off-grid living in Colorado

Off Grid Living in Colorado (Everything You Need to Know)

The Rocky Mountains and many dinosaur fossils can be found while living off grid in Colorado. In my opinion, Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in our country. With a population of 5.75 million people and a location near the heart of the country, Colorado attracts a large number of people looking to relocate. Colorado’s population was just under 4.13 million in 2000, and population growth has been quicker than ever in the last two decades.

living off-grid in Colorado
Welcome to colorful Colorado.

General Statistics About Living Off Grid in Colorado

Colorado may appear to be an ideal state for off grid living at first glance, but the truth is that it is one of the worst states for living off grid. Although living off grid is permitted in Colorado, the biggest issue is that rainwater gathering was once illegal. Even now there are now some limits and regulations. Furthermore, the 66 percent higher cost of housing, will make a living off grid in Colorado costly.

Colorado has 13 cities with populations exceeding 100,000, and the areas around these cities are densely populated. Denver, with a population of 695k inhabitants, is the state’s largest city. It is followed by Colorado Springs (457k), Aurora (363k), and Fort Collins (162k). Despite the fact that population density in some areas can be rather high, there are still lots of places where nature can be found unaltered.

The Rio Grande National Forest, White River National Forest, San Huan National Forest, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, and the Uncompahgre National Forest are just a few of Colorado’s national forests. If you enjoy the outdoors, Colorado is the place to live off grid. However, living off grid in Colorado might be challenging. Colorado’s weather is somewhat erratic due to its geographical location.

You could be sunning one day and snowing the next. Colorado is known for its brutal winters, and residents who live off the grid here prepare for them during the summer. Fortunately, this state contains all you need for off grid living; however, it, like all other states, has its own set of problems. Check out my previous article, Off-Grid Living in Tennessee, if you’re interested in an east coast state.

What is Colorado’s Climate?

Colorado features a variety of climates due to its vastness, including continental, subarctic, semi-arid, and humid subtropical. The typical summertime temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average winter temperature is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to remember that average temperatures fluctuate a lot over the summer and winter; it’s not uncommon to have a couple of hot days followed by chilly days or even days with temperatures below freezing. 

If you’re interested in reading about one of Colorado’s neighbors: check out my guide to Arizona.

What Types of Crops Are Grown in Colorado?

Colorado is similar to Kansas when it comes to crop production. Wheat, potatoes, beans, sugar beets, hay, and corn are the principal crops farmed here. The western and central sections of the state, in general, are the finest for cultivating crops. Although you will be able to cultivate crops in practically all places, some of them may require the use of a greenhouse and compost. 

What’s Freshwater Availability Like in Colorado?

The average annual rainfall is around 20 inches, and the average annual snowfall is around 80 inches. The issue is that most rain and snowfalls in mountainous areas occur at a higher height. One of the most important needs for living off grid, in my opinion, is the capacity to capture rainwater. Unfortunately, capturing rainwater in Colorado was once illegal, and there are still some limits and regulations in place today.

Water will be your primary concern if you plan to live off grid in Colorado. In most places, groundwater isn’t available, and even if it is, there’s a good chance it’s contaminated. Off grid residents in Colorado can use above-ground water sources or buy water and store it in big storage tanks.

What Kind of Wildlife Does Colorado Have?

Colorado is home to a variety of creatures, including the Colorado bison, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, black bear, elk, wild horses, and beavers. Lake trout, tiger trout, mountain whitefish, white bass, spotted bass, walleye, bluegill, and Kokanee salmon can all be found in the area’s rivers and lakes. For fishing and hunting, you’ll need a license which can be obtained online relatively easily. Check out the state’s website.

How to Get Off Grid Power in Colorado

Solar power: Colorado had a statewide renewable energy program a few years ago. Regrettably, it is no longer available, though it may reappear in the future. The good news is that you may still qualify for the federal tax credit, which is worth 30%; however, keep in mind that this credit is decreasing by roughly 5% every year.

Wind energy: While there are no statewide incentives for installing a wind turbine, you can still apply for a federal tax credit. Towards the mountains, there are high wind speeds enough to power your homestead with just wind. 

Are there Off Grid Living Laws in Colorado? 

Living off grid in Colorado is legal; there are no laws forbidding you from doing so. Even though living off grid in Colorado is legal, you will find it incredibly difficult. This is because rainwater collecting is controlled, and there are limits on how much water you may store in specific places. If you keep up with off grid living news, you’ve probably heard that some Colorado counties make it nearly impossible to live off grid.

For example, Costilla County has forbidden camping on private property; some may argue that this is because the authorities do not want people living off grid in this county. On the other hand, some argue that these individuals were engaging in unlawful activity. The fundamental issue is that many people settled in a region to live off grid, and some of them didn’t own the land they were on.

What is Road Access Like in Colorado? 

The roads in Colorado are not of the highest quality; locations with a semi-arid environment will have scorching temperatures during the day and freezing temperatures at night, which is bad for the roads and causes them to crack or have a lot of potholes. Road access can be difficult in the winter, especially at higher elevations.

What is the Price of Land in Colorado?

When it comes to housing and land, Colorado is relatively expensive. Prices average roughly 66 percent higher than the national average. Normally, such high prices would be found on the east and west coasts rather than in the center of the country. The good news is that land and housing can still be found for less than the national average. Most of this land is in semi-arid locations, which are not ideal for off grid life.

Colorado Property Tax

Colorado now has one of the lowest property taxes in the country, at 0.55 percent, compared to the national average of 1.08 percent. Keep in mind that, despite the low property tax, you will still end up paying more due to the high cost of housing and property.

What is the Cost of Living in Colorado?

Colorado’s cost of living is much higher than the national average. Housing costs 66 percent more, transportation costs 7% more, and consumables cost 1% more. On the other side, you’ll pay about 5% less for healthcare and 2% less for utilities.

What is the Job Market Like in Colorado? 

Colorado’s unemployment rate is 2.6 percent, which is lower than the national average of 3.6 percent. The unemployment rate has been steadily declining in recent years, and it was 3.7 percent in 2019. The minimum payment is $11.10, which is greater than the minimum wage in the bordering states. Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and other sorts of services are the major industries in which the majority of people work.

What is Colorado’s Crime Rate?

Colorado’s crime rate is slightly lower than the national average. There are 3.97 crimes per 1000 people compared to the national average of 4 crimes per 1000 people. Creede, Marble, Hooper, Cotopaxi, Florissant, and Divide are the safest places to be. The communities near Pueblo, Canon City, Glenwood Springs, Fraser, Alamosa, and Denver have the highest crime rates.

Is Living Off Grid in Colorado Affected by Natural Disasters?

Colorado has a lot of natural catastrophes because of its diverse climates. To be fair, not all of them are caused by the local climate. Blizzards, hail storms, floods, heatwaves, and droughts are some of the most common. Flash floods, forest fires, and earthquakes are the most destructive natural disasters that occur however.

Can You Live Off Grid In Colorado? 

Overall, I cannot suggest living off grid in Colorad. There are simply too many negative considerations, such as the high cost of living and off grid legislation and prohibitions. I’m not saying you couldn’t live off the grid in this state. You will definitely have an easier time doing so in one of its surrounding states though!

To play devil’s advocate though, I can see why Colorado would be an incredible state to live off grid in. I mean the beauty of nature alone makes me want to move! 

living off-grid in colorado
A scenic drive through Colorado

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