Road Trip in the Rocky Mountains!
Cruise Colorado Outside the I-70 Corridor!
As you plan your summer road trip, you may find yourself passing through the vital I-70 corridor through Colorado. It’s a beautiful stretch of the interstate, fully connected with the Supercharging network. On it’s own, it’s a great trip and will get you across Colorado quickly.
We on the West Slope of Colorado would like you to know a few options to get off the highway and enjoy the best that Colorado has to offer in terms of the back roads of the Rocky Mountains while living range anxiety free! These suggestions are by no means the only way to get off the I-70 corridor, but will give the best sampling of mountain life while staying within reach of charging infrastructure.
The suggested route below has been driven using a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (the author’s model), the car with the smallest battery pack Tesla offers today.
The Epic Route
Stops in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Crested Butte, Buena Vista, Silverthorne or Colorado Springs
Coming in from Utah on I-70, Grand Junction is the main hub for us on the Western Slope. The Supercharger is located at Mesa Mall, with a Target, Cabela’s Outdoor, and many food options. Grand Junction is the home of the Colorado National Monument and is often considered the gateway to the West.
Home of the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, Glenwood is an outdoor playground. The Supercharger is located off I-70 in the parking lot of a Residence Inn. Glenwood is home to Adventure Mountain Park, Iron Mountain and Glenwood Hot Springs, biking, paragliding, hiking, white river rafting, and some of the best donuts in Coloradough.
It’s here you get off I-70, and head south to Carbondale, where you’ll link up to hwy 133, also known as the West Elks Scenic Loop. You’ll reach the top of McClure Pass and earn some percent in your battery with down hill regen. You’ll head West again as you turn on Kebler Pass for Crested Butte, a groomed gravel road only open in the warm season.
Kebler Pass opens right into CB’s downtown area and it’s not to be missed. Use the public J1772 charging station at the public parking lot, or take advantage of the Colorado State DCFC chargers with a Chademo adapter. Widely considered the home of mountain biking, Crested Butte is a hard to reach mountain town but well worth the effort. Sundays are Farmer Market days along Main Street. Consider spending the night here to stretch your legs and get a decent charge. Don’t worry, the rest of the route is paved!
You’ll leave Crested Butte heading toward Taylor Reservoir and the old mining town of Tin Cup. This will lead you up to Cottonwood Pass, an elevation of 12,119 ft (3,694m) and bring you down into the town of Buena Vista.
Like Glenwood Springs, BV is an outdoor playground with rafting, hot springs, biking and hiking. Near the river are public J1772 chargers as well as another Colorado State DCFC Chademo charger. Here you’ll have the choice to charge up to cut across to Colorado Springs on US-24 East, or head north on US-24 North past Leadville to the Silverthorne Supercharger and rejoin the I-70 corridor.
Take Your Time, Take In the Sights
There are many variations you can make of this route:
- Grand Junction-Glenwood Springs-Aspen-Independence Pass-Leadville-Silverthorne
- Grand Junction-Paonia-Crested Butte-Gunnison-Poncha Springs
- Grand Junction-Grand Mesa-Glenwood Springs-Silverthorne
Whatever you choose to do, remember to enjoy yourself, breath in the fresh mountain air, slow down and enjoy the mountain sunlight. We love our mountains, we love driving our Tesla’s amongst the rivers and peaks, and promoting sustainable lifestyles to keep our ranges pristine. We hope to see you on the road or at a charger this summer!
Wonderful article! Take the time to get off the freeway, out of the traffic, and explore a few mountainous routes that will keep you on schedule and with the best views!