More people than ever before are coming to experience the grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park: in 2019, the park had over 4.6 million visitors— the third most visited national park in the country. While this level of visitation means that new and larger audiences are learning about and experiencing this incredible place, it also presents challenges.
Timed Entry Permit System in Effect May 27 - October 10, 2022
Rocky Mountain National Park is implementing a timed entry permit reservation system. Park staff are managing for significant increases in visitation to public lands in Colorado, including Rocky Mountain National Park, along with continued Covid-19 concerns, ongoing park seasonal staff shared housing challenges, reduced shuttle bus capacity and residual fire impacts in some areas of the park from historic fires in 2020.
Rocky is busiest throughout the summer and on fall weekends. In these busy times, especially between 9 am and 3 pm, you should expect:
Long lines and wait times at entrance stations
Full parking lots
Congested roads (i.e. heavy traffic)
When parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants, vehicle access may be restricted in the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area and the Alpine Visitor Center parking area. In 2018, these restrictions occurred most days in July and August, in addition to weekends in June and September.
What You Can Do
Check the weather before you leave home. Knowing the expected weather will help you plan your day and destinations. Afternoon thunderstorms are a serious danger—if you plan to hike later in the day, it's critical that you know the forecast for the elevation of your destination, particularly to avoid lightning and thunderstorms.