Colorado Camping With an Electric Vehicle

June 15, 2023

Sum­mer months are final­ly here and many Col­oradans are plan­ning their next sweet camp­ing trip. While many of our favorite “hid­den” gems may feel remote and far, a sur­pris­ing num­ber of camp­ing areas are well with­in reach of an elec­tric vehicle’s range. Even more sur­pris­ing, is where one can find charg­ing infra­struc­ture in our remote moun­tain regions. Decid­ing to make the next camp­ing trip with an EV can pro­vide a lot of unique oppor­tu­ni­ties that are not avail­able with gas counterparts.


As of this writ­ing, the aver­age EV for sale in Col­orado has a range of 250–300 miles EPA esti­mat­ed. Range of an EV, like a gas car, isn’t always going to hit the EPA rat­ed esti­mates. Speed, for instance, is one of the great­est hits on an EV’s effi­cien­cy. That being said, when hit­ting the back road for an epic camp­ing spot, speed is often much low­er than what hap­pens on I70. What that means for an EV is bet­ter effi­cien­cy and thus bet­ter range. Get­ting out to Syl­van Lake, or run­ning through Kebler Pass to Crest­ed Butte on the back pass­es gives you more miles per kilo­watt than stick­ing to the high­way. I often run into very sur­prised peo­ple when they see me pull up to Mead­ow Lake on the Flat­tops with my EV; no charg­ing or gas for miles around but I have no range anxiety.

Anoth­er alle­vi­a­tion to camp­ing in the wilder­ness with an EV is the con­sis­tent and incred­i­ble growth of charg­ing infra­struc­ture. Thanks to the efforts of the Col­orado Ener­gy Office, many small com­mu­ni­ties have tak­en advan­tage of get­ting DC fast charg­ing sta­tions when there isn’t even a gas sta­tion in town. A great exam­ple of this is Red­stone. No gas sta­tions for near­ly 70 miles, yet an EV can get a fast charge before hit­ting up Crys­tal Mill or cruis­ing McClure Pass on the West Elk Scenic loop. Want to pic­nic at Tay­lor Reser­voir in-between Bue­na Vista and Crest­ed Butte? No prob­lem, plug in at the free Lev­el 2 charg­er at the mari­na! Find­ing a dis­persed site in the San Juans? Ouray and Lake City have DCFC.

Yet more options is the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get a charge while camp­ing at a state park. Rifle Falls State park has elec­tri­cal hook-ups for RV’s; many elec­tric vehi­cles come with mobile charg­ing equip­ment that can be plugged into these hookups. Head down to Ridg­way State Park and after a night of camp­ing, wake up to a full charge to extend your adven­tures in South­west Col­orado. Many KOA camp­sites, for a small fee, will allow EV own­ers to plug in and car camp.

Which brings me to my next point: car camp­ing. Many EV’s such as Riv­ian and Tes­la have soft­ware fea­tures that allow you to car camp com­fort­ably. Regard­less of the out­side tem­per­a­ture, car camp mode allows many EV’s to inter­nal­ly run the HVAC sys­tems while sip­ping pow­er from the bat­tery, so even a dis­persed camp­ing trip can remain com­fort­able. The Ford F150 Light­ning can deliv­er 9,000 watts of pow­er in 110v and 220v out­lets in the bed and frunk, which can pow­er ket­tles and elec­tric stoves.

There are a lot of regions in Col­orado that make the per­fect sum­mer get­away with the chance to unwind and unplug from every day life. And with an EV, those get­aways can be reached well with­in the range of almost every EV on the mar­ket today and get a charge in some of the most remote com­mu­ni­ties. With silent dri­ve­trains, no exhaust, and no oil spills, our back coun­try roads and forests can be explored with lim­it­ed impact to the envi­ron­ment and fel­low campers. Start­ing July 1st, new EV incen­tives from the state office will make a wider range of EV’s mod­els more afford­able for more Col­oradans. Con­sid­er your next camp­ing trip in an elec­tric vehi­cle and find how sur­pris­ing­ly easy and com­fort­able the expe­ri­ence can be!

Writ­ten by Ben West­by, Vol­un­teer EV Coach

Recent Posts

Earth Month 2024 Event Recap

Earth Month 2024 Event Recap

We believe every month is Earth Month, and April is no different! Throughout April, many cities and organizations hosted a variety of Earth Day celebrations across the state of Colorado. Drive Electric Colorado attended 13 events throughout the month, serving as a...

How an Electric Truck Kept the Lights On

How an Electric Truck Kept the Lights On

Electric vehicles have been using electrons across highways for over a decade now. For most, it’s an alternative fuel source to do the same job: transport people from point A to point B. But as EV’s begin taking more market share, many EV’s are starting to take shape...


Take the pledge to make your next car electric!