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Boarding park shuttle bus at Bear Lake.
Park visitors board shuttle bus at Bear Lake.

NPS Photo / Rachel Williams

Rocky is a Popular Place!

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.

For more information, check out the Timed Entry Permit System page on our website.


What To Expect

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)
  • Busy trails
  • Full campgrounds

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.
  • Carpool and use the free park shuttle.
  • Hike early or late. Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:
    • Glacier Gorge Trailhead: 6 am
    • Bear Lake Trailhead: 8:00 am
    • Park and Ride: 9:15 am
    • Wild Basin Corrdidor: 9:30 am
  • Reserve campsites early. During busy times, most if not all reservable campsites are reserved well in advance. So we recommend that you reserve a campsite up to six months before your visit.
  • Explore Rocky's wild west side. More than eighty percent of visitors arrive through the east entrances.
  • Enjoy the fall on a weekday. In September, visitation is 50 percent higher on weekends than weekdays.
  • Check our webcams. Use the Beaver Meadows Entrance Webcam and Fall River Entrance Webcam to view current lines and vehicle flows.
  • Expect large crowds on fee free days. Fee free days are usually extremely busy.

Last updated: June 6, 2022

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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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