop is the Minturn Bike Park, where there’s a route for every skill level. Learn about mining magnates (including the women who innovated new technologies) at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville. Finish at the 143-year-old Tabor Opera House, which just underwent extensive renovations to restore the red-brick wonder to its old-school glory.
Photo Credits: Andrew Maguire, The North Face Lodge, Treeline Kitchen