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North & Denver Region
Rocky Mountain National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park Dream Lake © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park Moraine Campground © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park Gods own Beauty © Deb Mason
One of the many glacier lakes
Rocky Mountain National Park Bull Elk on the Tundra © Deb Mason
On top of the Rockie mountains in rockie mountain national park is a gorgeous tundra that the elk go to for feeding.The beauty there is breath taking.Photo taken by Deb M.
Rocky Mountain National Park © John Leifer
Rocky Mountain National Park © Rosemary Clark
Rocky Mountain National Park © Rosemary Clark
Rocky Mountain National Park © Rosemary Clark
Rocky Mountain National Park Beaver Meadows © Oletha Henderson
Photo was taken at the beginning trailhead at the Beaver Meadows in RMNP. July 2011
Rocky Mountain National Park Overlook on Trail Ridge Road © Roxanna Keyes
Tourists stop at an overlook point to read the informational signs, and admire the view, off Trail Ridge Road, in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park © Barbara Schultheis
Rocky Mountain National Park © Barbara Schultheis
Rocky Mountain National Park © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Ridge Road © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park Haiyaha Lake © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park © Ben Prepelka
Rocky Mountain National Park © Digital Perspectives Photography
Rocky Mountain National Park © Ben Prepelka
Rocky Mountain National Park © Digital Perspectives Photography
Rocky Mountain National Park © Rosemary Clark
Rocky Mountain National Park Continental Divide at Milner Pass © Roxanna Keyes
The Waypoint in Rocky Mountain National Park at Milner Pass, marking the Continental Divide.
Rocky Mountain National Park Mile Marker 5 © Oletha Henderson
Near Mile Marker 5 on Old Fall River Road. August 2011
Rocky Mountain National Park Brooding Mountains © Sabrina Rummell
Brooding storm above the mountains during summer in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park Mountain Meadow © Sabrina Rummell
Mountain meadow during summer in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park Blue Mountain Valley © Sabrina Rummell
Blue mountain valley during the summer in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park Wraparound Cloud © Sabrina Rummell
A cloud wraps around a mountain during summer in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park Aspenglen Campground © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park © Annick Desjardins
Rocky Mountain National Park © Barbara Schultheis
Availability Search
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado   80517-8397
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Established by Congress on January 26, 1915, the park exhibits the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and looks out over dozens of peaks that tower more than 13,000 feet high. Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park, is 14,259' in elevation. The high point on Trail Ridge Road is 12,183'. The road is closed from late fall, to the Memorial Day weekend. Because of the high elevation of the park (8,000' to over 14,000') visitors need to take time to acclimatize. People with various medical problems should check with their physician before coming to the park. Elk, mule deer, big horn sheep, moose, coyotes and a great variety of smaller animals call the 416 square miles (265,769 acres)of the National Park home. During the winter months snowshoeing and cross country skiing are very popular. Hiking is available on over 359 miles of trails. Many trails can be hiked any time of the year. June and July are the best months for seeing wild flowers. Weather conditions determine when and where flowers bloom; call 970-586-1206 for up to date information. In the fall, viewing the elk rut (mating season) is a wonderful opportunity to see and learn about these magnificent large animals. Almost 90% of the park is managed as wilderness.
Featured Areas within the Park
History of the Area
Cultural resources in Rocky Mountain National Park include historic structures (such as roads and bridges), cultural landscapes, prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, museum artifacts, and historic buildings and trails. The park also works with Native American groups to understand and protect those resources in the park that are important to native cultures.

When Congress passed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act in 1915, the legislators focused on Rocky's scenic and natural wonders. Still, what became the park held many cultural treasures including ancient trails, game drives, cattle ranches, and lodges. Early Superintendents tried to develop roads, backcountry cabins, and trails to blend with the surroundings. Rangers manipulated the landscape to look more "natural;" they suppressed fires, planted seedlings, and controlled predators. The National Park Service purchased private lands and removed buildings, roads, post offices, driveways, irrigation ditches, and fences.

After World War II, with park visitation increasing across the country, the National Park Service implemented Mission 66, a nationwide development and improvement program. Rocky, like many parks, suffered from outdated facilities. Mission 66 brought new comfort stations, overlooks, employee housing, campgrounds, and visitor centers to Rocky Mountain National Park.

During the 1960's, as cultural revolutions swept the nation, Congress passed significant environmental laws to protect the American landscape. Many of these effected the management of both natural and cultural resources in the National Parks. Every year, more cultural resources are identified and protected in Rocky Mountain National Park. Today a team of cultural and natural resource specialists work together to protect the park's resources.

Every visitor to the park encounters cultural resources: Trail Ridge Road, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Holzwarth Trout Lodge, and the Ute Trail are just a few. You are the steward of this national park, its past and its future.
 Hiking Trailyes
There are five drive-in campgrounds and one drive-in group camping area in the park. Two campgrounds, Moraine Park and Glacier Basin, take reservations, as does the group-camping area. Other park campgrounds are first-come, first-served, and fill on most summer days. None of the campgrounds have electric, water, or sewer hookups at the camping sites.

Aspenglen Campground - Open from mid-May to late September. No reservations taken. Camping fee $20 a night. To see campground photos, click here.

Glacier Basin Campground - Open from late May to mid-Sepember. Reservations recommended. Camping fee $20 a night. To see campground map, click here.

Glacier Basin Group Sites - Open from late May to mid-Sepember. Reservations recommended. Camping fee $3 per person. Tents only. Small sites fit 10 - 15 people, medium sites 16-25 people, large sites 26- 40 people. Reservations are recommended.

Longs Peak Campground - Open year round. No reservations taken. Seven night limit during the summer; fourteen night limit during winter. Tents only. Camping fee $20 a night from late-May to mid-September; $14 a night when water is off.

Moraine Park Campground - Open year round. Reservations recommended from late May to September 30. Camping fee $20 a night during this reservation period. Water is on until mid-October. Fees after water is turned off is $14 a night. To see campground photos, click here.

Timber Creek Campground - Open year round. No reservations taken. Camping fee $20 a night from mid- June to mid-September. No water after mid-September. $14 fee when water is off.

Reservations for summer camping in Moraine Park (map) and Glacier Basin (map) can be made in advanc. For further information, call 800.365.2267 On-line reservations are also available. The water is turned off in the winter at all year-round campgrounds. Drinking water is available at entrance stations and open visitor centers.

Stay limits of seven nights are in place from June 1 through September 30. The limits extend to an additional 14 nights at the year-round campgrounds the rest of the year.

At all campgrounds two tents OR one vehicle and one camping unit (i.e., tent, RV, or trailer/tow vehicle) per site.

During July and most of August, expect the campgrounds to fill every day by early afternoon. In June and September, park campgrounds tend to fill on the weekends.

Checkout time in all campgrounds is 12:00 Noon. A separate park entrance fee applies.


The online Backcountry Camping Guide contains information on how to plan a trip, obtain a backcountry permit, use the trails, set up camp, hike in a crosscountry area, and care for the backcountry. It also details the range of opportunities for camping in the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park: designated sites (individual and group), stock sites, crosscountry areas, bivouac areas (for technical climbers only) and winter areas.

It is your responsibility to know and follow all backcountry rules and regulations. Please read the Guide through in its entirety and browse other sections of the Backcountry Camping section that fit your needs (guide can be found at

Sport fishing is permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park, a protected area. Fishing activities are balanced with efforts to restore and perpetuate natural aquatic environments and life.

Fishing was popular with early settlers and visitors in the Rocky Mountains. In an attempt to improve the sport, many streams and lakes were stocked with non-native species of trout. Waters with no sport fish were also stocked. The National Park Service stocked non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout as late as 1969. The only trout native to the park are the greenback cutthroat and the Colorado River cutthroat.

These efforts to enhance recreational opportunities in National Park areas were reconsidered in the 1970's. Since 1975, native greenback cutthroat and Colorado River cutthroat trout are being restored to park waters and exotic or non-native fish are being removed.

Licenses & Fees:

A valid Colorado fishing license is required for all persons 16 years of age or older to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park. No other permit is necessary; however, special regulations exist. It is your responsibility to know and obey them.

Method of Capture:

Each person shall use only one hand-held rod or line. Only artificial lures or flies with one (single, double, or treble) hook with a common shank may be used. "Artificial flies or lures" means devices made entirely of, or a combination of materials such as wood, plastic, glass, hair, metal, feathers, or fiber, designed to attract fish. This does not include: (a) any hand moldable material designed to attract fish by the sense of taste or smell; (b) those devices less than one and one-half inch in length to which scents or smell attractants have been externally applied; (c) molded plastic devices less than one and one-half inch in length; (d) foods; (e) traditional organic baits such as worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, minnows, and fish eggs; and (f) manufactured baits such as imitation fish eggs, dough baits, or stink baits.

When in possession of any fishing equipment, the possession of bait for fishing, including worms, insects, fish eggs, minnows, or other organic matter is prohibited with the following exception: children 12 years of age or under may use worms or preserved fish eggs in open park waters. No bait is allowed in catch-and-release waters.

Rocky Mountain National Park is

Rock Climbing and Rappelling

Climbing has been a popular activity in and around the area known today as Rocky Mountain National Park since the 1800's. The wide variety of peaks and granite rock formations in the Park provide excellent opportunities for a wide spectrum of climbing including rock, big wall, snow and ice, bouldering and mountaineering. It is a mecca for local climbers, as well as those from around the world. Opportunities for climbing exist in many areas of the park including Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak. Whichever activity you select, it is your responsibility to respect the areas you visit, minimize your impacts, and know and obey all park regulations.

Climbing opportunities range from bouldering for a few hours to multi-day big wall experiences. Day use in the park requires no special registration or permit. For those climbers planning multi-day climbs, 3.5 or more miles from a trailhead, consisting of 4 or more technical pitches, a bivouac permit is required. Contact the Backcountry Office for information on permit procedures, backcountry conditions, and climbing regulations.

Practice Minimum Impact Climbing and Mountaineering:

1) Natural resources? Chipping and drilling holds destroys the rock face. Avoid changing the rock to make the route easier. Accept nature on its terms.

2) Anchors? Use removable protection and natural anchors whenever practical. Bolts and pitons permanently change the rock and placing them is a serious endeavor. Motorized drills are prohibited.

3) Other users? Be courteous to other park users. Help educate non-climbers about your activity to reduce social impacts. Inform other climbers of Leave No Trace techniques.

4) Human waste? Privies are not provided. Carry out all toilet paper and human waste or dig a 6-8 inch cathole at least 200 feet from water.

5) Water? Purify any water by filtering, boiling, or chemical treatment even if it looks pristine. Wash water should be discarded at least 200 feet from any water source.

6) Trash? All trash and garbage must be packed out. Leave the area cleaner than you found it.

7) Fires? Fires are prohibited. Only stoves are allowed.

8) Trails? There are approximately 350 miles of maintained trails, but most bivouac sites will require crosscountry travel. Know and use minimum impact hiking and camping techniques.


A bivouac is a temporary, open-air encampment established between dusk and dawn and is issued only to technical climbers. The permit also provides technical climbers with an advanced position on long, one-day climbs and/or climbs that require an overnight stay on the rock face. All bivouacs require permits. Permits must be in your possession while in the backcountry.

You must be within a designated bivouac area. Your bivouac should on a durable surface such as rock or snow as close to the base of the climb as possible or on the face. Reservations may be made for the restricted areas on or after March 1st, by mail, in person, and by phone (through May 15th).

A total of 7 nights may be used in the SUMMER. Stay no more than 3 nights at any spot, then move. An additional 14 nights are allowed in WINTER. In Winter, you may use a tent.

A vehicle/parking permit will be issued for all vehicles parked at the trailhead. Have the vehicle license number(s) available when you get your bivouac permit. The parking permit must be displayed on the vehicle dashboard.

Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of hiking trails. These range from flat lakeside strolls to quite steep peak climbs. If you are new to the park, rangers at the visitor centers and backcountry office can provide advice on trails that are appropriate for different fitness and experience levels.

As you plan your hike, keep in mind that park elevations range from 7,500 to over 12,000 feet. Even very fit individuals coming from lower elevations may experience altitude problems. Symptoms include headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia, and rapid heartbeat. After a few days your body will have made some physiological adjustments to higher elevations, but full acclimation may take a weeks. To minimize symptoms drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol, don't skip meals, and get plenty of rest.

Although you may not feel thirsty, the "thinner" air at high elevations actually results in increased water evaporation from your lungs. Again, drinking extra water may prevent a bad headache or other altitude symptoms.

Ultraviolet light is stronger in the mountains because there is less atmosphere for the sunlight to pass through. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sun glasses, and consider covering up with a long sleeved shirt if you are out in the sun for extended periods.

If you have never hiked before or are traveling with children, check out the recommended accessible trails. Ranger-led walks are free and can increase your confidence while you learn more about the park. Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to discover how traveling by foot brings you closer to nature.


Bicycles are only allowed on park roads. Unfortunately, park roads have narrow or no shoulders, and often carry heavy traffic. To minimize conflicts with vehicles, plan your ride for the early morning hours. Try to be off the road in late afternoon when thunderstorms and lightening create serious hazards.

Old Fall River Road and Beaver Meadows Road, both gravel surfaces, are open to bicycles early in the summer season, before they open to vehicles. Check with the park's Information Office regarding specific dates.
Nature Programs
National parks have been called "America's greatest university without walls." Education has always been a goal of the National Park Service. Rocky Mountain National Park has a strong tradition of campfire talks, guided walks, and informal talks beginning in the 1920's and continuing to the present day. In addition, teachers and other educational leaders can make use of curriculum materials available through the Heart of the Rockies Education Program. Adult learners and families can develop an in-depth understanding of the park through reasonably priced classes offered by the Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. Finally, lyceum presentations, offered on Saturday nights at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center throughout the winter, feature a range of interesting speakers.

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Area Campgrounds
Elk Creek Campground/Grand Lake KOA
143 County Road 48
Grand Lake, CO
Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Resort
1665 Colorado Highway 66
Estes Park, CO
Spruce Lake RV Park
1050 Mary's Lake Road
Estes Park, CO
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park of Estes
5495 US Highway 36
Estes Park, CO
Aspen Leaf Indian Spirit Lodge
10765 Hwy 34
Grand Lake, CO
Winding River Resort Village
1447 County Road 491
Grand Lake, CO
Nearby Hotels

Plane - Denver International Airport

Car - Via U.S. routes 34, 36 from the east through Estes Park, Colorado and from from I-70 and U.S. Rt. 40. to U.S. Rt.34 through Granby and Grand Lake,

Bus - None

Public Transportation - Amtrak at Granby, then via a private shuttle service to the park.

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