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Routes from the Montrose CO Supercharger Station

dgpcolorado

high altitude member
Apr 25, 2015
2,513
3,412
The Western Slope, Colorado
Now that the Montrose Supercharger Station has opened (yesterday) I thought I would post some elevation profiles of routes from Montrose to other Supercharger Stations. Those on the coasts, where Supercharger Stations are so dense it seems that there is one every few miles, might not appreciate what it is like in the rural Mountain West, where they tend to be few and far between. Montrose is now something of an exception since, despite a remote location well away from Interstate highways, it is within easy Tesla range of eight Supercharger Stations in almost every direction. So, proceeding from the Northwest in a clockwise direction:

1) Montrose to Green River UT

Montrose to Green River-profile.png

Notes: The stretch from Grand Junction to Green River on I-70 can have strong headwinds. If you hit wind, check your battery percentage at destination and if looks too low slow down right away. Or get an additional charge at the Grand Junction Supercharger Station.

This route is not the least bit scenic. However, travelers can take a side trip through Colorado National Monument from Grand Junction to Fruita, at I-70. Highly recommended, especially for those who don't have much experience with the "red rocks" country of Colorado, southern Utah or northern Arizona.

A place families with children interested in dinosaurs might want to visit is the Dinosaur Museum in Fruita, near the visitors center/rest area at the Fruita exit off I-70.

Another place of interest is the "Trail Through Time" located at exit 2, near the Utah border, just north of I-70. This easy 1.4 mile loop trail is near the quarry where the dinosaur fossils in the Dinosaur Museum came from. There are several marked dinosaur fossils in the rocks next to the trail. For those who know what to look for, there are places where fragments of dinosaur bone fossils litter the ground (please leave them there for others to enjoy). [I helped reroute and build part of this trail with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado many years ago.]


2) Montrose to Grand Junction CO

Montrose to Grand Junction-profile.png

Notes: As with the route to Green River, this short stretch to Grand Junction is not scenic. A side trip to Colorado National Monument, mentioned above, is highly recommended.


3) Montrose to Glenwood Springs CO

Montrose to Glenwood Springs-profile.png



4) Montrose to Aspen CO

Montrose to Aspen-profile.png

Notes: The stretch of CO-133 over McClure Pass is scenic. You might want to make a short side trip to Marble, where the marble for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC was quarried. The Supercharger Station at Aspen is at a hotel and is of the "urban" variety; it is one of the more attractive Supercharger Stations.


5) Montrose to Poncha Springs CO

Montrose to Poncha Springs-profile.png

Notes: The access road to the South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located on US 50 seven miles east of the Montrose Supercharger Station. Well worth the side trip if you have the time. The North Rim of the canyon can be accessed from CO-92 at Crawford but the road is unpaved on that side.

The stretch from Cerro Summit, east of Montrose, to Gunnison, along the Blue Mesa Reservoir is scenic. The road up Monarch Pass has two climbing lanes on the west side and has two climbing lanes part of the way on the east side. Zooming up the west side to the pass is fun in a Tesla.


6) Montrose to Farmington NM

Montrose to Farmington-profile.png

Notes: The stretch of US 550 from Ridgway to Ouray to Red Mountain Pass — the "Million Dollar Highway" — is highly scenic. The part from Red Mountain Pass to Silverton, Molas Pass, Coal Bank Pass, to Purgatory Ski Area is also scenic.

The Hot Springs Pool in Ouray is quite popular (limited in numbers of guests allowed at present, due to the coronavirus, however). Ouray hosts winter ice climbing festivals, for those interested. It is also the Jeep Road capital of Colorado (on the old mining roads) and people come from around the country to challenge their Jeeps and other SUVs for what they were really intended.

The Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is justly famed, for fans of steam trains.


7) Montrose to Blanding UT

Montrose to Blanding-profile.png

Notes: The stretch from Ridgway to Dallas Divide to Norwood is highly scenic.

Blanding is the gateway city to Natural Bridges National Monument and the surrounding Bears Ears National Monument. A visit to hike Natural Bridges is well worth doing. The road from Blanding to the Monument, UT-95, is fun to drive and often has no traffic to interfere with zooming around the curves.


8) Montrose to Moab UT via Ridgway, Norwood, Naturita, Paradox Valley, La Sal

Montrose Ridgway Moab-profile.png

Notes: This is the little known back road route locals use to get to Moab. The stretch from Ridgway to Dallas Divide to Norwood and from CO-90 through Paradox Valley to La Sal UT to Moab are both highly scenic. CO-90 tends to have almost no other cars, so it is a peaceful drive.

Moab is the gateway city for the sublime Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. High season is April and October, when it isn't as hot as in summer. The Island In the Sky District of Canyonlands can be toured by car but it is best if the air is very clear, which is increasingly rare nowadays, except in winter. The Needles District of Canyonlands, located about halfway between Moab and Blanding, is best explored by foot on the many superb hiking trails.


9) Montrose to Moab via Whitewater, Gateway, Paradox Valley, La Sal

Montrose to Gateway to Moab-profile.png

Notes: This is an even more obscure route to Moab. The stretch of CO-141 from Whitewater to Gateway to Uravan is highly scenic. The stretch from Gateway to Uravan is red rocks canyon country. The stretch from Whitewater to Gateway is also canyons but of completely different geology.

The Gateway Canyons Resort has Tesla Destination Charging, located across from the world class auto museum; it is open to anyone who wants to charge there. There are a number of excellent hiking and biking trails on BLM land adjacent to the Resort. [I helped build them with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado over a number of years.] A trail map can usually be obtained free from the Activity Center of the Resort. Otherwise you can download my pdf scan here:

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The one missing route is Montrose to Telluride over Lizard Head Pass to Cortez. Cortez, the gateway city to Mesa Verde National Park, doesn't seem to be in Tesla's plans for a Supercharger Station. And, of course, Kayenta AZ has been on the "coming soon" list since 2016.
 

thatgeekinit

Member
Jan 19, 2020
20
22
Denver, CO
Great post. The BBQ place at the Aspen charger is a small chain called Home Team from Charleston SC and has great dry ribs.

You can also just walk through the hotel and hang out at fire pits at the base of Buttermilk ski area while you charge.
 
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tharasix

Member
Jul 30, 2019
71
81
Minneapolis, MN
Yes, thanks for this super informative and timely post, dgpcolorado. I am planning a massive three week road trip with my family to take advantage of the NPS Every Kid in a Park program, and this information helped me choose a more interesting route from Moab to Estes Park. We'll be staying at Gunnison overnight so we can get to Pike's Peak the next morning on the way to Estes.

Interesting side note, the Gunnison Inn's website quoted me over $900 for a single night in a 300 sq. ft. two queen room that looked like it would fit in at a Budget Inn. Not worth it for the overnight charge on their level 2 by a long shot, especially given the Montrose to Poncha data you posted above.
 
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dgpcolorado

high altitude member
Apr 25, 2015
2,513
3,412
The Western Slope, Colorado
Yes, thanks for this super informative and timely post, dgpcolorado. I am planning a massive three week road trip with my family to take advantage of the NPS Every Kid in a Park program, and this information helped me choose a more interesting route from Moab to Estes Park. We'll be staying at Gunnison overnight so we can get to Pike's Peak the next morning on the way to Estes.

Interesting side note, the Gunnison Inn's website quoted me over $900 for a single night in a 300 sq. ft. two queen room that looked like it would fit in at a Budget Inn. Not worth it for the overnight charge on their level 2 by a long shot, especially given the Montrose to Poncha data you posted above.
An alternative to Pikes Peak would be Mount Evans, near Georgetown. It would be more convenient for a trip heading to Estes Park.

The road to the top of Mount Evans was closed last year, so I don't know if it will be open this summer, although I would guess so. Pikes Peak is better known, so more "cachet" and the road is open more of the year (although it was limited access last year, due to construction at the top). Mount Evans is a bit higher and more convenient to the Denver metro area and Estes Park.

If you are traveling in summer, when Trail Ridge Road is open in Rocky Mountain National Park, you might consider getting to or from Estes Park that way and skip the Denver/Boulder metro area entirely. CO-119 is another route to Estes Park that stays in the mountains, although it can be busy in the summer, especially on weekends. (If you are planning a trip in the winter or spring, your alternatives are more limited, of course, due to seasonal road closures for snow.)

Good luck with your trip planning!
 
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