There are five campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park. They are Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, Moraine Park, Longs Peak, and Timber Creek, with group camping at Glacier Basin.
Reservations for summer camping in Moraine Park and Glacier Basin are taken beginning January 1st (800-365-2267). The water is turned off in the winter at all year-round campgrounds. Drinking water is available at entrance stations and open visitor centers.
Stay limits of seven nights (three nights at Longs Peak) are in place from late May through September. The limits extend to 14 nights at the year-round campgrounds the rest of the year.
At all campgrounds two tents OR one vehicle and one camping unit (i.e., tent, RV, or trailer/tow vehicle) per site.
During July and most of August, expect the campgrounds to fill every day by early afternoon. In June and September, park campgrounds tend to fill on the weekends.
Camping stays of 14 nights are permitted only from 01 Oct - 21 May. A 3 day limit applies to Longs Peak from 22 May - 30 Sep. A 7-night limit applies to the rest of the park. During the summer, camping at Aspenglen, Longs Peaks and Timber Creek is first come first serve. Campground reservations are required from Memorial Day through Labor Day in Moraine and Glacier Basin, and for Glacier Basin Group Area. Reservations may be made as far advanced as 5 months. Write:
Click Here For Online Camping Reservations.
Wood fires are permitted only in fire grates in campgrounds and picnic areas. Wood gathering is prohibited. Firewood bundles are sold at the campgrounds.
Access roads from the east are kept open for winter mountaineering, skiing and backcountry hiking. Timber Creek campground is not plowed once the snow begins, so you will have to carry your supplies to your campsite. None of the campgrounds has water in the winter.
Group campground sites are located in Loop E at Moraine Park Campground.
|Campground||Open||Close||Sites||Elevation (ft)||Dump Station||Showers||Hook-ups||Phones||Water||Fee|
|Longs Peak||All Year||26||9,400||No||No||No||Yes||Summer||$16.00
/ $10.00 Win
|Moraine Park||All Year||247|
/ 85 Win
/ $10.00 Win
|Timber Creek||All Year||100
/ 19 Win
/ $10.00 Win
Summer backcountry campsites can be reserved starting 01 March each year. Permits are required for all overnight camping. They may be obtained at the Headquarters Backcountry Office or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Self reservation is available in some locations through out the winter months. Winter backcountry hours are 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. There is a $15.00 administration fee for permits issued from 01 May - 31 Oct. For further information write:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517
Backcountry camping is limited to seven nights between Jun and Sep and 14 more nights during the remainder of the year. Backcountry camping is allowed in designated campsites only, unless authorized by permit.
Cigarette litter impacts park roadsides, trails and parking areas. Smoldering butts can also start wildfires or be eaten by wildlife. Please completely extinguish smoking material and dispose of them in appropriate trash receptacles.
Pets are not allowed on park trails, snowplay areas, or in the backcountry. They are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roadsides. Pets must be leashed and attended at all times. Never leave pets unattended in your vehicle.
The Six Principles of Leave No Trace
1. Plan ahead and prepared
Carefully designing your trip to match your expectations and outdoor skill level is the first step in being prepared. Adequate trip planning and preparation helps to accomplish trip goals safely, while minimizing impacts on the environment and on other users.
Know the area and what to expect, including regulations and special concerns of the area.
Travel in small groups, during seasons or days of a week when use levels are low.
Bears may be present; balance safety concerns in bear country with ecological and social impact concerns.
Select appropriate equipment to help you Leave No Trace.
Repackage food into reusable containers, creating less trash to pack out.
2. Camp & Travel on durable surfaces
Whenever you travel and camp, confine your use to surfaces that are resistant to impact.
In popular areas, concentrate use. In remote areas, spread use.
Hike on existing trails to minimize disturbance to wildlife, soil and vegetation.
Choose an established campsite, one with a slight slope so rain water can drain.
Store food so that it is unavailable and uninviting to bears and small animals.
Before departing, make sure your camp is as clean or cleaner than when you arrived.
3.Pack it in, Pack it out
Trash and garbage have no place in the backcountry. Consider the words "Leave No Trace" a challenge to take out everything that you brought into the backcountry. Pack out all of your liter.
Repackage food into reusable containers and remove any excess packaging.
Dispose of trash and garbage properly.
Store food and odorous items in bear resistant food containers or hang items 10 feet above the ground.
4.Properly dispose of what you can't pack out
As visitors to the backcountry, we create certain kinds of waste which cannot be packed out. These include human waste, waste water from cooking and washing.
Dispose of human waste responsibility, utilize pit toilets or dig a cat hole at least six inches below soil surface 200 feet from the water.
Use toilet paper sparingly, pack it out in doubled plastic bags to confine odor.
Minimize soap and food residues in waste water. Consider using boiling water.
Avoid contaminating water sources when washing, maintain 100-200 feet from a water source.
5. Leave what you find
The Wilderness Act states that wilderness "... is recognized as an area... where man himself is a visitor who does not remain,...with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable..."
People come to the wildlands to enjoy them in their natural state. Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts antlers, and other objects as you find them.
Minimize site alteration when camping, do not build structures.
Avoid damaging live trees and plants.
Avoid disturbing wildlife.
Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts for others to enjoy.
It is illegal to remove any cultural objects from Rocky Mountain National Park.
Cultural artifacts are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. All these "pieces of the past" contribute to our understanding of human and natural history, including the effects of disease, climate changes, and shifting animal populations on the land and her people. Removing these artifacts takes them out of context and removes a chapter from an important story. If you discover an artifact, enjoy it where it is. Leave it as you found it.
6. Minimize use and impact from fires
The use of campfires in the backcountry, once a necessity, is now steeped in history and tradition. Stoves are now essential equipment for minimum-impact camping trips because they are fast and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection.
Use dead and down wood only.
In high use areas, build campfires in existing fire rings to concentrate impacts.
On the coast, build your fire below the high tide line.
Consider using a large wok, gold pan or other metal container to avoid making scars on the ground.
These principles and practices depend more on attitude and awareness than on rules and regulations; they must be based on a respect for and appreciation of wild places and their inhabitants.
Tips to help you in primitive camping situations
Emergency gear - Waterproof matches in airtight containers, metal matches, fire starter and �tinder' are suggested. Extra food and clothing, a signal mirror, smoke flare, durable space blankets, plastic bags, and a good first aid kit are extremely valuable if you plan on being out for several days. Cord can be used to make a shelter and hang food in trees. Most hikers carry water purification filters or chemicals. Some even carry pocket strobe lights, and a few carry personal locator beacons. Plan to be self sufficient in any emergency. The land is vast and remote, and you cannot count on early help if you have difficulties.
Equipment - Try and keep your gear lightweight yet durable. Equipment should withstand rigorous use in a rough, mountainous countryside. Help could be many hours away should something go wrong with your gear.
Food and Supplies - Bring your food, equipment and other supplies with you. Avoid food such as bacon or smoked fish, soaps, and cosmetics with strong odors as they attract bears. Bottles and cans are hard to dispose of. If you take them in, you are expected to carry them out. Without some sort of bear proof storage, you should be prepared to hang your food as high as possible. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit carrying fuel in containers such as stoves on commercial airlines. Use white gas.
Footwear - Boots should be a sturdy hiking or mountaineering type that provides good ankle support. Some hikers prefer boots with the rubber shoe and leather upper, like the Maine Hunting Shoe. You can count on your feet getting wet regardless of your boot type, so durability and support should be a prime concern. Many pair of socks are essential. Tennis shoes are good for crossing rivers.
Insects - Insect repellent and head nets are highly recommended.
Maps - Trails Illustrated topo map covers the whole park and includes the most current information on the location of trails and camps.
Green Trails maps contain more topographic information and include trail mileages.
USGS maps provide the most detailed topographic information. Although campsite and trail information are often outdated, these are the preferred maps for mountaineering and cross-country travel. Maps, books and pamphlets are sold at park headquarters and ranger and information stations.
Rain gear and clothing - Durable rain gear that covers both the upper and lower torso is a must for hikes of any length. The rain gear should keep out water in a steady down pour. Since you will eventually get wet in any significant rain storm, wool or synthetic clothing that insulates when wet is highly recommended for wear under rain gear. The weather can change quickly and without warning. Expect rain and drizzle. Hypothermia is always a possibility with wet conditions and cool temperatures.
Stove - A gasoline stove is essential. You may not cut down live trees. Set campfires with downed wood only.
Tents and sleeping bags - You should have a tent with a waterproof floor, rain-fly, and a no-see-um netting, and this tent should be designed to withstand strong winds. Bring plenty of extra stakes and strong cord to keep the tent secure. Synthetics like �Polarguard' or �Fiberfill' are better than down in a wet environment because synthetics will insulate when wet while down will not. A sleeping pad will provide insulation as well as comfort.
Be Bear Aware
Avoid surprising animals at close range. Whistle, talk, sing, or otherwise make noise when hiking in areas where visibility is limited or bear sign present. Take no pets; they are prohibited in the backcountry. A dog's valor may turn into retreat bringing an infuriated bear to you.
Be alert to sign (droppings, diggings, fresh tracks, etc.), sounds, or other indications of bears. Be particularly wary when hiking wildlife trails, salmon streams, or other areas where bears concentrate.
Food and beverages should never be left unattended. Foodstuffs with strong odors such as fish, cheese, sausage, and fresh meats should be stored in a food cache, a bear resistant container, or suspended 10 feet above ground. Carry all refuse and garbage out! Buried refuse will attract bears.
Keep packs and other personal gear on your person. It is easy to become separated from belongings left lying on the ground when a bear unexpectedly approaches. Bears will investigate, often destructively.
Do not approach bears
The minimum safe distance from any bear is 50 yards; from a sow with young it is 100 yards. These are MINIMUM distances, there are many times that greater distances are required!
Regardless of precautions taken, you may come across a bear. Usually they will run away. A bear standing on hind legs may only be trying to sense you better, not preparing to attack. Even a charge is often a bluff, ending abruptly short of physical contact.
If you see a bear at a distance, turn around or make a wide detour. Keep upwind if possible so the bear will get your scent and know you're there. Talk in an assured tone to communicate your presence. Treat animals as if cubs are nearby. Assume the bear will be defensive. Do not approach closer to scare a bear away as you may be considered a threat.
Avoid actions that interfere with bear movement or foraging activities.
Be satisfied with a distant photograph, or use a telephoto lense. Many fatalities and injuries have been related to photography.
Do not corner an animal. Allow them plenty of space and an escape route.
Mountain lions or cougars, roam throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Although they have been spotted in picnic areas and along trails and roads, your odds chances of seeing one of these secretive animals are low. The likelihood of encountering an aggressive lion is very remote. People are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion.
Nevertheless, it is wise to be prepared. Avoid hiking alone. Watch children closely. Do not let children run ahead of you on the trail. Hikers in particular are encouraged to read these tips carefully. Following them will allow both you and mountain lions to enjoy the parks safely.
The reclusive behavior of mountain lions and their tendency to live in remote areas explain why we know relatively little about these graceful cats. They once ranged from northern Canada through South American and from coast to coast. Probably no other land mammal in this hemisphere had a more extensive range. Due to hunting and habitat loss, mountain lions have been limited primarily to the West since the 1920's.
For many, the mountain lion is the quintessential symbol of wilderness: a large animal ranging freely in wild areas independent of human interference. Cougars are the largest carnivore in the north coast redwood parks. Cougars are at the top of the food chain and therefore serve as an indicator of the ecosystem's health. When in mountain lion habitat, it is critical to understand the behaviors that cats use to survive. You can then act accordingly to protect yourself and these animals in their native habitat.
Hiker Safety Tips
Don't run. Mountain lions are likely to chase things that run, since they associate running with prey.
Do not bend over or crouch down; try to appear as large as possible. Attempts to hide are likely to be unsuccessful; mountain lions see most people long before people spot them.
Hold your ground or move away slowly while facing the lion.
If you have little children with you, pick them up without bending over.
If the lion behaves aggressively, wave your hands, shout, and throw sticks or stones at it.
If attacked, face the cat and fight back.
Report any lion sightings to a ranger immediately.
Sport fishing is permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park, a protected area. Fishing activities are balanced with efforts to restore and perpetuate n atural aquatic environments and life.
Fishing was popular with early settlers in the Rocky Mountains. In an attempt to improve the sport, they stocked many streams with non-native species of trout and moved trout to lakes and streams that lacked them. The only trout native to the park were the greenback cutthroat and the Colorado River cutthroat.
The National Park Service stocked non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout as late as 1968.
These efforts to enhance recreational opportunities in National Park areas have been reconsidered. Since 1975, exotic or non-native fish have been removed and native greenback cutthroat and Colorado River cutthroat trout are being restored to park waters.
In the mountain streams and lakes of Rocky Mountain National Park, are four species of trout; German brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat. Some suckers also inhabit the streams and lakes. Only 48 of the 156 lakes in the park have reproducing populations of fish Cold water temperatures and lack of spawning habitat prevent reproduction in high altitude lakes. Supplemental stocking is done only to restore native species to altered waters. These cold waters may not produce large fish, but you will enjoy the superb mountain scenery as you fish. Fishing success at high altitudes varies, even from waters known to contain fish. Restoration efforts have kept the possession limits to a minimum, and have resulted in increased trout populations in many areas within the park.
See POSSESSION LIMIT for specific regulations. You must be able to identify each species of fish taken.
You must have a valid Colorado fishing license for all persons 16 years of age and older.
|Senior Annual (64+ and resident)||$10.25||N/A|
Method of Capture
Each person shall use only one hand-held rod or line.
Only artificial lures or flies with one (single, double, or treble) hook device with a common shank may be used.
Artificial flies or lures means devices made of metal, wood, feathers, hair, fiber, leather, cork, rubber or plastic. This does not include:
Any hand moldable material designed to attract fish by sense or smell.
A device less than 1.5 inch in length to which scents or smell attractants have been externally applied.
Molded plastic device less than 1.5 inch in length.
Traditional organic baits such as worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, minnows, fish eggs.
Manufactured baits such as imitation fish eggs, dough baits, or stink baits.
When in possession of any fishing equipment, the possession of bait for fishing, including worms, insects, fish eggs, minnows, or other organic matter is prohibited with the following exceptions: children 12 years or under may use worms or preserved fish eggs in open park waters. No bait is allowed in catch-and-release waters.
Possession Limit (general info only, see a complete list of regulations from visitor centers or ranger stations.
Max daily possession limit is 18 fish.
|Species||Possession Limit (daily)||Length (inches)|
|Brook trout||6||Any size|
|Colorado River cutthroat||2||10|
You can have up to 8 Brook trout if that is the only species possessed and an additional 10 if they are under 8 inches.
Lake Nanita (outlet closed)
Lake of Glass
Little Rock Lake
Lone Pine Lake
Poudre Lake (closed after 05 Aug)
Ten Lakes Park Lake
This is not a complete listing of all fishable waters in the park.
Bear Lake (inlet and outlet streams as posted)
Ptarmigan Creek above War Dance Falls
Columbine Creek above 9,000 feet
Hidden Valley Beaver Ponds (closed 01 Apr-31 Jul)
Hidden Valley Creek east of Beaver Ponds (closed 01 Apr - 31 Jul)
Hunters Creek above Wild Basin Ranger Station
Lake Nanita Outlet downstream 100 yds
South Fork Poudre River above Pingree Park
West Creek above West Creek Falls
|Adams Lake||Colorado River Cutthroat|
|Big Crystal Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Cony Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Fern Lake and Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Fifth Lake||Colorado River Cutthroat|
|Hidden Valley Beaver Ponds||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Hidden Valley Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lake Husted||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lake Louise||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lawn Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lily Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Loomis Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lost Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Lower Hutcheson Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Mid-Hutcheson Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|North Fork of the Big Thompson above Lost Falls||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Odessa Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Ouzel Lake and Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Paradise Creek Drainage||Colorado River Cutthroat|
|Pear Lake and Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Roaring River||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Sandbeach Lake and Creek||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Spruce Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
|Timber Lake and Creek||Colorado River Cutthroat|
|Upper Hutcheson Lake||Greenback Cutthroat|
Catch and Release Methods
If handled properly, fish have an excellent chance of survival after they are released.
Timeshare Campground Memberships - a cautionary note
Almost every timeshare company advertises campground timeshare as a convenient option for vacationers. Though consumer protection in this industry has improved, please remember to do plenty of research before purchasing a campground membership. Often it is possible to obtain resale campground memberships from Internet timeshare businesses, and other online sources. Buying from an owner typically yields a significant savings, sometimes upwards of 50% off campground or resort prices. Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics if you are staying in a tourist or resort destination. It is much easier to convince yourself to buy a timeshare than it is to sell one.
Activities & Calendar
Address & Phone
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Be Bear Aware
Brochures, Maps, Written Info
Driving Rocky's Roads
Hiker Randal W. Horobik
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Jobs, SCA, Volunteer Positions
Junior Ranger Programs
Leave No Trace
Size & Visitation
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Trail Ridge Road
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