Frequently Asked Questions:
Are there any senior discounts that we should know about?
Probably the best deal around is the Senior Pass from America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. It costs $10, but is a lifetime pass for US citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
It covers entrance fees for the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle, and a 50% discount on some fees like camping, boat launch, swimming. You must get your pass in person at the Park.
We want to climb Longs Peak. What do we need to know?
The Keyhole Route, Longs Peak's classic mountaineering route, is open for hiking for only a short time most summers. In an average year like 2007, park rangers considered the route non-technical July 14 to September 15 when free from ice and snow. You'll cross enormous vertical rock races and encounter narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs, and will need to scramble on all fours.
This challenging route requires stamina because it has an elevation gain of 4,850 feet, and is eight miles one way. Time for the round trip averages 10-15 hours. It was the choice of celebrated British adventurer Isabella Bird in 1873, but nowadays the way to scramble through the boulder field is marked with yellow and red bullseyes.
At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak towers above all other summits in Rocky Mountain. It's a big mountain experience that shouldn't be underestimated - safety and preparation are essential. Acclimate to the altitude before starting out. In the summertime - the season when thousands hike or climb to Longs' summit - early mornings break calm, clear and blue. Clouds build in the afternoon sky, often exploding in storms of brief, heavy rain, thunder and dangerous lightning. Begin the trek early, by 3 am to be off the summit by 10am and back in the car before the weather turns.
Take a virtual climb up the famous Longs Peak Keyhole Route:
Check with a ranger for current conditions. 970-586-1206. Obtain a reliable weather forecast for elevations ranging from 8,000 to 14,000 feet.
Is it realistic to go "carless" on a vacation to Estes Park?
Yes, definately, and there are lots of advantages. If you're flying into Colorado, there is shuttle service from DIA. Once in town, Estes Park has convenient free shuttle bus service around town to lodging, shopping, activities, and dining. Rocky Mountain National Park provides shuttles into the Park to visitor centers and popular trailheads.
See our Shuttle Bus page for more information on routes and times.
Are there any fees in the Park?
An entrance fee is charged to get into Rocky Mountain National Park - $20 per vehicle. This is good for 7 days. Also, if you walk in or take the Shuttle Bus, a fee of $10 per person is charged. Campground charges begin at $20 per campsite per night. During the busy summer months, advance reservations for campsites are highly recommended, and you will be asked to pay in full at the time you reserve your site. A backcountry permit processing fee of $20 is charged to camp in the backcountry.
Can I take my dog hiking with me in the Park?
No, dogs are not allowed on any trails in the National Parks, and most lodges won't let you leave your dog unattended in your room. See our Bring Your Dog? page for suggestions on what you'll need to know about vacationing in Estes Park with your favorite pet (click on More...). Don't dispair - there are some good alternatives for a vacation with fido.
Any ideas for a romantic weekend getaway?
From a cozy mountain cabin with a wood-burning fireplace, to an elegant river side suite - lodges in Estes Park specialize in romantic getaways, and many lodges provide special packages - be sure to ask! In-suite private spas are popular, there's romantic dining with live music at several great restaurants in town, and just the chance to get away and be together is "priceless".
Riverspointe Spa on the riverwalk has couples massages.
Are there any "fee free" days in RMNP in 2012?
Yes, April 21-29 (National Park Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (Public Lands Day), November 10-12 (Veteran's Day Weekend) no entrance fees will be charged. Other fees for camping, reservations, concessions, etc. are still in effect.
How can I get a campground reservation?
Call 877-444-6777 or go to the website http://www.reserveamerica.com/ which lists availability by date at both public and private campgrounds in the area around RMNP. If there is room in one of the 3 Park campgrounds that takes reservations, you will be directed to http://www.recreation.gov/ to make your reservation. Park campgrounds have some "walk-ins" on a first serve, first come basis, but in July and August, these disappear early in the day, and you must be present to claim them.