Climbing in RMNP
Climbing in RMNP


Climbing has been a popular activity in and around the area known today as Rocky Mountain National Park since the 1800's. The wide variety of peaks and granite rock formations in the park provide excellent opportunities for a wide spectrum of climbing including traditional alpine climbing, big wall, bouldering, snow and ice, and mountaineering.

Today, Rocky Mountain National Park is a place that calls to local climbers as well as those from all around the world.

Opportunities for climbing exist in many areas of the park from Lumpy Ridge to Longs Peak and other high alpine mountains. Whichever activity you select, it is your responsibility to respect the areas you visit, minimize your impacts, and know and obey all park regulations.



A climbing permit is not required for climbing and mountaineering, but climbers on overnight trips must have a backcountry wilderness camping permit to camp or bivouac. Contact the park's Wilderness Office at 970-586-1242 for specific information on permit procedures, backcountry conditions, and climbing regulations. For information on the west side of the park, call the Kawuneeche Visitor Center Wilderness Office at 970-586-1521.

Timed Entry Permits

Rocky Mountain National Park will implement another pilot temporary timed entry permit reservation system beginning on May 26 through October 22, 2023. The reservation permit system will be similar to that used in 2022, with two types of reservations available.

  • One permit will be for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which includes the entire corridor, as well as access to the rest of the park. This reservation period will be from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The second permit will be for the “rest of the park,” excluding the Bear Lake Road corridor. This “rest of park” reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability, with no set time for departure.  The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.

For all details, a list of frequently asked quesitons, and for links to RMNP's page, visit the park's Timed Entry Permit webpage.

Climbing Ethics

All visitors who climb in RMNP are asked to take personal responsibility for the care of the fragile resources we all love. To accomplish this goal, please adopt this code of ethics for low impact climbing and share it with your fellow climbers:

  • Accept responsibility for yourself and others.
  • Use wag bags and pack out all human waste. Use toilets when available.
  • Carry out all climbing gear. Stashed ropes, rock protection, and bouldering pads are considered abandoned property as well as trash. Leaving climbing gear behind harms wildlife, damages wilderness areas, and is illegal.
  • Use existing access trails to approach climbs. Tread lightly when this is not possible, walking on durable surfaces. Avoid short-cutting trails which causes erosion and plant damage.
  • Know and respect historic and environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Be considerate of wildlife and other users.
  • Leave the rock and its environs in its natural condition. Avoid placing permanent protection and altering the rock in other ways such as chipping and gluing.
  • Renew your commitment to follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • Know and abide by local regulations.


Mountain conditions are often vastly different from those in the valley. Snow often stays in the mountains until mid-July. Afternoon storms can pop up without warning and bring lightning, rain, and hail to the peaks. Rockfall can quickly change a route. Conditions in the mountains can change suddenly.

Always be prepared when traveling in the high country.

  • Check conditions before heading out
  • Pack for variable and changing weather
  • Let someone know your plans, and what route you plan to take and stick to your plan.
  • Be prepared to turn around if conditions worsen, if you are not feeling well, or if members of your party are ready to turn back. It is always ok to turn around and try another day.

For more information on lightning safety when climbing, visit theLightning Safety page

Chaos Canyon Debris Slide Area Closure- Areas West of Lake Haiyaha Remain Closed:

Chaos Canyon is a popular area for bouldering. On June 28, 2022, a large rockslide event occurred on the south slope of Hallett Peak, resulting in sliding rock falling into Upper Chaos Canyon. Learn more about the rockslide event and view a closure area map on the park Current Conditions webpage.


Learn More:


Guiding and Concessionaire Activities

If you are interested in learning climbing, advancing your knowledge or would like a guide, several concessionaires are authorized to lead trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. Visit the park's Commercial Use Authorization webpage for information

Last updated: January 18, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
The Information Office is open year-round: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily in summer; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mondays - Fridays and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays - Sundays in winter. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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