Plan Ahead When Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: July 1, 2015
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular destination. This year the park is celebrating its centennial. Over the last 100 years, the reasons people visit are the same; to experience nature, to seek solitude, to enjoy scenic grandeur, to watch wildlife, and to partake in outstanding recreational activities.

At the end of May, year to date visitation was up 20 percent over last year when the park received record visitation of 3.4 million. The trend of increased visitation has continued in June as well. June figures should be released by next week. Rocky was the fifth most visited national park in 2014. The park's highest visitation is during the summer and on fall weekends.

Plan ahead for a more enjoyable visit to Rocky! In the summer, the busiest times in the park are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Hike early or hike late

Check the weather forecast before you arrive at the park to better plan your day and destinations. If you plan to hike later in the day, it is critical that you know the weather forecast for the elevation of your destination.


Take advantage of the park shuttle

Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:

Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 7:00 a.m.

Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30 a.m.

Park & Ride by 10:30 a.m.

Wild Basin Corridor by 10:30 a.m.

If you want to hike in the Bear Lake corridor and plan to arrive after 11, your best option is to take the Hiker Shuttle from Estes Park

The Alpine Visitor Center parking lot is busy between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

More than eighty percent of park visitors arrive through the east entrances of the park

Camping is popular in the park. Reserve a campsite up to six months before your visit. The two first come, first served campgrounds fill up as well. Timber Creek Campground fills up last.

In September, visitation is 50 percent higher on weekends than weekdays

Two new webcams are now operating on the Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance. The webcams face east, depicting the flow of vehicles entering the park,

Park staff are working with the Town of Estes Park and Colorado Department of Transportation to operate two new variable message signs on US 34 and US 36 encouraging visitors to select an east side park entrance based on their destination. If visitors have purchased an annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Beaver Meadows entrance has a fast pass lane. The Grand Lake entrance also has a fast pass lane.

The remaining fee free days for the season are Tuesday, August 25, and Saturday, September 26. These days are determined by the Department of the Interior. These are typically very busy days.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit the park website at

Last updated: July 7, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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