Rocky Mountain National Park Sticking With Timed-Entry Reservations


You’ll need a reservation to drive to the Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park/Kurt Repanshek file

The use of timed-entry reservations to enter Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado during the busiest months of the year has been made permanent by park officials.

Under the plan, two reservation systems will be used from late-May through mid-October. One will focus specifically on the popular Bear Lake Road Corridor, and the other will apply to the rest of the park. This is similar to what the park has piloted the last three summers and is the current operational plan for this summer. The reservation systems have been successful at spreading visitor use out throughout the day and throughout the park, according to park officials.

If you plan to drive the Bear Lake Road to visit places such as Alberta Falls (top photo), you’ll need a reservation to head up the road between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. For the rest of the park, reservations are required between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

The ability to be flexible and adapt the timed entry reservation systems to changing use patterns is a key element of the Day Use Visitor Access Plan, a park release said. Park staff will continue to learn from this year’s pilot and adapt accordingly when considering future purchase lead times and reservation windows from year to year.

Approval of the Day Use Visitor Access Plan is the culmination of extensive planning, public engagement, and managed access pilots that began in 2016. The Day Use Visitor Access Plan, Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact, and other reference documents are available at this website.

Rocky Mountain isn’t the only park that requires reservations to enter during peak hours this summer. Others include Arches, Glacier, Mount Rainier, and Yosemite.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s timed entry permits will be released on a first-come, first-served basis on Recreation.gov based on the following schedule:


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