What to know before camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

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  • Useful tips for visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Located in northwest Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the world’s premier camping destinations. Due to its high altitude of up to 14,000 feet, the national park attracts tourists every year. It has five glaciers, 150 lakes and several waterfalls. With thousands of acres, the park is home to an assortment of wildlife, including 67 mammals, 300 species of birds, fish, and an endless category of insects.

There are two ways to access Rocky Mountain National Park. The first goes through Grand Lake Town, located to the west. Alternatively, travelers can use the easier route from Estes Park Town, which is an easier route. Apart from camping, the park is also famous for other activities such as hiking, skiing, and backpacking. Here is a detailed guide to camping in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Best times to visit

the Rocky Mountain National Park is open all year round, the busiest season being from June to September. Depending on the activities on visitors’ to-do lists, the season will serve as a guide.

  • Summer: Get ready for stunning views of the beautiful wildflowers blooming in the large fields. Also expect the campsites to be bustling with activity.
  • Spring: This is the best time for any avid hiker, but the higher elevations are still covered in snow. It is recommended to wear the right equipment for the challenge.
  • Autumn/Fall: The advantage of a visit in the fall is the easy schedules which do not require any reservations, unlike the winter and spring. Tourists also take advantage of the popular elk breeding season.
  • Winter: AAlthough considered the lowest season for visits due to seasonal closures, be sure to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.


Related: 10 Attractions to Explore in Rocky Mountain National Park

Campsites

The national park offers free scattered campsites and paid established campsites to follow the preferences of tourists. Campsites include:

Glacial Basin Campground

Glacier Basin Campground is a must-see for nature lovers, thanks to its stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. It has a capacity of 150 seats, but be sure to book as seats are always up for grabs. The campground is still accessible to luxuries like running water and flush toilets.

  • Location: Bear Lake Road
  • Open season: May to September
  • Reservations required: Yes
  • Costs: $26


Campsite Moraine

Besides its easy access, Moraine Campground is the largest campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. The pine trees that surround the campsite make good resting places for campers looking for an extended stay. Moraine has 244 sites, 64 of which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Location: Next to Trail Ridge Road
  • Open season: All year
  • Reservations required: Yes, up to six months in advance
  • Costs: $26

Related: These Lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park Are Great Alternatives to Summits

Timber Creek Campground

Located at 8,900 feet above sea level, Timber Creek Campground is the only campsite on the west side of the national park. The campground has approximately 98 sites and has flush toilets, among other facilities.


  • Location: Near the entrance to the Grand Lac
  • Open season: May to November
  • Reservations required: Yes (Open from March)
  • Costs: $30

Most of the trees have been felled due to a pine beetle infestation, which means shade is scarce in the campground.

Adventurous activities to do

When it comes to national park standards in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park ranks number one for fun things to do. They include:

Hiking

For any avid hiker, Rocky Mountain National Park is an easy favorite. They range from short, easy trails to challenging hikes up to 14,000 miles in elevation. The park has a total of 355 clearly defined trails.

Wildlife viewing

From majestic moose in the mountains to small animals like chipmunks nestling in the pine trees, charismatic wildlife awaits visitors to this national park. Other common animals include mule deer, bighorn sheep, groundhogs, squirrels, black bears and the rare mountain lion.


Visit Estes Park

Estes Park Town is located a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, making it a must visit for visitors looking to spend a few days in Colorado. The town has several convenient restaurants and bars for a lively night away from the forest. Stop by the Bird and Jim or the Stanley Hotel for mouth-watering cuisine.

Useful tips for visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Camping, especially for beginners, can be overwhelming if one is not fully prepared for the potential dangers. Here are some insider tips for a warm and safe stay at the campsite.

  • Stay hydrated: At higher elevations, hikers are likely to be thirsty. Carrying a bottle or two is necessary to help the body acclimate to the new weather while preventing altitude sickness.
  • Bring the right equipment: Preparing for the worst weather while hiking should be on every visitor’s mind. Performing a tent pitch test before leaving the house is the best method to ensure that each piece of equipment is working.
  • Keep a healthy distance from wildlife: Encounters with cougars, black bears and moose should be treated with caution.


Enjoying your stay with bank account-friendly activities makes Rocky Mountain National Park a perfect place for a fantastic getaway away from noisy cities. The destination is packed with almost everything an adventurous visitor would dream of.


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