Joseph Pawlak

RMNP Timed Entry

Guide to the Timed Entry Permit System for Rocky Mountain National Park

Between May 27th and October 10th, 2022, visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park are required to follow the guidelines of the Timed Entry Permit System. You won’t want to miss the gorgeous scenery and outdoor adventure that awaits in the 415 square miles of protected park area. Visitors can explore more than 300 miles of hiking trails while looking out for wildflowers, wildlife, and stunning viewpoints. Learn more about the timed-entry permit system and how to make your trip to the park as seamless as possible during your stay in an Estes Park vacation rental!

Two Options for Timed Entry Permit Reservations

The first type of timed permit option allows for access into the Bear Lake Road Corridor as well as the rest of the park. This permit allows for entry windows between the times of 5:00 AM and 6:00 PM Mountain Standard Time. Reservations are not required before 5:00 AM or after 6:00 PM but reservations are recommended for you to be able to access the park during the main period of the day.  

The second permit allows visitors to visit the majority of Rocky Mountain National Park, excluding the Bear Lake Road Corridor. With this permit option, the reservation period is open with windows between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM Mountain Standard Time. Again, reservations are not required to enter the park before 9:00 AM or after 3:00 PM.  

Upon reserving a timed entry permit, you will receive the two-hour time window that designates when you are meant to enter the park. Reservations must be secured in advance as they are not available at park offices or park entrances. There is a $2 reservation processing fee. 

Here are a few ways to make a reservation: 

  • Call the Reservation Line: 877-444-6777 
  • Via the mobile app 

Second Requirement: Park Pass or an Entry Fee 

In addition to the timed reservation permit, visitors must also have either a park pass or paid the park entry fee. Whether you already have an annual pass or plan on buying a day pass, you can find the option that works best for your plans!

Check out which passes qualify: 

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees and Pass 

  • 1-Day Pass Automobile: $25  
  • 1-Day Pass Per Person: $15  
  • 1-Day Pass Motorcycle: $25  
  • Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass: $70

America the Beautiful Passes 

  • Annual: $80  
  •  Annual Pass for Military: Free  
  •  Annual or Lifetime Senior Pass: $20 or $80   
  • Access Pass: Free  
  • Volunteer Pass: Free 

Start Planning Your Estes Park Escape!

Fall River Village sits just a 5 minute walk from downtown Estes Park, making it a perfect home-base for a getaway in the Rocky Mountains. Book one of our Estes Park vacation rental condos or townhomes to enjoy views of the Continental Divide and community amenities including an outdoor pool, fire pit and grills, and a yard with games and hammocks. This is the perfect place to relax after a day exploring Rocky Mountain National Park!Browse All Estes Park Vacation Rentals

Things to do in Estes Park in Spring 2022

Experience the beauty of spring in the Rocky Mountains. While some may refer to it as mud season, spring is a time of fresh air, blooming flowers, and warm afternoons. The snow is melting and the waterfalls are magnificent throughout Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are plenty of things to do in Estes Park in spring and some great benefits to traveling to Colorado this time of the year.

Avoid the Crowds

Spring is the quietest time of the year to visit the Rocky Mountains, so you’ll enjoy wide open and uncrowded trails. Plus, the historic town of Estes Park has yet to enter the busy summer tourist season. Be sure to check out seasonal hours for local shops and restaurants as well, as some will be modified during the slow season.

Best Things to do in Estes Park in Spring 2022

Spring Fishing

As the snow starts to melt, fishing is a popular activity among locals and travelers alike. Early spring is great as the water levels haven’t gotten too high from snowmelt yet, and the water flow tends to be slower. Rent your gear at a local shop or have a guide take you out to the waters. In Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find greenback cutthroats, rainbow trout, brookies, brown trout, and more.

Keep in mind that a Colorado fishing license is required for anyone over 16 years of age to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park. Pay for an annual license, day pass or five-day pass.

Estes Park Hiking in Spring

Sprague Lake is an easy 1-mile walk around the lake that is accessible for most skill levels and offers stunning views of the Continental Divide. This path is paved and is wheelchair accessible and appropriate for strollers.

Chasm Falls is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail that features a waterfall and beautiful views of the rugged terrain. Depending on the amount of snow for the season, Old Fall River Road may be closed to vehicle traffic so you’ll have to walk about a mile to get to the trailhead.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, Ouzel Falls is a 5.3-mile out-and-back trail with river views and a waterfall. Similar to Chasm Falls, you may have to park and walk to the trailhead depending on the snowpack during your visit. This trail has an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet, making it a slow and steady climb.

Deer Mountain Trail is a 6-mile trail that is moderate to challenging with beautiful views atop the final summit of the trail. This hike has an elevation gain of 1,400 feet, making it a challenge for most hikers, especially if you’re not used to the altitude. This hike tends to get busy so arrive early if you can.

Tips For Spring Hiking in Rocky Mountain NP

Bring micro spikes and hiking poles as this time of the year it’s common for snow to melt and refreeze making for icy conditions at times. Like any time of the year when you’re hiking in Colorado, be sure to prepare for all types of weather and temperatures.

Book Estes Park Vacation Rentals for Spring 2022

5 Ways to spend a Summer Day in Estes Park, CO

Still wanting to plan a mountain escape this summer? We are filling up quickly but there’s still time to find an Estes Park vacation rental to enjoy mountain views and plenty of outdoor adventure! From exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, fishing on Lake Estes, and getting out on a hiking trail, there are so many ways to enjoy summer in the Rocky Mountains!  

Tour the Stanley Hotel 

The Stanley Hotel is a staple of Estes Park and a must-visit. You can experience the historic landmark by joining a day tour that will take you through the history, architecture, and folklore of the building. A night tour is also available to take you even further into the spooky lore that surrounds the hotel. You can also dine at the Cascades Restaurant and Lounge to enjoy fine dining with local flare. In the summer, you can also enjoy al fresco dining and drinks from an outdoor bar.  

Ride the Estes Park Aerial Tramway 

Get the best view of Estes Park from the Aerial Tramway! Open for the summer season, the Estes Park Aerial Tramway invites guests to hop aboard and enjoy a ride up to the summit of Prospect Mountain. At the summit, enjoy the view, go for a hike, and pose for a photo! This is a perfect family activity that will let the entire family enjoy a summit view without the hike.  

Catch a Fish at Lake Estes 

Lake Estes sits right in town allowing for water activities during the summer! Head to the Lake Estes Marina to grab a fishing license and rent some fishing gear if you didn’t bring your own. Reeling in a brown or rainbow trout can make for the perfect summer activity. Other summer fun can be had by taking a canoe or kayak out onto the lake or biking along the loop that goes around the lake! 

Stroll the Estes Park Riverwalk 

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a stroll along Estes Park’s Riverwalk. Running just behind the main street of Elkhorn Avenue, the Riverwalk offers a peaceful pathway to walk along. Keep an eye out for murals and bronze sculptures that can be found along the way. Stop into local boutiques and shops that offer access along the Riverwalk or even grab a bite to eat or a drink at one of the restaurants that line the Riverwalk.  

Hike Through Rocky Mountain National Park 

Take a hike through Rocky Mountain National Park! With over 300 miles of hiking trails to explore, this is a perfect place to experience the Rocky Mountains. The summer is the perfect time to be on the lookout for wildflowers and wildlife as you walk along a trail.   

Relax in an Estes Park Vacation Rental 

Book an Estes Park vacation rental to enjoy the best of life in the mountains this summer. With dog-friendly condos, mountain views, and riverfront rentals, you’re sure to find a perfect place to find family fun in the Rocky Mountains. Consider a mid-week stay to enjoy less crowds on the hiking trails and Riverwalk. Book an Estes Park vacation rental today! 

Browse All Estes Park Vacation Rentals

Skiing Near Estes Park

Skiing Near Estes Park

Estes Park is unique among famous Colorado mountain towns for not being a dedicated ski resort town. While many Colorado mountain towns are dependent on their nearby ski resorts, Estes Park winter activities are much more well-rounded.

Visitors can access nearby downhill skiing and cross country skiing in about an hour’s drive from our Estes Park vacation rentals or explore nearby backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Alpine Skiing: Eldora Mountain

For downhill skiing, Eldora Mountain is the best option for visitors staying in Estes Park. Located near Nederland, Colorado this ski resort is about an hour and fifteen minutes south of Estes Park. If you’re looking to take a day trip, skiing at Eldora is a fantastic option that doesn’t require a long drive. Whether you are a first-timer or an advanced skier, Eldora offers an impressive variety of terrain for a relatively small resort.

Eldora offers 680 acres of skiing with 1,240 feet of lift-served vertical and averages about 300 inches of snow per year. The trails consist of 20% easy, 50% intermediate, and 30% advanced. It’s one of only a few Colorado resorts in the Front Range that is not accessed via the traffic-congested I-70. For more information on lift tickets, parking reservations, and policies, visit the Eldora website.

Cross Country Skiing: Eldora Ski Resort

Cross country skiing is more focused on fitness and can be a fun alternative to snowshoeing or winter hiking. If you don’t enjoy the fast speeds and steep downhills of alpine skiing, then cross country skiing is a great alternative. Eldora also offers cross country skiing in addition to its extensive network of lifts and downhill ski trails.

The Eldora Nordic Center offers a network of cross country ski trails located next to the main mountain of alpine ski trails. With over 40 kilometers of trails, this world-class facility offers one of the best nordic experiences in Colorado. Enjoy a wide variety of terrain including forests, alpine meadows, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Backcountry Skiing: Rocky Mountain National Park

For expert skiers with extensive training and experience in backcountry skiing, winter in Rocky Mountain National Park offers a nearly endless wilderness full of skiing opportunities. One of the most popular areas to backcountry ski in Rocky Mountain National Park was once a ski resort. Hidden Valley Ski Area was located about 10 miles from Estes Park along Trail Ridge Road. The ski area operated from 1955 to 1991 before removing its lifts and closing down operations. However, the trails remain and make for an excellent place to earn your turns.

The Hidden Valley area of Rocky Mountain National Park is also frequented by families for sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing. There are also picnic tables near the parking area which make for a great day trip even if you decide not to take part in any winter activities. We’ve provided driving directions to Hidden Valley from Fall River Village, which is about a 25-minute drive up Trail Ridge Road as long as conditions permit.

Whatever your winter plans are in Estes Park, make sure to check out our Fall River Village resort condo rentals. Enjoy stunning views and a convenient location only minutes from the downtown area!

Summer 2020 in Estes Park

Summer 2020 in Estes Park

For summer 2020, many people are looking forward to getting out of the house and responsibly visiting the beautiful Rocky Mountains. After spending time indoors, there is a new appreciation for the simple things in life: breathing the fresh air, spending time outside, and taking in a scenic view.  As travel preferences shift, this is the perfect time to focus on more local vacations that can be reached by a quick road trip!

A Scenic Vacation within Driving Distance

Estes Park is the perfect vacation destination for those who live in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and other cities within driving distance. While things begin to return to normal, using your own car is one of the safest ways to travel. Additionally, having your own private vacation rental in Estes Park allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones while maintaining a safe distance from others.

Practice Social Distancing in the Rocky Mountains

Taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing are great ways to practice social distancing while on vacation. There are many trails, walkways, and scenic drives surrounding Estes Park. The area’s biggest attraction, Rocky Mountain National Park, began a phased reopening late May, and we’ve included more information below to help inform you of the new reservation system put into place. While this summer will be different due to large events being canceled, there are still many opportunities to relax and experience the great outdoors in Estes Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National began a phased reopening in late May and has instituted new policies and procedures to promote safe recreation for Summer 2020, including:

  • Requiring a mandatory reservation required to enter the park
  • Instituting a timed entry permit for all vehicles
  • Enacting an indefinite closure of some services and facilities

Entrance fees remain in place and are $25.00 per vehicle. You can find more information and make your reservation on the park’s website. The park is continuing to provide updates and revise their approach as the phased reopening continues to progress.

Vacation Rentals are the Preferred Choice for Travelers

While restrictions are lifted and life begins to gradually return to normal, it is still important to make sound decisions and choose Estes Park lodging that encourages social distancing. Our Estes Park vacation rentals offer a private retreat for you and your loved ones. You will be able to enjoy your own private kitchen to cook meals in and spend time with family. There are also many local restaurants that currently offer take out, some of which deliver directly to Fall River Village.

We’re excited to welcome all of our guests back to Fall River Village and look forward to a summer full of outdoor fun and relaxation!