Timed Entry Permits are required from May 26-October 22, 2023
Timed entry permits are required to enter the Park from May 26 through October 22, 2023, entrance passes continue to be required. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country and summer is its busiest season. A timed entry permit system has been implemented to provide a better visitor experience and to protect the park's resources. It truly makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
There are two different types of reservations
First, figure out what you want to do when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. There are two types of reservations: Park Access without Bear Lake Road access (9am-2pm) and Park Access+ which includes Bear Lake Road, as well as the rest of the park (5am-6pm).
You can access the following trailheads from the Bear Lake Corridor: Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, Bierstadt Lake, Sprague Lake and Hollowell Park.
You can access Trail Ridge Road, Old Fall River Road and lots of trailheads without Bear Lake Road access.
Set your calendars
Park Access and Park Access+ Timed Entry Permit Reservations will be released on www.recreation.gov beginning at 8 a.m. MDT on May 1, 2023. During this first window, reservations will be available for the dates of May 27 through June 30.
- The next release will begin on June 1, at 8 a.m. MDT, for the month of July and any remaining days that have not been booked for June.
- On July 1, reservations will be available for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July.
- On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days in August that have not been booked.
- On September 1, reservations will be available for October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked.
Additional timed entry permits will be released via Recreation.gov the night before a desired arrival date. For instance, if a visitor is planning a trip on June 3 and they did not secure a timed entry permit in advance, additional reservations will be released via Recreation.gov beginning at 5 p.m. MDT on the night of June 2.
- These timed entry permit reservations are expected to sell out quickly. Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead.
No Car? No Problem!
Bustang to Estes is a service that operates seasonally, on weekends and Monday holidays (Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 3 and Labor Day) from May 27–October 1.
Stops include Denver Union Station, US 36 and Sheridan (Westminster), Broomfield Station, US 36 and Table Mesa (Boulder), and Lyons on the way up to Estes Park. Two buses run each day.
Fares are $15 round-trip, with discounts for seniors 65+, children, persons with disabilities, and students. Tickets must be bought ahead of time on the Ride Bustang website.
Passengers can get off the bus at Estes Park Visitor Center or take the bus into Rocky Mountain National Park (no timed entry pass required, but a valid park pass, whether one day, annual pass or something else, is required).
No Timed Entry Permit? Again, No Problem!
You’ve still got options! Opt for a sunrise hike, arguably the most beautiful time to hike in the park. Or, enter the park when the time restrictions end after 2 pm or 6 pm. Another way to enter the park without a timed entry permit is to go guided. Here is a list of how to choose the right guide for you.
Luckily, there is so much more to do in Estes Park. Find stunning hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in the nearby Hermit Park as well as more camping options. The views in Hermit Park offer spectacular views of the Estes Valley and surrounding peaks.
Pro tip: Arrive at the entrance gate early
Your permit allows you a two-hour window to enter Rocky Mountain National Park, which you will have chosen when you purchased your entry permit. Be sure to arrive at the entrance gate early in the two-hour window to ensure you are able to avoid possible entrance lines that would affect your ability to enter within the allotted time.