The best things in life are free, and you can actually visit Rocky Mountain National Park for free, well, on selected days anyway. The fee free days for 2012 are as follows, and although the dates will change this offers a good indication on the fee free days available at the Rocky Mountain National Park for the years to come.
- January 14 – 16 for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
- April 21 – 29 is National Park Week, so they’re offering free entrance at Rocky Mountain National Park
- June 9 is “Get Outdoors Day” – which I think is a great idea, so what are you doin’ inside . . . get outdoors!
- September 29 is Public Lands Day – and guess what, entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is free then too
- November 10 – 12 is Veterans Day weekend, so that’s a fee free weekend too at Rocky Mountain National Park
NB – you might be able to get into Rocky Mountain National Park for free on these dates, but camping, reservations and other stuff will still be payable.
Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees
If you want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park on a different day (when it ain’t so busy) then don’t worry, it won’t cost the earth.
- The price to enter Rocky Mountain National Park is $20 per private vehicle, which includes the passengers. This is valid for seven consecutive days, starting from and including the day you bought the ticket (from any of the Rocky National Park entrance stations).
- If you want to enter Rocky Mountain National Park on foot, by bicycle, motorcycle or moped then it’ll cost $10 per person, which won’t exceed $20 per vehicle (in case you have a bicycle made for three). Again, these are valid from seven consecutive days from the day of purchase.
- If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park more frequently, then an annual pass will only cost $40 . . . only $40 for unlimited entry for a whole year, brilliant.
- Commercial tours of the Rocky Mountain National Park have their own set of fees. It costs $25 for up to 6 people, $75 for 7 – 15 people, $100 for 16 – 25 people and $200 for 26 people or more.
Rocky Mountain National Park Campground Fees & Reservations
Camping in the Rocky Mountain National Park is awesome, and there are a choice of five campgrounds available for car camping including one group campground. Three of these campgrounds do accept reservations during the summer months, the others are on a first come, first served basis.
- Aspenglen Campground – is open in the summertime, between end of May and end of September (check exact dates before you go). This campground is located at 8,200 feet on US Highway 34, a little west of the Fall River Entrance Station. There are 54 sites which’ll each cost you $20 per night . . . . reservations are not just accepted, they come highly recommended. You’re allowed to stay at Aspenglen Campground in the Rocky Mountain National Park for a maximum of 7 consecutive nights, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy the splendor of the Rocky Mountains.
- Glacier Basin Campground – is closed for the summer of 2012, because of reconstruction work on Bear Lake Road, so if you wanna’ camp at Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer of 2012, make a reservation at one of the other campgrounds – that includes the group campground at Glacier Basin.
I suppose that Glacier Basin campground is still open to the elks . . . they’ll be able to rut in private!
- Longs Peak Campground – is located at 9,500 feet, around 9 miles south of Estes Park town on Route 7. There are 26 sites available at Longs Peak Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park, which cannot be reserved, so it’s first come first served. Longs Peak Campground is open for tents only, so no RV’s thanks! This campsite is open during the summer months only, and it’ll cost you $20 when the water is turned on (usually end of May until mid September) and $14 per night when the water is turned off.
Oops, don’t forget to bear proof the camp at Longs Peak Campground.
- Moraine Park Campground – is at an elevation of 8,160 feet, two and a half miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, located in a beautiful ponderosa pine forest high above the meadows of Moraine Park on Bear Lake Road. There are 245 sites available at Moraine Park Campground, you can reserve a site from the end of May until beginning of October, although the campground is open year round – it’s first come, first served for the rest of the time. You’ll have to pay $20 per night when there’s water, and $14 per night when there isn’t. This is a great location for some fantastic hiking trails which inter-connect with many other trails around the gloroius Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Moraine Park Campground Group Sites – are open in the winter time only, at a charge of $3 per person, per night, tents only, first come, first served. Small sites can accommodate 10 – 15 people, medium ones have enough room for around q6 – 25 people, and large sites can take up to 40 people. There’s no limit to the number of tents on each site, but a maximum of five vehicles per site are permitted.
- Timber Creek Campground – is located at 8,900 feet in the Kawuneeche Valley along the Colorado River, maybe 10 miles north of Grand Lake on Highway 34. There are 98 sites available at this Rocky Mountain National Park campground. It’s open all year on a first come, first served basis, at a cost of $20 per night when the water is on, and . . . you’ve guessed it . . . $14 per night when the water is off.
Rocky Mountain National Park Campgrounds
All of the campgrounds in the Rocky Mountain National Park have a 7 night stay limit from the beginning of June through to the end of September, 14 night stay limit for the remainder of the year. A maximum of eight people are permitted per site, with a maximum of two tents OR one tent and one vehicle. Any extra vehicles should be parked in the overflow areas provided at the campground. Check out time is 12 noon.
You can buy firewood at the campgrounds during the summer – which, incidentally is preferable to taking your own, bringing in your own firewood from out of state can contain harmful insects which can spread around the Rocky Mountain National Park and damage the forests. A large number of dead trees have already had to be removed due to an outbreak of native pine beetles.
Back Country Camping at Rocky Mountain National Park
Camping at the Rocky Mountain National Park is fantastic, but if you really want to get away from it all then you might fancy a little back country camping, instead of the more popular car camping sites. Rocky Mountain National Park has different types of back country camping sites. Some are for hikers only, some are stock sites.
- Designated sites
- Cross country areas
- Stock sites
- Bivouac areas
- Winter areas
You must have a back country / wilderness permit if you want to try a spot of back country camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, but remember that the number of these permits is limited in order to minimize the impact on the national park and it’s resources, so it’s always a good idea to reserve a permit before you arrive at the Rocky Mountain National Park. Permits are charged at $20, and when you apply for your permit you must include the following information;
- Name, address, zip code, telephone number
- Itinerary with dates and campsites or areas where you intend to stay
- Number of people who will be in the party, there’s a maximum of 7 people permitted in individual campsites and 12 for the group campsites