Skip The Lines at a National Park by Purchasing a Window Transponder for the Fast Lane

After a few year break, Rocky Mountain National Park says they’re bringing back their fast lane. The entry will allow drivers to skip the lines and use an automated gate transponder to enter the popular park. The transponders work with certain passes, and the goal is to create an easier way to enter the park rather than wait in line for an entry booth.

According to a press release, Rocky Mountain has a transponder system at the Beaver Meadows Entrance. That entrance is the central corridor from Estes Park to Bear Lake Road. The park is also working on a second transponder system at the Fall River Entrance. 

The transponder is a credit card-sized device on your windshield. Think of it like an E-ZPass or similar device used for tolls on a highway. The transponder costs $15 and is available to those with an annual pass or lifetime pass holders. After that, it’s a $5 annual renewal fee.

However, it’s important to note that the transponder lane will be closed when the park is at its peak visitation. Rocky Mountain is again using its timed entry system from May 24 to October 15 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Drivers will still need to use the regular lanes to show they’ve made a reservation. In their press release, Rocky Mountain does say the year-round device still has plenty of advantages, like dodging crowds on popular winter weekends.

Anyone who’s visited a popular park has waited in line to enter. While park employees do their best to keep the line moving, entry fee transactions and questions from visitors can quickly slow down drivers.

National parks continue to create new ways to handle crowds, but this effort has existed for a while. Rocky Mountain National Park initially created a fast lane at the popular Beaver Meadows Entrance in 2004. However, changes to the annual and lifetime passes in 2019 ran into a compatibility issue. The new transponders correct this problem. Rocky Mountain National Park is unique in being one of the only parks with the system.
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