• Photo of golden aspen with Hallet Peak in the background. NPS Photo by J. Frank

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry Camping Guide


Park staff are removing some dead trees that have been killed by an outbreak of native pine beetles. The removal reduces risk associated with falling trees. Always be aware of your surroundings, particularly during times of high wind.

There will be temporary closures in some backcountry campsites. Please contact the backcountry office at (970) 586-1242 for updated information on the status of backcountry campsites.There are two Backcountry Offices within Rocky Mountain National Park. Permits and information are available at both offices. Backcountry Offices are open seven days a week, hours vary. Phone 970-586-1242.

On the east side of the park the Backcountry Office is located next to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

On the west side of the park the Backcountry Office is located in the Kawuneeche Visitor Center.

The online Backcountry Camping Guide contains information on how to plan a trip, obtain a backcountry/wilderness permit, use the trails, set up camp, hike in a crosscountry area, and care for the backcountry/wilderness. It also details the range of opportunities for camping in the backcountry/wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park: designated sites (individual and group), stock sites, crosscountry areas, bivouac areas (for technical climbers only) and winter areas.

Frequent Backpackers to Rocky Mountain National Park may inquire about options to obtain backcountry permits online. For more information call the Backcountry Office at 970-586-1242.

It is your responsibility to know and follow all backcountry rules and regulations. Please read the Guide through in its entirety and browse other sections of the Backcountry Camping section that fit your needs.

From May 1 through October 31, in the park backcountry areas below tree line and in the Boulder Field on Longs Peak, due to recurring wildlife incidents, all food items and garbage must be secured inside a commercially-made carry in/carry out bear-resistant food storage canister. Other methods of food storage are not permitted in the backcountry during this period.

We also recommend that you visit these topics in the Planning Your Visit section of the park site: High Country Hazards, Weather and Climate, Leave No Trace, and Fishing. Please call 970-586-1206 for general information about the park.

You may use your credit card to order any of the following publications by phoning the Rocky Mountain Nature Association at 800-816-7662 or visiting its web site, www.RMNA.org.

  • Trails Illustrated Topographic Map of Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Hiking Rocky Mountain National, Dannen.

There are many other excellent sources on backcountry/wilderness hiking and camping. Take the time to learn Leave No Trace principles, how to backpack safely, and to how to care for the environment.

Did You Know?

a photo of a hiker below the Diamond on Longs Peak

The one way length of the East Longs Peak Trail is 7.5 miles. Average time for a round trip is 12 hours. More...