Permits & Reservations

Guided Tour Reservation Information

The hours of the fort vary by season. Call (719) 383-5023 for reservations. Plan on your visit lasting at least 2 hours. There should be one adult for each 10 children to help direct and supervise the group. Fees apply.

Calendar of Events.

Western National Parks Association's Bookstore offers videos, maps, and books for sale about the fort and the Santa Fe Trail.

Special Use Permits

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is home to beautiful and unique landscapes and settings that are ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as events, wedding ceremonies, and film and photography projects. Permits are required for any activity that requires extended or special attention and/or may have a bearing on the resources.

Special Park Uses Permit Offices have modified operations for the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

  • Applicants should be prepared for unanticipated permit changes, and even cancellations, of permits with little notice due to the possibility of unforeseen circumstances surrounding the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, and should plan accordingly. Due to short staffing and volume of permit requests, delayed NPS response time should also be anticipated.
Required processing time for a Special Use Permit is 14 days. The application fee is $110 based upon actual costs to write and review the permit application.

Established Maximum Capacities for Special Use Permits:

The established carrying capacities are based upon fire code, the physical and social capacities of the sites, available parking, minimizing damage to the resources, and to minimizing crowding, displacing, or disturbing of other visitors. Generally, special use permit requests for resource protection zones, or hiking on trails in groups larger than 25 will not be permitted.

Bent's Old Fort NHS Maximum Capacities for Special Use Permits

Park Area


Number of Nearby Parking Spaces


Picnic/Shade Shelter 32 53 car spaces,
2 handicapped,
8 oversized,
+ overflow parking
4 picnic tables
8 people/table
The Fort 600 Same as Above
The Trail System North of the River 100 Same as Above
The Trail System South of the River 40 2 Future development of a parking lot
Meeting Room 18 Seating at the table: 12

Some Special Use Permits may require insurance.

For more information call 719-383-5012.


If you are interested in getting married in Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site please visit our Wedding Permits page.


Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. In response to the decision, the National Park Service issued interim guidance on February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they would impact park resources or the visitor experience. The National Park Service intends to update regulations addressing filming activities that are consistent with the outcome of Price v. Barr. Once effective, those regulations will replace and supersede the interim guidance.Those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.

Do I need a permit to film?
Under the interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming activities may require a permit to address their potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.

Low-Impact Filming
“Low-impact filming’ is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park directly.

Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors, including park hours and closed areas, still apply to filming activities even if a permit is not required. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.

Non-Low-Impact Filming
Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least ten days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park’s superintendent will determine whether the filming activities will require a special use permit for filming. Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:

  • maintain public health and safety;
  • protect environmental or scenic values;
  • protect natural or cultural resources;
  • allow for equitable allocation or use of facilities; or
  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

Examples of requests that may require a permit include, but are not limited to: weddings, events, entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, or filming in the reconstructed fort. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on potential impacts to park resources or the visitor experience.

Contact the park directly if unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or may require a permit.

Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
Under the interim guidance issued on January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?
Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity.If you are interested in conducting a commercial instructional photography workshop, please visit Commercial Use Permits.

Commercial Operators

Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States. As in other National Park Service areas, commercial visitor services or other commercial activities may be provided only by those holding an authorization from the United States.

Spreading of Ashes

Regarding spreading of ashes in Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, a permit is required and the terms are outlined in Title 36, "Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.62(b), which states in part: "the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, or in designated areas according to conditions which may be established by the Superintendent."

In Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, human ashes may be disbursed as outlined below:

  • The remains must be cremated to the extent that they are not distinguishable as such.
  • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed area or facility, known archeological and historic sites, or body of water
  • Non-organic commemorative and memorial items may not be left behind.

Determination: These conditions for memorialization are to provide for a safe, sanitary and orderly process for the Park visitors and staff; while at the same time taking into consideration the wishes of a deceased person and/or their loved ones.

When you are ready to disburse of the ashes, send in a special use permit application and a letter will be sent to you which will serve as the official permit required by the citation referenced above and the instructions regarding location and notification will serve as the terms and conditions required by the citation. This letter or a copy thereof must be in the possession of at least one member of the party present when human ashes are scattered in the park.

A majority of the special use permits will require the use of the application below:
Special Park Uses Permit

For more specific special use permit requests please call the park at 719-383-5010 to see which application you will need.
Special Use Permit Application Short Form
Special Use Permit Application Long Form
Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit Application Short Form
Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit Application Long Form
Vehicle Use Special Permit Application


Last updated: March 1, 2022

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35110 State Highway 194
La Junta , CO 81050


719 383-5010

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