Rocky Mountain National Park Will Begin Pilot Timed Entry Permit Reservations May 28 Through October 11
Frequently Asked Questions on Timed Entry Permit 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 Mountain National Park was the third most visited national park in the country in 2019 with over 4.6 million visitors. Visitors experience a high level of congestion in many areas of the park from late May through early October. In 2019, visitation from June through September was over 3.2 million visitors. In July alone, almost 1 million people visited the park.
There will be two types of reservations available. One permit will be for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which will include the entire Bear Lake Road Corridor (from the Trail Ridge Road junction to the Bear Lake Trailhead) and access to the rest of the park. This reservation period will be from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. The second permit will be for the rest of Rocky Mountain National Park, excluding the Bear Lake Road Corridor. This reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability. The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.
It’s easy! Go to recreation.gov click on “Sign Up” in the top right corner. From there, follow the prompts to create an account. You must have an account to make a reservation and we recommend creating your account well in advance of applying for your permit.
Once you set up an account you will select the day of your visit and your preferred time, add it to your cart and make the payment. Visit the Recreation.gov Help Center article (https://bit.ly/3t0EVqE) for more details on purchasing a permit. You will receive an email confirmation with an attached permit. Print out a copy of your permit. If you are planning to access an outlying area of the park you must have a printed copy of your permit on your dashboard (see question below).
Reservations will go on sale through www.recreation.gov beginning 8 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) on Saturday, May 1. Those reservations will be for May 28 through June 30. The next release will begin June 1, at 10 a.m. MDT, for the month of July and any remaining days that have not been booked for June. On July 1, at 10 a.m. MDT reservations will be available for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1 at 10 a.m. MDT, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days in August that have not been booked. On September 1, at 10 a.m. MDT reservations will be available for October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked. Initially, 25 percent of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through recreation.gov. These are expected to sell out quickly and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead when possible.
The initial phase allocates approximately 75 to 85 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity which works out to 17,500 visitors per day, or 6,250 vehicles over a 24 hour period. Park staff will monitor and adapt the system accordingly.
The timed entry system will provide for advanced daily reservations for private vehicles. The booking system will be for arrivals, in blocks of two hours. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park.
Bear Lake Road Corridor blocks are 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11a.m. to 1p.m., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Rest of Park blocks are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
There is no length-of-stay requirement, you may leave the park at any time. The only restriction is on when you can enter the park. You must enter within your reserved 2-hour window.
Yes. Once you’ve entered the park during your two-hour entry window, you can exit and re-enter the park as often as needed for the rest of the day.
Yes, a timed entry reservation is needed to enter the park even if you have an existing pass. Annual passes are for the payment of entrance fees, so in this case an annual pass holder will only need to pay the $2 reservation fee. All park visitors will need to participate in the reservation system.
The reservation fee is $2 per day. A day pass to Rocky Mountain National Park is $25, a weekly pass is $35. You can purchase the applicable entrance pass at the park's entrance stations. If you hold a valid Interagency Annual Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass or Senior Pass, you will just have to pay the $2 reservation fee.
You may cancel your timed entry reservation up to 24 hours prior to your visit.
No. All permits are non-transferable.
Yes. A timed entry permit is required to enter ALL areas of Rocky Mountain National Park during the times listed above —including Trail Ridge Road (US Hwy 34)—when arriving by vehicle whether a visitor parks within the park or outside the park boundary . An entrance pass is required 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes but is not exclusive to Lumpy Ridge, Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Wild Basin, East Inlet, and North Inlet. Entrance passes can be purchased at go.nps.gov/RockyFees or at park entrance stations. Please keep in mind when purchasing an entrance pass online you must also have a timed entry permit reservation when visiting the park at the times and dates mentioned above.
Yes, if you are planning to visit one of the park’s outlying areas, please print and display your timed entry permit on your dashboard. In addition, please be prepared to show a ranger your permit if asked.
Yes, you will need to make a reservation for each day of your visit.
The reservation system does allow for some limited last minute reservations. Initally, 25 percent of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. mountain daylight time through recreation.gov. These are expected to sell out quickly and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead when possible.
All timed entry reservations must be made in advance through recreation.gov, either online or through the recreation.gov mobile app. There are no same day sales at the park or through park offices. Many public libraries have free computer access available.
Visitors with campground reservations and wilderness camping permits will use those permits as their timed entry reservations. You may enter the park on the first day of your camping reservation. Entrance fees apply and can be paid at the entrance station. Visitors must have these camping permits in advance. There will be no same day sales at the park’s campgrounds. Visitors must have their camping reservation confirmation visible.
Glacier Creek Livery, inside RMNP, is open this year and will be operating on a reduced schedule. Visitors should book their horse rides at Hi Country / Glacier Creek Stables (rockymountainhorserides.com). The horse ride reservation will act as your Timed Entry Permit and will allow visitors into the park and the Bear Lake Road Corridor up to two hours prior to the scheduled horse ride. The Moraine Park Livery location will be closed for the season. There are additional liveries adjacent to the park who also provide horseback riding opportunities into the park. For a complete list: Goods & Services - Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service).
Your timed entry reservation allows you access to the park, including trails.
The park shuttle bus system is operating this year on the in-park route; Bear Lake and Moraine Park Routes. The Hiker Shuttle will not be operating this year. Masks are required on park shuttle buses. The shuttle bus schedule will be the same as previous years with start times beginning at 6:30 a.m. and can be found on the park’s website and at park shuttle stops. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, shuttles will be limited to 50 percent of the bus capacity. This may change as new guidance comes out.
No. Your timed entry reservation permit guarantees your access to the park on that day and during that time window. The reservation only applies to access to the park, it does not guarantee access to all locations within the park. Visitors who have a Bear Lake Road Corridor permit will need to remain flexible on their destination and/or use the shuttle to access their trailhead of choice. A permit does not guarantee a parking space at a specific trailhead.
What if I just want to drive through the park on Trail Ridge Road and not stop in the park to recreate or use facilities or services? (For example, Trail Ridge Road shortens my travel route to another location or destination.)You can travel on Trail Ridge Road without a permit prior to 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
A Commuter Permit is available for permanent residents of Boulder, Grand and Larimer counties whose permanent address is within 50 miles of a park entrance station. This permit is for non-stop, non-recreational travel through the park. No recreational use is permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park when using this permit. The processing time for a commuter permit is two to four weeks. Information, required criteria, and an application can be found on the park’s website at: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/commuter_ permits.htm.
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA), Special Use Permits (SUP), Concessioners and Commercial Tours do not need a timed entry reservation for their trips into the park. Their permitted use is being accounted for in the overall reservation system and constitutes less than 3 percent of park visitation.
At this time, if you are entering the park via bicycle you will not need a timed entry reservation, however you will need to pay the appropriate park entrance fees at the entrance stations.
A timed entry permit is required to enter ALL areas of Rocky Mountain National Park, during the times listed above, when arriving by vehicle whether a visitor parks within the park or outside the park boundary.
In February, to protect the health of those who live, work, and visit national parks and National Park Service (NPS) facilities, and in support of President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing the NPS implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners and contractors. At Rocky Mountain National Park, face masks are required in all park buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, parking lots, pull-offs and overlooks.
Keep Your Distance: Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail or in a parking lot. If staying at least six feet from others is not possible, a mask is required. Face masks are required in all park buildings and facilities.
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.
Last updated: May 6, 2021