Your Safety is Your Responsibility

Before heading out on any trip, take time to check the weather, make sure everyone in your group is prepared for the anticipated conditions, and be prepared to turn back if conditions change.

For detailed safety tips when recreating in Rocky Mountain National Park, please review the information below:

snowshoers in snowy woods


Weather & Elevation Safety


Weather and conditions can change rapidly when recreating at high elevations in the mountians. For details, visit the park's All About Weather page.

Be prepared for changing conditions and carry these essentials:

  • Winter Gear/Rain Gear
  • Pack extra layers of clothing
  • Map and compass (and know how to use them)
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Extra food and water
  • Pocketknife
  • First aid kit

Snow and Ice Fields

Stay back from steep snow slopes and cornices. Snow avalanche danger is often high. Ask a ranger about current avalanche potential. Know how to recognize dangerous snow conditions.


Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude.

Tonahutu Spur Trail Post Fire
Visitors hiking in a burn area.


Safety Tips when
Recreating in Burn Areas

Park visitors should be aware of additional hazards when recreating in burn areas including:

  • Burned-out stump holes where the ground may be weak and unstable
  • Unstable dead trees, especially in windy conditions
  • Loose rocks, logs and rolling debris
  • Flash flooding and significant debris flow possible in burn areas
  • Dry, hot conditions with little forest canopy to provide shade

Park staff will continue to assess closed areas on both sides of the park for fire impacts, safety and downed trees, erosion and rock fall.

It is unknown when all park trails impacted by the fires of 2020 will reopen.

For maps and information on current area closures due to fires, visit


COVID-19 Precautions

Rocky is modifying visitor services to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Check locally for current information and continue to follow CDC guidelines. As circumstances continue to change and we modify our operations as necessary, we thank you for your patience and cooperation.

When recreating, park visitors should follow local area health orders and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities. Please don’t visit if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19. Park staff will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

  • Keep your distance. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail or in a parking lot.
  • Keep it with you. If you brought it, take it with you. Trash pickup and restroom facilities will continue to be limited in many park areas. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • Know your limits. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest search and rescue parks in the country. Many of these incidents could be avoided with visitors planning and making responsible decisions. Winter-like conditions exist in high elevation areas of the park. Bear Lake currently has 14 inches of snow. During the ongoing health crisis, it is critical to make wise choices to keep our national park rangers and first responders out of harm’s way.
  • Protect wildlife. Obey speed limits and be aware of wildlife.

Last updated: February 13, 2023

Park footer

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.

Contact Us