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 book a reservation for your Wilderness Camping Permit, visit www.recreation.gov to book your trip. Reservations for summer backpacking wilderness camping trips will open March 2, 2022, at 8:00 am Mountain Time. All reservations for backpacking wilderness camping trips must be booked via Recreation.gov. For more details, visit Rocky's 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: March 2, 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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