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See Colorado’s National Parks in Your Electric Vehicle

Take an electric vehicle road trip to Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes national parks with stops for EV charging near each park.

The state of Colorado offers towering mountains, stunning canyons, mysterious deserts and plenty of places to charge your electric vehicle. Hit the road with our guide on where to charge in and near Colorado’s four national parks. For information on charging along the way, head to plugshare.com.

Rocky Mountain National Park EV Charging Stations

Start your electricity-powered Colorado road trip in Rocky Mountain National Park, just under an hour and a half north of Denver. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to stunning peaks, gorgeous alpine lakes and waterfalls, abundant wildlife and the highest continuous paved road in the United States. The park has four entrances, three of which are on the east side near the town of Estes Park and the last on the park’s west side near Grand Lake. There are no charging stations inside the park, but you can find chargers in both Estes Park and Grand Lake. Don’t miss driving Trail Ridge Road between the two towns in the summer months when the 12,183- foot-high road is open.

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park Photo: Adobe Stock

Estes Park

In Estes Park, head to the Estes Park Visitor Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave., to charge your vehicle. It offers Level III, Direct Current Fast Chargers and Level II J-1772 chargers. 

What to do while you wait? Hop on the free Estes Park shuttle, which will take you throughout the quaint town of Estes Park for shopping or dining, or to the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station at Rocky Mountain National Park. From here, you can transfer to the park’s free shuttle to explore the Bear Lake and Moraine Park areas of the park, including access to hiking trails.

Many other chargers are available at businesses throughout town.

If you’re driving a Tesla and looking for a supercharge, head to the Stanley Hotel at 333 W Wonderview Ave.

Grand Lake

Stop to charge at the Grand Lake Marina, 1128 Lake Ave., in Grand Lake. You’ll find Level II, J-1772 chargers. 

What to do while you wait? Grand Lake is a charming mountain town perfect to spend an afternoon strolling its wooden sidewalks downtown and exploring its art galleries, boutiques and cafes. Or, get out on the water by renting a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or pontoon boat at the marina to explore the lake.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park EV Charging

Just under five hours southwest of Grand Lake, you’ll find one of Colorado’s most underrated national parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This dramatic canyon near the town of Montrose is home to sheer black cliffs that provide stunning views whether from the rim or the river below. 

The park is divided into two areas: the remote North Rim and the South Rim. If you’re looking to stay closer to services, the South Rim is your best option. Coming from Rocky Mountain National Park, Interstate 70 is the best route for an electric vehicle as chargers are plentiful.

Hiker on a trail to the Painted Wall overlook in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Hiker on a trail to the Painted Wall overlook Photo: Getty Images

In the Park

You’ll be able to charge your vehicle at the South Rim Campground with NEMA 14-50 outlets at select sites. You’ll need a campground reservation.

What to do while you wait? Hike the stunning Rim Rock Trail from the campground, which connects to the South Rim Visitor Center where you can learn more about the park. From the Visitor Center, you can choose to hike further along Oak Flat Trail.  

Montrose

The nearby town of Montrose offers several Level II, J-1772 chargers at the Montrose Community Recreation Center (16350 Woodgate Rd.) and the Montrose Memorial Hospital (800 S 3rd St). A Level III, Direct Current Fast Charger is available at the Centennial Plaza, 504 N 1st St.

Mesa Verde National Park Charging

Three hours south of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is Mesa Verde National Park, home to the remains of an ancient Ancestral Puebloan civilization. It’s tucked into the desert, and you’ll find cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and mesa-top dwellings. There are chargers in the park as well as in the nearby gateway down of Cortez.

Square Tower House cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park illuminated at night
Square Tower House cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park illuminated at night Photo: Getty Images

In the Park

Spend the night at the Morefield Campground for a NEMA 14-50 charge. It’s only available with a campground reservation, so plan ahead.

What to do while you wait? Attend an evening ranger program at the Morefield Amphitheatre. Rangers have been leading these programs since 1907. Find the latest schedule at the museum.   

If you don’t have a campground reservation and have a Tesla, you can also charge at the FarView Lodge which has a Tesla Connector, up to 8kW

What to do while you wait? Make a dinner reservation at the Metate Room at the FarView Lodge. This stunning restaurant shows off views of the park with a wall of windows and has award-winning food that pulls from local ingredients like steelhead trout and blue corn.   

Cortez

Cortez, which serves as the gateway for Mesa Verde National Park and has a surprisingly hip culinary scene, has two Level II J-1772 chargers at the Montezuma Community Center (107 N Chestnut St) and the City of Cortez offices (928 E Main St). A local medical office at 2095 N Dolores Rd has a Tesla Destination Charger.  

Great Sand Dunes National Park Charging Stations

Head back east just over three and a half hours to another hidden Colorado gem: Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. This park touts the highest sand dune in North America along with stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park Photo: Getty Images

Near the Park

Just down the road from the park in Mosca, Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV & Camping, 2-98 Pinon Cir., has NEMA 14-50 outlets available with a campground reservation.

What to do while you wait? Enjoy hot showers, purchase groceries and souvenirs and spend the night in a campsite, cabin or the motel on site.    

Alamosa

The college town of Alamosa is the closest major town to the park 30 minutes away. You’ll find Level II J-1772 chargers at the First Southwest Bank (531 Edison Ave) and the Alamosa Public Library (306 Hunt Ave).  

The closest Level III charger is in Del Norte, 35 minutes from Alamosa.