In 2020, Rocky Mountain National Park was the fourth most visited national park in the country. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions many people flocked to the parks for their entertainment. Initially, the parks closed down in March and April of 2020, and then reopened in late May. It was the first national park in the country to implement the timed-entry permit system. That temporary system ended on October 12, 2020.
In February, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing. The National Park Service (NPS) implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners and contractors. This is still in place. At the Rocky Mountain National Park, face masks are required in all park buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes narrow or busy trails, parking lots, pull-offs and overlooks.
Even into the cooler months, the Park saw a 28 percent increase in visitation in November and a 38 percent increase in visitation in December over the same months in 2019. It is believed that the number of people visiting the parks will be dramatically increasing this summer, with the majority of people being vaccinated and anxious to get on the road again. Prior to the pandemic, the NPS was already discussing taking precautions against overcrowded parks and increased pollution.
In 2020, the Park Service started a reservation system to address the need for social distancing. It was so successful that they have decided to continue a reservation system in 2021, with some tweaks. This week, the Rocky Mt. Park Service met with the Town of Estes Park officials to discuss the parameters of the system. It is considered a pilot temporary timed-entry system at this time.
Beginning May 28, 2021 = timed entry permit reservation system
There will be two types of reservations available.
1. One permit will be for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which will include the entire corridor and access to the rest of the park. This reservation period will be from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2. One permit will be for the rest of Rocky Mountain National Park. This reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability.
Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through www.recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 1.
1st release: sign up beginning May 1, Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. for MAY 28 – JUNE 30
2nd release: sign up beginning June 1 for JULY 1-31.
3rd release: sign up beginning July 1 for AUGUST 1-31.
4th release: sign up beginning August 1 for SEPTEMBER 1-30
5th release: sign up beginning September 1 for OCTOBER 1-31
UPDATES are posted on the park’s official website at www.nps.gov/romo. For social media: @RockyNPS The Information Office is (970) 586-1206.
COMMUTER PERMITS (crossing Trail Ridge Road) & FIRE DAMAGED AREAS ALERTS
Permanent residents of Larimer, Grand, or Boulder counties whose property is within 50 miles of the Beaver Meadows, Fall River, or Grand Lake Entrance Stations are eligible to apply for a Commuter Permit that authorizes non-recreational travel over Trail Ridge Road. The trip must begin and end within Grand, Boulder, and Larimer Counties (this includes Lyons and Pinewood Springs). Subject to eligibility, the Commuter Permit is valid for three years from date of purchase for an administrative fee of $25.
The Commuter Permit is valid only for non-recreational commuting over Trail Ridge Road and does not authorize recreational use in the park. Go to their web page to get the “verification form,” and read more information, including UPDATES: (970) 586-1206 Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.
This page also lists closures due to Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires.
==warning== Commuter permit applications take approximately 6–8 weeks to process.