• Photo of park visitors enjoying sunset from the Alpine Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

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Commercial Use Authorizations

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA’s) authorize companies or individuals to conduct business in Rocky Mountain National Park on an annual basis. A CUA provides a group a non-exclusive license to offer services to park visitors.

An organization is considered a business if you provide goods, services, activities, or other things to the public using National Park Service lands. If you receive any form of compensation for the things you provide you are conducting a business or commercial activity. The National Park Service definition of a business or commercial organization does not distinguish between commercial and non-profit organizations.

CUA activities must be appropriate to the mission of the park, compliment resource protection, visitor protection and interpretation goals, and not pose any potential for derogation of values or purposes for which the park was established. They must be consistent with the park’s future plans as well as present operations. They should be compatible with the planning documents for the park. The park will not normally limit the number of organizations that offer similar services or activities.

CUA holders have their base of operation outside the park. All the commercial aspects of the activity must occur outside of NPS lands. This includes marketing, advertising, use of permanent or temporary structures, and negotiation with customers. Compensation or payment for services, (even tipping) may not occur on NPS lands.

Some activities are authorized under Concessions Contracts, which are exclusive multi-year authorizations to provide goods and services. Horseback rides, wood sales, merchandise operations, and climbing trips and classes are operated under Concessions Contracts. To obtain more information about these services, call the Concessions Office at 970-586-1209. Do not use the CUA application to apply for these services.

Currently, the following activities are permitted under the CUA program:

  • Art classes
  • Fly fishing instruction
  • Frontcountry bicycle tours
  • Guided backpacking
  • Interpretive hiking tours
  • Llama packing services
  • Photography workshops
  • Portrait photography sessions
  • Scooter tours
  • Shuttle services
  • Snowshoe & ski tours
  • Wedding Coordinating Services** (Wedding Planner)

**in addition to the $250 permit fee, there is a $20 per event booking fee

The fee is $250 per year for each guided activity. In January of 2015 the permit fee will increase to $300 per year per guided activity. To download a printable CUA application, click here.

Rocky Mountain National Park requires the following information in order to complete a CUA application:

  1. The $250 CUA fee. Please make check out to National Park Service, Department of Interior.
  2. Proof of adequate general liability insurance and automobile insurance. Rocky Mountain National Park needs to be list on the General Liability Insurance as a co-insurer or an additional insurer. It needs to read as follows:

United States Government
Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Hwy. 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

General comprehensive liability: $300,000 per person, per accident and $25,000 property damage, or $325,000 if the policy is written as a combination policy covering bodily injury and property damage.

Automobile coverage minimum requirements (required for all owned, non-owned, and hired vehicles used by the permittee):

car, van, or bus up to five passengers, $300,000
six to 12 passengers, $500,000
13 to 20 passengers, $750,000
21 to 50 passengers, $1,500,000.

  1. A written list of guides and their First Aid and CPR certifications showing expiration dates. It is required that one guide on each trip must be minimally certified in Standard First Aid and CPR.
  2. Your current brochure of your rates or your Website that has the current information such as rates, and trip dates. Please include an itinerary of the areas of the park you are planning on using for the guided activities.
  3. A completed Non-Fee Guide Permit application. This form allows you to request non-fee entrance passes used by your guides to enter the park while conducting business. These passes must be carried by your guides at all times while in the park. All clients must pay $10 per person or show proof of entrance, Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass, Interagency Passes, or America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass or Access Pass.
  4. If you require an “Acknowledgment of Risk” form to be signed by your clients, please include a copy of the form that you have your clients, guests, and campers sign before participating in the guided activity.

Did You Know?

male Western Tanager with red head and yellow body

The male Western Tanager, with red head and yellow body, stands out brightly in the dark conifer forest.