Wilderness Office near
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week
Wilderness Office at
Kawuneeche Visitor Center
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week
There are a wide range of wilderness camping experiences available in Rocky. Those new to wilderness travel have ample opportunity to break their boots in slowly, while those with many miles under their belt can find new areas that test their mettle.
You may make Wilderness Campsite Reservation Requests online or in person beginning March 1st, 2020, at 8 a.m. Mountain Standard Time for a permit for the current calendar year. Phone, mail, email and fax reservations are not accepted.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK FOR YOUR SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF THE PARK RESOURCES…
BE PREPARED WITH APPROPRIATE GEAR, SEASONAL MOUNTAINEERING EXPERIENCE AND EQUIPMENT * Sleeping bag/tent with appropriate seasonal rating. * Snow sealed or plastic boots. * Stormgear, gaiters, cap, gloves, etc. * Sunglasses (check UV/IR), sunscreen (check SPF). * Topo map/compass. * Supplies to purify all water. * Camp stove (campfires are PROHIBITED unless written on permit). * The "Ten Essentials." * Clothing appropriate for the season, weather, and your trip. * Micro spikes, crampons, snowshoes, or skis may be required. * Signed Wilderness Use Permit (please verify correct camp areas and dates on front of permit before leaving the Wilderness Office). * Dash tag required for each vehicle at the trailhead. * Carry in/out bear-resistant food storage canister required Apr - Oct.
CHECK UPCOMING WEATHER BEFORE DEPARTURE Remember, conditions change momentarily! BE PREPARED FOR MOUNTAIN HAZARDS; KNOW AND TAKE PRECAUTIONS * Summer: expect extreme weather, high water, wind gusts & lightning. * Winter: expect extreme winter conditions, wind gusts & avalanches. * Altitude sickness (know symptoms and treatment). * Dehydration (drink plenty of liquid). * Lightning hazard (common daily). * Camp safely away from standing dead trees. * Streams, lakes, and waterfalls can be deceptively dangerous. Keep your distance * Be prepared for unexpected wind gusts on exposed areas and ledges. * Frostbite and Hypothermia (stay warm and dry). * Avalanche hazard (study, prepare and train in advance). * It is required to use food storage lockers at trailhead where available. * Wildlife can be dangerous (stay together and avoid confrontations). * Inform someone at home of your trip itinerary and when you will return. * Additional information available from Park Rangers.
GENERAL REGULATIONS * There is a $30 administrative fee for each permit issued from May through October. The fee is non-refundable, non-exchangeable, and does not include the Park entrance fee. * Checkout time from campsites is noon. * From June through September, campers may stay in the wilderness for a maximum of 7 nights with no more than 3 consecutive nights in one camp area. * From October through May, campers may stay in the wilderness for a maximum of 14 nights with no more than a total of 21 nights per year. * Quiet hours 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. * Sleeping in vehicles is not permitted at trailheads.
A Wilderness Use Permit is required for all overnight wilderness use and must be displayed on the outside of your pack while hiking to your campsite and on your tent at the campsite.
A Dash Tag is required for overnight parking and must be displayed on the dashboard of your vehicle.
A Bear Canister is required for all wilderness camping April 1 – October 31. All food items and garbage must be secured inside a commercially manufactured carry-in/out bear-resistant food storage canister. Other methods of food storage are not permitted in the wilderness. Food items include food, drinks, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and cosmetics. Place the locked canister at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) from your campsite when you are not actively attending, consuming or preparing your food items.
* This permit is valid only for the dates and camp areas listed. * Camp safely away from standing dead trees as near as is safely possible to the silver metal arrowhead that marks the site. * Use pit toilets where provided; otherwise dig a 6" deep "cat-hole" at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) from water, trails, and campsites.
In order to protect park resources and minimize impacts, the following are PROHIBITED everywhere in the wilderness: * Pets and vehicles (including bicycles). * Campfires are PROHIBITED (unless wood fire site is specified on permit). * Hunting, recreational use of firearms, feeding or approaching wildlife. * Removing or disturbing natural features. * Trenching around tents and camps. * Shortcutting between trail switchbacks. * Littering, leaving trash or human waste bags in sites or pit toilets. * Washing dishes or bathing within 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) of water.
In addition to the above General Regulations, Special Regulations apply to designated sites, cross-country zones, stock, bivouac, winter wilderness camping, and fishing. Familiarize yourself with these. Possession of firearms must comply with Federal & State laws. ____________________________________________________________
You assume complete responsibility for your own safety and that of your group while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
SPECIAL REGULATIONS Designated Sites Regulations * Camp safely away from standing dead trees as near as is safely possible to the silver metal arrowhead that marks the site. * Campfires PROHIBITED unless permit states wood fire site and site has official visible metal fire ring (use dead and down wood only). Use portable stoves only. * Party size is limited to 7 at individual sites and 12 at group sites. * Due to excessive impact, groups over 7 persons must use group sites or split up and camp at least one mile apart. * If the designated site has more than 4" of snow, follow the "Winter Regulations" below. Technical Cross-Country Zone Regulations: * Camp safely away from standing dead trees. * Camp must be established: - within the designated cross-country zone. - at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) from water. - out of sight and sound of trails and other campers. - below treeline and out of meadows. - no more than 2 nights in 1 cross-country zone. - and moved at least 1 mile each night. * Party size is limited to 7 people. Stock prohibited. * Fires prohibited. Use portable stoves only. Stock Regulations (horse or llamas): * Camp safely away from standing dead trees as near as is safely possible to the silver metal arrowhead that marks the site. * Camp must be established in "stock camps" only. * Party size is limited to 6 people and 8 stock at individual stock sites. * Party size is limited to 12 people and 16 stock at group stock sites. * Use stoves only. Fires prohibited, unless staying in a wood fire sites with an official visible metal fire ring (using dead & down wood only). * Grazing is prohibited. Carry complete feed (certified weed free). * Loose herding is prohibited. Tie stock to hitchracks. * Ask for the Stock Use brochure for more information. Technical Climbing Bivouac Regulations: * A bivouac is defined as a temporary, open-air encampment. * Permits are issued only to technical climbers. * The climb must be 4 or more roped technical pitches and 3½ or more miles from the trailhead. * Party size is limited to 4 people and all members must be climbing. * A bivouac must be established: - within the designated bivy zone, or at the base or the face of the climb. - at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) from water. - with camp set up at dusk and taken down before dawn. - without the use of erected type shelters, tents, or supported tarps. - on rock or snow only, not on vegetation, and out of meadows. * Fires prohibited. Use portable stoves only. Secure food. * Stock prohibited. Winter Zone Regulations: * Camp safely away from standing dead trees. * If the designated site has more than 4" of snow, camp at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) away from the site. Do not camp in the site. * Party size is limited to 12 people. * Camps must be established: - within the designated winter zone, at least 1 mile from the trailhead. - at least 70 adult steps (200 feet/60 meters) away from water. - on snow or rock only -- never on vegetation or in meadows. - out of sight and sound of trails and other campers. * Fires prohibited. Use portable stoves only. Leave No Trace
Plan Ahead and Prepare
* Visit the wilderness in small groups. * Choose equipment and clothing in subdued colors.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces On the Trail…
* Stay on designated trails. Walk single file on the middle of the path. * When traveling cross-country, choose the most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow. * Step to the downhill side of the trail and talk softly when encountering pack stock.
At Camp… * Choose an established, legal site that will not be damaged by your stay. * Restrict activities to the area where vegetation is compacted or absent.
Dispose of Waste Properly
* Pack out everything that you bring with you into the wild country. * Pick up all spilled foods. * For washing, use small amounts of biodegradable soap and scatter strained dish water. * Deposit human waste in "catholes" dug 6-8" deep at least 70 steps (200') from water, camp, or trails. * Use toilet paper or wipes sparingly. Pack them out. * Inspect your campsite for trash and evidence of your stay. Pack out all trash; yours and others.
Leave What You Find
* Treat our natural heritage with respect. Leave plants, rocks, antlers, and historical artifacts as you find them. * Good campsites are found not made. Altering sites shouldn't be necessary. * Let nature's sounds prevail. Keep loud voices and noises to a minimum. * Do not build structures or furniture.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
* Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the wilderness. Always carry a lightweight stove for cooking. Enjoy a candle lantern instead of a fire. * Where fires are permitted, use existing official visible metal fire rings. * Gather sticks no larger than an adult wrist. * Put out campfires completely.
* View from a distance - don't disturb by shouting to get better photos. * Avoid water sources at dawn and dusk.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
* Select a campsite that is out of sight and sound of other visitors. * Do not engage in littering, tree damage, or graffiti. * Leave cell phones off. Use only in case of an emergency.
Reservations Wilderness campsite reservations may be made in person or online.
For reservations in person, please visit the Wilderness Office at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Hwy 36 just west of Estes Park or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on Hwy 34 just north of Grand Lake.
For reservations online, please use the "Wilderness Campsite Reservation Request Application" link on the Wilderness Camping Page. This link is available for use from March 1 at 8:00 am Mountain Time through October 28 of each year.
Arriving late? In order to free up unused campsites, permits not picked up prior to noon on the first day of your trip will be automatically cancelled and reissued to other campers. You may call prior to noon on the first day of your trip to indicate a late arrival, in which case your permit will be held for you.
Contact us Call the Wilderness Office at 970-586-1242 or visit the website for more information https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm
Overnight travel in the wilderness requires a permit. Permits and information are available at two Wilderness Offices within Rocky Mountain National Park. Please contact the Wilderness Office for updated information on the status of Wilderness campsites (970-586-1242).
There will be temporary closures in some wilderness campsites. Please contact the Wilderness Office for updated information on the status of wilderness sites.
Park staff are removing some dead trees that have been killed by an outbreak of native pine beetles. The removal reduces risk associated with falling trees. Always be aware of your surroundings, particularly during times of high winds.
The wilderness can be just
as adventurous in winter, just
a little bit colder.
Wilderness Food Storage
Between April 1 and October 31, all food items and garbage must be secured inside a hard sided commercially-made carry in/carry out bear-resistant food storage container.
This is required for park wilderness areas below tree line and in the Boulder Field of Longs Peak, due to recurring wildlife incidents. Other methods of food storage are not permitted in the wilderness during this period.