January 23, 2022

Reservation system means you’ll need to plan ahead to visit RMNP

The timed entry reservation system will be in place between May 27 and Oct. 10, according to the park service.

ESTES PARK, Colo. — Beginning in late May, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) will implement a pilot temporary timed entry permit reservation system, the park service said Wednesday.

The reservation system, which is similar to the one used in 2021, will begin May 27, 2022.

Two types of reservations will be available. One permit will be for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which includes the entire corridor, as well as access to the rest of the park. The reservation period will be from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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The second permit will be for the rest of RMNP, excluding the Bear Lake Road corridor. This reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability. The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through www.recreation.gov at 10 a.m. local time on Saturday, May 2.

At that time, reservations will be available to enter the park from May 27 through June 30. On June 1, reservations will open for the month of July and any remaining days that have not been booked in June. On the first of each thereafter, reservations will be available for the month ahead.

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Initially, 30% of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through recreation.gov. These are expected to sell out quickly and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead when possible.

The 2022 pilot reservation system allows for a greater number of reservations per day, with reservations based on approximately 90% of the park’s total parking capacity. Last year’s system was based on approximately 75 to 85% percent of the park’s total parking capacity. The system spreads use throughout the park and throughout the day to better utilize all parking/trailhead areas.

Click here to access FAQs about the timed entry permits.

RMNP is one of the busiest national parks. It ranked third in the country in 2019 with over 4.6 million visitors. This represents a 42% increase in visitation in seven years.

Visitor crowding and congestion at the park have led to increased negative impacts to visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience and operational capacity.

There are several different reservation systems that are being implemented across the National Park Service. Other national parks that have announced various types of reservation requirements this year include Arches National Park, Glacier National Park, Acadia National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Shenandoah National Park, Haleakala National Park and Zion National Park.

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