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Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top national parks to visit in the United States! Conveniently located adjacent to the town of Estes Park, there are many activities for both casual sightseers and seasoned hikers. Originally established in 1915, Rocky Mountain is consistently ranked as one of the most visited national parks. The park consists of over 265,000 acres of land and a diverse collection of terrain including alpine lakes, forests, tundra, and a stunning variety of wildlife.
The park has four total entrances with three accessible from the eastern side of the park. There are two main entrances near Estes Park, another about 30 minutes south of Estes Park, and an additional entrance from the west at the town of Grand Lake. The majority of visitors use the Beaver Meadows and Fall River entrances. The park now has a timed entry system that requires reserving your time online prior to your visit from late May through mid-October. Always check NPS.gov for RMNP entry details, timed-entry reservations, and park regulations.
Fall River is the best park entrance if you are looking to get to Trail Ridge Road. You can avoid the need for reservations if you arrive at the Fall River entrance after 3 pm. By this time the park is quieting down, and you’ll have a better experience. We also highly recommend this entrance if you are staying at Fall River Village Resort since it is close and less than a 10-minute drive. Locals agree that this is so much easier and more pleasant in the busy summer months than the main Beaver Meadows entrance.
Beaver Meadows is the park’s busiest entrance and is how most visitors arrive from Estes Park. The main visitor center and park headquarters is located near this entrance. If this is your first time visiting the park, the visitor center makes for a great place to stop.
Wild Basin, located about 30 minutes south of Estes Park is the least busy entrance on the eastern side of the park and provides access to a remote and less crowded area of the park. Be advised that this section of the park is isolated and does not provide access to Trail Ridge Road.
Grand Lake Entrance Station is located on the West side of the park near the town of Grand Lake. If driving from the Beaver Meadows entrance to the Grand Lake entrance, expect a drive time of at least 90 minutes one way.
Arguably the most famous attraction in Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road traverses the park and the continental divide topping out at 12,183 feet above sea level. The road typically opens around Memorial Day and closes in mid-October once winter weather starts to arrive.
The Alpine Visitor Center is located one mile west of the highest point on Trail Ridge Road and is the highest visitor center in the National Park system at almost 11,800 feet above sea level. The visitor center features exhibits on the surrounding tundra, a gift shop, and restrooms.
If you are staying at Fall River Village Resort, the nearest Park entrance station is located less than ten minutes away. Our Estes park rentals are the perfect place to stay to enjoy all that the National Park and town have to offer.