Bicycling

 
Photo of two bicyclist paying the park entrance fee at Fall River Entrance Station.
Bicyclist stop at the entrance station on their way into the park.

NPS Photo/Biddle

Bicycling in Rocky Mountain National Park is a breathtaking experience. To protect yourself, others, and the park, review and follow the rules and suggestions on this page. Have a fun, safe ride!

 

Fees

Each bicyclist is required to have a 1- or 7-Day "per person" pass or be covered under an annual or lifetime pass, which covers the owner and up to three additional cyclists. Passes require photo identification to verify ownership.

1-Day Pass - Automobile - $20.00

Valid for date of purchase. Covers single, non-commercial vehicle with 16 or fewer passengers. Purchase online.

1-Day Pass - Per Person - $10.00

Valid for date of purchase. Applies to walk-ins, bicycles, and non-commercial groups.

1-Day Pass - Motorcycle - $20.00

Valid for date of purchase. Covers single motorcycle.

7-Day Pass - Automobile - $30.00

Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Covers single, non-commercial vehicle with 16 or fewer passengers. Purchase online.

7-Day Pass - Per Person - $15.00

Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Applies to walk-ins, bicycles, and non-commercial groups.

7-Day Pass - Motorcycle - $25.00

Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Covers one motorcycle.

 

Rules of the Road

  • In Rocky Mountain National Park, federal law requires that cyclists ride single file at all times. Riding abreast is prohibited.
  • Cyclists should stay to the right side of the road.
  • Cyclists must obey posted speed limits and all traffic laws and signs.
  • On roads open to motor vehicles, bicycles must ride in the same direction of travel as other vehicles.
  • During sunset, sunrise, and other periods of low visibility, cyclists must ride with a white light or reflector that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red light or reflector visible from at least 200 feet to the rear.
 
 

Group Rides

To obtain a permit, contact the Concessions Management Specialist at 970 586-1209.

A Special Use Permit is required when any of these conditions exist:

  • Group size exceeds 25 riders
  • Aid stations are designated
  • Traffic control is required
  • Portable toilets for human waste are necessary
  • NPS involvement/oversight/management is necessary
 

Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road

 
A graphic showing bicycling road dates, which are explained in the text following

Trail Ridge Road is a paved highway that crosses the park from east to west. Elevations range from 7,800–12,183 feet, with 11 miles above treeline (see elevation profile below). Road shoulders are narrow, guardrails are few, and some drop-offs are steep. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road remain open to bicycles April 1 to November 30 (except during maintenance and emergency closures). However, the road is only maintained and regularly patrolled from Memorial Day weekend until the first major snow in mid-autumn. Use at your own risk.

 
An elevation profile of Trail Ridge Road from west to east
 

Other Park Roads

Bicycles are prohibited on all trails and on the Grand Ditch Road.

Bicycles are permitted on all roads open to motor vehicles (paved and dirt) unless otherwise posted. Roads are narrow with few or no shoulders and no designated bicycle lanes, so ride with care.

After autumn road closures:

  • Endovalley Road, High Drive, Upper Beaver Meadows Road, and all park campgrounds (closed loops) are OPEN to bicycles.
  • Fern Lake Road, Wild Basin Road, and Twin Sisters Trailhead Access Road are CLOSED to bicycles.
 

Lodging, Rentals, and Facilities

There is no lodging in the park, and camping is allowed only in campgrounds. Bicycles are not available for rent in the park. Lodging and bicycle rental, repair, sales, and tours are available in nearby communities.

There are bike racks at visitor centers but no bike racks on shuttle buses. At trailheads, if no bike rack is available, cyclists may carry their bike into the woods and lock it to something out of sight (like a tree) as long as no harm is done to that object. Cyclists may not lock bikes to signs or trailhead bulletin boards.

If you plan to leave your bike overnight, you must get a dash tag from the Wilderness Office and tape it to your bike. Items left over 24 hours are considered abandoned. Permits are required for all overnight wilderness camping.

The park assumes no liability for bikes or other property left unattended.

 

Safety Tips

Safety is your responsibility. Cycle at your own risk.

Ride Early
In summer, get an early start. After 10 am, roads become congested, and the chance of accidents increases. After noon, dangerous thunderstorms and lightning are common.

Be Prepared for Steep and Narrow Roads
Park roads are consistently narrow, steep, and winding. Road shoulders are narrow and not designed to accommodate cyclists. There are few guardrails and many steep drop-offs.

Watch Out for Drivers
In summer, roads are congested. Many drivers aren't used to driving in the mountains and may be driving rented oversized vehicles or pulling trailers. Drivers might be watching the scenery and wildlife rather than the road. Pay extra attention, watch for extended side-view mirrors, and don't assume that drivers know how to share the road.

Be Prepared for Mountain Weather
Park roads traverse altitudes up to 12,000 feet (3,650 m). Alpine weather conditions can change quickly and dramatically. Cold temperatures, gusty winds, frequent thunderstorms, and hail are likely, and even snow is possible. Lightning is extremely dangerous, especially above treeline.

Wear the Right Clothing and Gear
See and be seen: wear high-visibility clothing. Bring extra layers and waterproof outerwear. Wear a helmet, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Always Carry Food and Water
It's easy to get dehydrated in Rocky's dry climate and high elevations. Carry and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help prevent altitude sickness. Water may be available at park visitor centers. Trail Ridge Store is the only place to buy food, bottled water, and sports drinks and is only open in summer.

Remember: You're at Altitude
At high altitude, each breath contains less oxygen. If you are not acclimatized, exercise might be more difficult. Consider planning a less ambitious ride than you would at home. If you begin to experience symptoms of acute mountain sickness like headaches, rapid pulse, nausea, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and general malaise, do not go any higher. Descend to ride another day.

Don't Count on Cell Phones
Cell service is non-existent in many locations in this rugged park. Stay with your group. Let someone know your plans.

Last updated: July 18, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
General park questions: (970) 586-1206. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970)586-1222.

Contact Us