Colorado is a near-perfect place to have a homestead for those who want to reconnect with nature and do their part to help our planet. But where in Colorado are the best places to settle for an off-grid living?
Colorado has many areas that are perfectly suitable for off-grid living, especially for those who have a penchant for cold climates but still want to experience all four seasons. Notable areas include:
- Parson’s Draw
- Twin Spruce
- Skye Creeks Way
- Douglas Mountain
Though these areas share many of the same benefits, they are different in their own ways. Some are perfectly suited for accessing renewable energy sources, while others are excellent hunting and building locations.
Why Live Off the Grid in Colorado?
Colorado is a popular destination for tourists and vacationers all across the country for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. It’s for this same reason—in addition to the renewable energy and resources available—a lot of people within the off-grid-living community consider making it their home.
Colorado is also home to a few renewable energy sources. The most popular form of renewable energy for an off-grid household is solar. Not only has solar energy advanced significantly over the past few decades, but Colorado’s sunshine levels are also above the national average, even during the winter months. Due to most off-grid households’ reliance on solar energy for basic amenities, this is a notable advantage.
Another popular source of renewable energy is wind. In fact, wind energy is the most popular form of renewable energy statewide, growing from 1.5% in 2005 to over 17% in 2016. Wind can be used to great advantage in the Colorado landscape as, once again, its average wind speed is consistently higher than the national average, particularly in the summer months.
Utilizing wind energy on an off-grid piece of land is entirely possible, and in fact, is often paired with solar power by off-grid households using a hybrid system.
Plenty of Resources Available
Depending on where you decide to settle in Colorado, you can access building materials, such as lumber or stone. You can also farm and hunt in various locations to acquire resources for food.
5 Best Places to Live Off-Grid in Colorado
So now that we’ve seen some of the pros and cons the state offers for off-grid living, let’s look at some of the best areas in Colorado to build an off-grid homestead.
Parson’s Draw is an area north of Walden. It has excellent access to hunting and game, such as mule deer and elk, and plenty of lumber to build or supplement a homestead, such as a log cabin or yurt.
Parson’s Draw is more remote than some of the areas further down this list, so you will have to travel to Walden (15 miles south of the land) for additional hunting and fishing opportunities outside of the region. With that said, it’s worth noting that there is no direct access to water in the area itself, so you will need to supply your own with a well system.
However, the primary benefit of Parson’s Draw is that it has plenty of lumber in the area, and plots can be outfitted with a hybrid solar and wind system.
If you’re looking for a great off-grid property but still want access to things like emergency services, this area is perfect. Twin Spruce is located in a mountainous region but is north of Twin Spruce road, which allows for easy commuting to nearby towns. It, too, has access to plenty of lumber and hunting.
The property also has access to seasonal streams, which is a significant benefit if you need a source of freshwater and fishing.
Skye Creeks Way
Skye Creeks Way has access to plenty of lumber and has multiple points of access to water, making this property an ideal location.
While still heavily forested, there are numerous areas for existing sunlight to enter uninhibited to power a solar kit, although you could always create access in your acquisition of lumber. And, although it definitely feels secluded, the land is actually fairly close to a maintained road, allowing for easier access to towns than most remote locations; once on the road, you are only minutes away from downtown Boulder.
Douglas mountain has a year-round stream called Horse Creek. This is a massive benefit to any off-grid dwelling, as the land has incredible access to unhindered solar power. The terrain is varied and consists of more hills than plains. This is also a potential benefit for wind energy due to Colorado’s higher than average altitude and wind speeds.
While access to raw materials such as lumber may not be as plentiful as some other locations on this list, this area’s year-round access to water and the promising renewable energy potential keeps this location as one of the best places to settle for off-grid living.
Winterpark is a popular real estate location that traditionally caters to folks looking to take full advantage of Colorado’s winter season. While there are traditional on-grid properties available, there’s also a plethora of raw land that is perfectly suited to creating an off-grid homestead while still having reasonable access to amenities such as emergency services and other “in-town” conveniences.
While many seekers of the off-grid lifestyle plan on doing most, if not all, of the work themselves, the annual event, Parade of Homes, has actually begun highlighting off-grid homes as part of their event. These are professionally crafted homes, featuring things such as:
- A roof-mounted solar array
- A propane-powered backup generator
- Super-insulated walls and wood-fed heater
So, if you want to live off the grid in Colorado but don’t want to go through the effort of trying to build your own homestead, you’ll be surprised to find that Winterpark offers many already-built homes just for that purpose. You may even be able to plan the building of a new homestead through the area’s real estate and development companies.
Also see: Can You Live Off the Grid in California?
Final Things to Remember About Colorado Off-Grid Living
While there are certainly lots of upsides when it comes to living off the grid in Colorado, there are a few challenges you should keep in mind as you search for your new settlement, the first and foremost being access to water.
Unfortunately, Colorado is below the national average in terms of rainfall, with several regions being classified as deserts. While that “desert” land will be much more inexpensive than its non-desert counterparts, the goal of being truly self-sustaining (which many off-grid households share) isn’t possible without a reliable water source.
Although you don’t necessarily have to have a water source to pursue off-grid living on a property, it certainly does make things easier and can put a strain on day-to-day activities if you don’t have a plan for water in place.
This is why areas like Douglas Mountain and Sky Creeks Way (mentioned in our list above) are so valuable; they offer immediate access to a nearby freshwater source for you to take advantage of.
Despite the potential challenges of finding a decent water source, if you want a self-sufficient homestead, you simply can’t go wrong with one of the above locations in Colorado, especially those that are known to have access to water.
Not only are these areas home to plenty of resources like lumber, but you can also use the land you settle on for farming or hunting to acquire food. Additionally, Colorado’s unique weather allows off-grid households to take advantage of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.