Popularity and high visitation during the summer and fall, particularly during 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. can mean full parking lots, congested roads, busy trails, and long lines and wait times at entrance stations. Weekends throughout the year are busy!
Hike early or hike late prior to 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day!
When parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants park staff restrict vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and Alpine Visitor Center. In 2018, these restrictions occurred most days in July and August beginning at 10 a.m. in addition to weekends in June and September.
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 that runs Memorial Day through early October: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/shuttle_bus_route.htm
If you want to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor and plan to arrive after 10, your best option, and on some days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles. An entrance pass is required to use The Hiker Shuttle. Purchase a pass online at go.nps.gov/rockyfees
The Alpine Visitor Center parking lot is busy between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
More than eighty percent of park visitors arrive through the east entrances of the park
Purchase a daily or weekly entrance pass online at go.nps.gov/rockyfees your email confirmation will serve as your pass and should save transaction time once you reach the park entrance station kiosk.
No lodging is available in the park, but there are hundreds of lodging choices in nearby communities.
Camping reservations inside the park and lodging reservations in gateway communities are highly recommended.
This is a high elevation park. Trail Ridge Road crests over 12,000 feet. Visitors from lower altitudes may feel the effects of thinner air. Take time to acclimate before doing strenuous activities.
When you arrive, stop by a park visitor center for up-to-date information on everything from road conditions to hiking trails and ranger-led programs.