Wilderness Camping

At left, a tent and campsite in rocks with a peak behind. On right, a field of windblown snow below the summit of Longs Peak.
Longs Peak from the Boulderfield in late summer (left) and early summer (right).

NPS Photos

 

Hours

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
Through May 22: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Starting May 23: 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm. 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.

Important links:

Wilderness Camping Guide

Wilderness Campsite Map

Wilderness Campsite Designated Site Details
Most Recent Wilderness Campsite Availability List
Wilderness Campsite Reservation Request Application


In late March, requests for overnight backpacking camping permits in Rocky Mountain National Park, for July through October 2021, took place through a random drawing. That drawing has been completed. If you submitted your name and did not hear from the park, your name was not drawn.

There is a limited supply of backpacking wilderness camping permits remaining. See the Wilderness Campsite Reservation Request Application link above to submit your reservation request(s) for May through October, 2021.

Remember, this is a reservation REQUEST. To avoid disappointment, check the Most Recent Campsite Availability List and do not request any sites that are already full. Backpacking Campers may stay in the wilderness for a maximum of 7 nights total, June through September.

Tips:

Don’t ask for a site that is full hoping that it will somehow be open. This will only complicate your reservation request requiring a phone call, and the time loss may prevent you from getting your desired trip.

Keep your phone close by, the Wilderness Office may call you to work out complications.

Thank you again for your continued patience and understanding.

 
 
East side backcountry office
East side Wilderness Office

NPS

Wilderness Offices

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).

On the east side of the park, the Wilderness Office is adjacent to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

On the west side of the park, the Wilderness Office is located inside the Kawuneeche Visitor Center.

 
wood bridge over a stream and vegetation
Check with the Wilderness Office for current wilderness conditions.

NPS

Current Notices

  • 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.
  • We recommend that you visit the following topics:



 
mountain sunrise
Alpine sunrise

NPS

 
Find a listing of all designated wilderness sites in Rocky here.
Cross-country Zones allow you to connect to far off places in the park.
Technical climbers can obtain permits to set up temporary camps near climbing routes.
Horses are welcome at a selection of wilderness sites around the park.
A helpful list to make sure
your backpack has everything
you need.
The wilderness can be just
as adventurous in winter, just
a little bit colder.

 
bear canister at a backcountry site
A bear canister

NPS

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.

Last updated: May 8, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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