Rocky Mountain National Park

This amazing park sits just outside of Denver, CO and it provides visitors and residents with a picturesque landscape to enjoy at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. The park is open for recreation year-round and is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the state. There are a total of 5 visitor centers here and one of the most popular things to do is simply travel through the park on Trail Ridge Road during the summer months.

Seasonal Info

The park is open year-round but road access will change during the winter months.

Timed entry reservations are required from May 26th through October 22nd.

Trail Ridge Road will close for the winter season.

External Park Links

Pet Policy

No dogs allowed on the trails. Dogs are allowed in picnic areas and campgrounds.

Photo Gallery

What To Do

What can you do in Rocky Mountain National Park? Here are some of the most popular activities.

Park Wildlife Brief

Some of the coolest animals that you will find here include bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bears, elk, coyotes, and the list goes on and on. The best time to see elk in the park is from mid-September to mid-October during their rutting season.

elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

Dangerous Wildlife – You may encounter dangerous wildlife while in the park. Rattlesnakes can be found at some of the lower elevations, and there are black bears throughout the Rockies. There are mountain lions in the park, but you are much more likely to see a bear. A moose can also ruin your day, so you should educate yourself on how to deal with some of the park’s wildlife if you are planning on hiking here.

Rocky Mountain National Park Tours & Outfitters

Colorado Sightseer

Half-day and full-day tours of the Front Range, including Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park FAQ

The park is open 365 days/yr and 24 hrs/day. Some buildings, facilities will close seasonally and daily, and Trail Ridge Road will close according to conditions.

Time entry reservations are now required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park between May 26th and October 22nd, 2023. Entering before or after these dates does not require a reservation, but does still require a park pass or entry fee.

The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is between June and September. The weather is at its best during those months. If you’re looking to visit when it is less crowded, try visiting in late May or early October when the weather is cooler and peak season is over.

Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States and spans from the east to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road is not difficult to drive, but features high elevations, low grades, and few guardrails. 4WD is not necessary to drive the road.

There are visitor centers located at each entrance to the park. There is an additional visitor center on Trail Ridge Road. The Alpine Visitor Center is the highest elevation visitor center in the park.

There are four entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park. The two main entrances to the park: Fall River and Beaver Meadow, are located near Estes Park. There are two additional entrances, one south of Estes Park and one near Grand Lake.

The famous Four Lake Loop is located on the Bear Lake Corridor. This area of the park requires a separate timed entry reservation. To visit Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake, simply purchase a park pass and make reservations ahead of time.

trail sign at Rocky Mountain National Park for Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha

Tips for Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the Fall River Entrance for Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is accessible from anywhere in the park, but for direct access, the Fall River entrance is encouraged. Remain on Highway 34 the entire scenic drive.

Take advantage of the 5 free entry days. To avoid an entrance fee to the park, try visiting on one of the free entry days. In 2023, January 16th, April 22nd, August 4th, September 23rd, and November 11th are free entry days for Rocky Mountain National Park!

Arrive early at the Four Lake Loops trailhead. Although limited reservations are available, the parking at the trailhead for the Four Lake Loop hike is even more limited. Plan to arrive before 6 am to find parking or you’ll have to ride the shuttle bus. You can enter the park before 5 am with no reservation. 

Camp along the Bear Lake Corridor. For the best campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park, purchase reservations for Bear Lake and pick one of the many campgrounds along the corridor for your stay.

Travel to the Beaver Meadow Entrance to fish for trout in Rocky Mountain National Park. From this entrance, you can access Sprague Lake and Loch Lake where you’ll find lakes filled with trout to fish.

Explore the less crowded west side. Enter the park through the Grand Lake entrance to explore the less crowded west side of the park. Check out Adams Falls, LuLu City, and Big Meadows Trail.