JOURNEYS

Travel Greener on an EV Road Trip in Colorado

Three people sit around the trunk of an electric vehicle

The future is already brighter in Colorado, a state which has led the charge in sustainability. For those who want to travel greener, the Centennial State has the infrastructure in place so electric vehicles can travel without range anxiety. And when you choose to visit cities powered by 100 percent renewable energy, such as Glenwood Springs and Aspen, you help lower your travel footprint. It’s also easy to enjoy the state’s pristine wilderness and unexpected gems responsibly by staying on the trails and respecting the road ahead. Read on to learn how to Do Colorado Right.

A restaurant called uchi

TRIP HIGHLIGHT

Roof-to-Table Dining

Be awed when you eat at Uchi Denver, where you’ll savor a non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine made with ingredients grown in Altius Farms, an aeroponic vertical farm above the restaurant.
Colorado

TRIP DESIGNER

Visit Colorado

From the bold beauty of the Rockies to the natural wonders of the Eastern Plains, Visit Colorado is your go-to resource for planning an awe-inspiring vacation filled with unparalleled adventure and responsible travel. Discover scenic road trips, culture-rich cities, and outdoor vistas where every star seems to shine a little brighter.
Millenials walkdown an alleyway which is lit by a canopy of hanging lights.

DAYS 1-2Denver

Colorado’s vibrant cities offer a world of discovery in one effortless vacation. The state capital is an ideal starting point for mixing urban appeal with scenic drives just beyond the city. Even in downtown Denver, the view of more than 200 visible peaks (including 32 mountaintops reaching 13,000 feet and over), is protected by state law that prohibits building structures that block the great vistas.

Once you arrive at the Denver International Airport (DEN), opt for a sustainable way to get around town by taking the RTD Rail to Union Station, which deposits you steps away from your hotel, the LEED-certified Kimpton Hotel Born, which has a 91 walkable score. Once you’ve dropped your bags, walk Downtown Denver and pop back over to Union Station to have a quick bite at ND StreetBar while renting an electric car on the Turo app for the next leg of your trip.

Head over to RiNo (River North Art District) via one of Lime or Lyft’s e-scooters to view murals that explore Native American and Latin American roots, as well as cultural issues. Catch a show at Red Rocks, the world’s only naturally occurring and acoustically perfect venue, which also has composting, recycling, and other sustainable initiatives. Have dinner at Uchi Denver for sustainably sourced seafood and ingredients from local farms, including Altius Farm, an urban farm with one of the largest rooftop aeroponic gardens in the country that’s located right above the restaurant. Follow your meal with after-dinner drinks at OMF (Our Mutual Friend) Brewery, which has strong ties with local hop and barley growers and shrinks its carbon footprint by offering a wide selection of 100-percent, Colorado-grown beers.

Start your second day with an early morning stroll in the Denver Botanic Gardens. Next, grab an early lunch at the Market Hall at the Source Hotel or the Comal Heritage Food Incubator in the RiNo district before setting out for another mini road trip. Drive into the Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road, first introduced nearly a century ago as the “scenic wonder road of the world.” Traversing 49 miles between Estes Park in the east and Grand Lake in the west, the highway boasts a full 11 miles of travel above the treeline. Once back in the city, settle into a table at the wind-powered restaurant El Five for responsibly sourced tapas or Duo, which believes in giving back to the community, living wages, and locally sourced food.
Three women walk on a path through the mountains

DAY 3Aspen

Hit the road early so you can have breakfast at Root Down, a converted filling station turned eatery where you may eat something grown in its backyard (literally) in a building entirely constructed from upcycled and recycled materials and powered by wind. Now that you’ve gotten to know your way around Denver, shift gears and head to the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, a fully electric byway lined with chargers (some fast), toward Aspen.

Drive through Frisco, Leadville, and Twin Lakes, where you’ll overnight at Limelight Hotel. But before you settle in too much, dine at Cache Cache, where locally sourced ingredients take precedence.
A red-roofed town from above. A major road stretches down the valley.

DAY 4Glenwood Springs

Get an early start again to have breakfast at Bluebird Café where they serve fair trade, organic coffee. Stop in Carbondale to check out Marble Distilling Co., a sustainable distillery making vodka, whiskey, and other spirits (and home to a refined inn if you’d rather stay here), before reaching Glenwood Springs.

Along with Aspen, Glenwood Springs is one of the state’s cities powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Plus, sustainability is part of its heritage with geothermal power historically used to heat buildings, melt snow, and preheat municipal water supplies. To get a taste of the past and put yourself a short drive from everywhere you want to be, stay at the history-steeped and recently renovated Hotel Colorado, which first opened in 1893.

Connecting Glenwood Springs to Aspen, the paved Rio Grande Trail follows the Roaring Fork River and is where you’ll spend the afternoon biking. (Rentals are available in town.) Over the entire 42-mile course, the rails-to-trails project gains around 2,100 feet making for a generally pleasant ride. If you’re feeling ambitious, try cycling the portion from Glenwood Springs to Carbondale, which takes roughly 2.5 hours roundtrip. Back in Glenwood Springs, stroll over to the Glenwood Hot Springs, just steps from the hotel. Soak in the world’s largest hot spring pool or take a short drive to the eco-friendly Iron Mountain Hot Springs.