ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Rocky Mountain National Park reopened Wednesday — under guidance from local, state and federal health officials — and is now looking ahead to its second phase of reopening, which involves a timed entry system.
The park will open to about 60% of its maximum parking capacity, or 4,800 vehicles, per day. This adds up to roughly 13,500 visitors daily, the park said.
Phase 2 goes into effect on June 4 with a timed entry system. The park said it will temporarily implement this system and will stop using it in later phases of the reopening. The purpose of this system is to increase park access while also giving visitors the opportunity to comply with health guidelines related to COVID-19.
Visitors will need a timed entry permit or camping reservation to enter the park between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Reservations for June 4 through July 31 will be available beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday. Visit the RMNP Timed Entry page on Recreation.gov to make a reservation to enter the park.
The next release is slotted for July 1, and will include reservations for August and any dates not already claimed in July. On Aug. 1, reservations will become available for September and any leftover days from August. Reservations will open Sept. 1 for October and any previously unclaimed days in September.
These permits will allow visitors to enter the park within a two-hour window of availability between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
This process, which requires visitors to pay ahead of time, will reduce the amount of interaction between staff at park entrance stations and visitors, the park said. Park fees are due when an individual makes a reservation. According to Recreation.gov, payment will not be accepted when entering the park.
Passholders will be required to pay a $2 reservation fee. Those without a pass will need to pay the $25 one-day pass per vehicle as well.
Once you make a reservation, print it out and bring it to the park with you.
RMNP Superintendent Darla Sidles said the park is eager to welcome visitors back using this system.
“This system will more safely manage the pace and flow of visitor use, reduce crowding, and provide an improved visitor experience in alignment with the park’s safe operational capacity,” she said.
All park visitors are asked to follow local health orders, and to avoid crowds or high-risk outdoor activities. Staff are reminding visitors to:
- Keep your distance from other people, whether in a parking lot, at an overlook or on the trail
- Wear a cloth face mask in restrooms and when you cannot properly socially distance yourself from others (such as on one of the shuttles)
- Avoid visiting the park if you are sick or were recently — and knowingly — exposed to COVID-19
- Pack out whatever you bring into the park, including all trash
- Understand your physical abilities and make responsible decisions. This not only helps visitors, but helps keep first responders out of harm’s way
- Protect wildlife by giving animals plenty of space. Do not feed them and watch for them while driving, as they’ve started to congregate on park roads more often