To enter Rocky Mountain National Park between May 28 and October 11 two things are required: a timed entry permit PLUS a park pass or entrance fee. Use these tips to plan your trip into Rocky Mountain National Park.
Accessing Estes Park proves easy, no matter the season. Estes Park is close to neighboring Front Range communities and Denver. From cities east of the Rockies-Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and Denver, there are no mountain passes to cross, and the state and U.S. highways serving the area are well-maintained. Boasting long views of 8,500- to 14,000-foot-high snowcapped peaks, canyon rivers, foraging wildlife and rolling meadows, the drives also are as beautiful as they are convenient.
Equally picturesque, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. Highway 34) provides entry to Estes Park (elevation 7,522) from the west, notably from Granby and Grand Lake. The road usually opens Memorial Day weekend; snow forces its closure by early to mid-October. For mileages and approximate travel times from Colorado cities and other U.S locations, see the chart below.
*Note distances & times may vary due to road construction, weather, etc.
Let someone else do the driving by riding the Bustang bus to Estes Park from Denver's Union Station. The service runs twice each weekend from July 3 through October 3, 2021 and drops riders off at the Estes Park Visitor Center. Once in Estes Park, visitors can catch the free trolley to access a variety of locations in town, or, with a valid RMNP pass, catch a free bus to the Bear Lake Park & Ride. Bustang passengers do NOT need to purchase a timed entry permit. Roundtrip tickets are $10 per person. Find more information and reserve your ticket here.
Note: It's often possible to get a ride to Estes Park via a rideshare app like Lyft or Uber then get stranded as rides are tough, if not impossible, to get back home. Using rideshare apps to get to Estes Park is not recommended if you plan to use them for your return trip as well.
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