Wilderness Camping Planning Checklist

Months Ahead

  • Decide who is going on the trip
  • Decide when and where you are going
  • Outline your hiking route
  • Call Wilderness Office (970-586-1242) for likely snow, trail or campsite conditions at time of trip
  • Do not plan too early. Be cautious regarding snow conditions when planning trips in April, May and June). See Wilderness Designated Campsite Details for most likely snow free campsite dates.
  • Check permit regulations
  • Order maps and guidebooks and compass
  • Begin breaking in new boots
  • When you are ready to make a reservation for your Summer Wilderness Backpacking Trip go to www.recreation.gov to make your reservation. Reservations for Summer Wilderness Backpacking Trips will open March 1 at 8:00 am Mountain Time. For more details go to the Wilderness Camping webpage.
  • Reservation Requests are not accepted for Camping Dates from November 1 through April 30. Walk-up/In-person permits are available at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Wilderness Office (west of Estes Park on Hwy 36) or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center (north of Grand Lake on Hwy 34). Fore more details go to the Wilderness Camping webpage.

Three Weeks Ahead

  • Confirm group gear with hiking partners
  • Go over checklist of backpacking gear
  • Make sure your gear works and replace or repair
  • Plan your menu

One to Two Weeks Ahead

  • Buy and repackage food

Days Before

  • Pack gear, checking each piece off list as it enters the pack
  • Verify departure plans with hiking partners
  • Give a copy of itinerary and return time to a friend or relative

Day of Trip

  • Recheck gear when you meet with your group
  • Stop at Wilderness Office for permit and current wilderness information
  • Permit cannot be issued without license plate number(s)
  • Put car keys in safe place and give a duplicate to your hiking companion
  • Head for wilderness and have a great time

Summer Gear Checklist....................Winter Gear Checklist

Last updated: December 10, 2022

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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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