Rocky Mountain National Park (roughly five minutes from the Taharaa Mountain Lodge) offers more than 265,000 acres of majestic mile-high wilderness. It encompasses mountains, alpine lakes, evergreen pines, frolicking wildlife, and more. An outdoor lover’s playground, this park is a staple of the state and one of Colorado’s crowning achievements. That makes it a must-visit on a perfect summer’s day.
But getting into the park takes a little proactivity. Before you go, consider the following:
Checking the Weather Forecast
Ahead of venturing into the park, visitors are encouraged to check the weather through the National Weather Service’s website, which publicizes alerts, advisories, and closures. However, a clear day doesn’t necessarily mean clear sailing; Rocky Mountain National Park is well-known for Mother Nature’s mood swings, so conditions change rapidly.
Buying Fees and Passes
As of June 1, 2023, the park is moving to cashless payments at the entrances and campgrounds; credit cards, debit cards, and digital currency will be accepted, instead (people preferring to pay in cash can do so inside the visitor centers).
Of course, you can also purchase passes online and choose from an annual pass, a seven-day pass, or a one-day pass, as well as a vehicle pass, a motorcycle pass, or an individual pass (for those entering by foot). Fees are waived on a handful of days, including the Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act (August 4th) and National Public Lands Day (September 23rd).
Navigating Timed Entry
Timed entry is in effect starting May 25th between the hours of 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. This type of tiered entry keeps the park from getting too crowded and reduces entry lines. These permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis and gives visitors a two-hour window arrival time. Once they’re inside the park, they can stay as long as they want.
Entering the Park
You can access Rocky Mountain National Park from the east through Estes Park or the west through Grand Lake. Of note, the Fall River Entrance, located in Estes, is presently under construction, and visitors are encouraged to use the Beaver Meadows Entrance via Highway 36 as an alternative. Both major east entrances are expected to have large wait times while construction is ongoing.
Whether you visit for a few hours or an all-day adventure, Rocky Mountain National Park is the quintessential cherry atop your summertime sundae. Head to the hills to see Mother Earth’s masterpiece.
Taharaa Mountain Lodge is the perfect place to stay when visiting Estes Park. Tucked away from the rush and bustle of downtown Estes and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, we provide a lodging experience sure to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Contact us to learn more.