How to Get a Rocky Mountain Timed Entry Permit in 2022 (2023)


You need an extra reservation if you'll be visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in 2022!

I'm here to walk you through the process of getting a Rocky Mountain Timed Entry Permit Reservation.

You'll need this reservation when entering any part of the park unless you have a reservation at one of the in-park campgrounds.

Watch me live as I try to get a Timed Entry Permit reservation using You can see first-hand how to get your permit!

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Hey there friend, if you're heading to rocky mountain national park in 2022 you'll need an extra reservation to get into the park.

Let's talk all about it.

I'll walk you through the live process so that you can get exactly what you need to explore rocky this year in 2022 you'll need a reservation to enter rocky mountain national park.

Let's talk all about it, so first thing that you'll want to know is: there's actually two different reservations that you can get for this park to enter through the entrance stations, and so the first one is called the park.

Access plus bear lake reservation and that one will give you access to all areas of the park.

So you can drive the trail ridge road you can go in through wild basin.

You can get into bear lake, which is one of the busiest most popular areas to get to, and so, if you get that reservation, then you will have access to the entire rocky mountain national park.

The second reservation you can get is for the entire park without bear lake, and so that's just the regular park.

Access minus bear lake reservation that you'll see as you're trying to get your reservations, so the two different ones.

Basically, the only difference is that one of them will get you into the bear lake area of the park and the other one won't.

Almost everyone who visits rocky mountain national park this summer will need a reservation.

There are a few exceptions to needing this reservation and the main thing is: if you're able to get a camping reservation, then you won't need to get one of these reservations with a caveat.

So if you get a reservation at a glacier basin, moraine park or aspen glen, then that will get you into the entire park.

They're saying they'll even take that reservation to get you into the bear lake area, which is really nice.

So all of those campgrounds are on the east side of the park near estes park, the town, that's right there and near the bear lake area.

You can also access the trail ridge road from here.

So it's a really great location to camp if you're hoping to be in the park.

If you have a camping reservation, then you can enter the park through the entrance station the day that your reservation starts at any time, and so you can go in early and you can explore the park before you camp that will work.

There are a couple of campgrounds in the park that don't give you as much access to the park as those three that I just mentioned, and so, if you're camping in timber creek, which is on the west side of the park near grand lake, if you're camping there, then that will give you access to the park minus bear lake, so you won't be able to get into bear lake with your timber creek campground reservation, the other one is the longs peak campground, and so, if you get a spot up there again, it will get you into the park, but it won't get you into the bear lake area.

The other way that you can work your way around needing one of these reservations is to book a tour that runs in the park, and so that could be something like horseback riding or rock climbing something along those lines.

However, that won't get you into the park for the whole day.

It will get you in two hours before your tour time, and so you want to keep that in mind, because, if you're wanting to explore the park earlier or go in earlier, you will not be able to do so with a guided tour reservation all right.

So if you need one of these reservations, which again will be most people who visit rocky this summer, then you'll need one from the dates of may 27th through october 10th, 2022 and each reservation has different hours that it's required.

So if you're hoping to get to bear lake and you're hoping to get that park, access plus bear lake reservation, then you will need that from the hours of 5 a.m to 6 p.m.

So you could, if you're not able to get that reservation, you could potentially enter the bear lake area before 5 a.m, when they start checking those reservations or after 6 pm and for the park access without bear lake.

For that reservation, you only need one from the hours of 9 a.m to 3 p.m.

So that's a shorter window.

That's to cover the most busy times in the park and to kind of spread people out as they're entering so what you'll do is you'll get the reservation that you need for that day.

Each reservation is good for one day, and so, if you'll be at the park for multiple days, then you'll need multiple reservations and you'll pick a time frame that you'll enter the park and so for your reservation.

It will be specifically for a certain time.

You'll pick that time frame and you'll need to enter the entrance station.

At that time you won't be able to go in earlier and you won't be able to go in later, so you'll want to pick the time that best matches when you'll be able to enter the park, and then you'll show up at the entrance station with your reservation.

Now at that point, once you go through the entrance station with your reservation, then you can enter and exit the park at any time for the rest of the day.

You just have to enter during the time that you reserved, but beyond that you can go in and out as needed.

Now I want to show you the live process for getting one of these reservations, so I can walk you exactly through the process so that you know what you need to do to get a reservation and we'll talk through it and answer all your questions as I go through the process.

Okay, so let's take a look at my screen.

I am at

This is the website that you'll use to make a lot of your national park, reservations and so you'll want to come here and you'll want to make an account so that you can log in I'm going to go ahead and log in I like to come to about 10 minutes before they're, going to open the reservations for the day and so I'll come here I'll make sure I'm logged in I'll navigate to the place where I need to be so that I can be ready to get those reservations.

The way that rocky mountain is doing their reservations this year is that on the first of the month at 10 a.m, mountain time they will be releasing the reservations for the following month.

So, for example, on june 1st they'll be releasing all of the dates for july.

On july, 1st they'll be releasing all of the dates for august and on august, 1st they'll be releasing all of the dates for september and so on.

So if you're going to be getting your reservation this year, and you want to make sure that you can get, it then definitely check that release schedule, because you'll want to be on this website ready to get your reservations as soon as they open up.

They do typically go quite fast if you're not here right when they open.

Usually you can still get something, but I do recommend being here on the first of the month at 10 a.m: mountain time for the dates that are needed all right.

So I'm going to navigate us to the right page so I'll, just in the search bar put in rocky mountain.

Until I find you can either click on rocky mountain national park here or you can click on the national park timed entry, which is what we need, and so I'm going to go ahead and click on timed entry here and it will take me to where I need to be scrolling down.

You'll see again the two different options, and so you have your park.

Access plus bear lake right here and your park access without bear lake right here, and so these are good for one day and so you'll need to look at your schedule.

Look at your trip plan and decide which days and which times you need what let's go into the park.

Access plus bear lake.

That's the one I'm going to try for first and you'll, see when you get here.

If you're a little bit early, then everything will say not released.

If you hover over it, it will tell you when it will be released and so may 2nd at 10 a.m.

This is the very first round of them opening up dates, and so nothing else.

Nothing has been released yet and I am trying for dates in either may or june.

If you go into july you'll see if I hover, then it will say the next release for the july.

Dates will be on june, 1st at 10 a.m.

So again, keep that in mind.

If you come in and look around and you're wondering exactly what to do for this time frame, then you can hover over the date and it will tell you when you need to be there.

You only need one ticket per vehicle, and so you can't even make it higher than one.

You can just get one for your vehicle.

These are going to open up in about a minute, and so I'm going to sit here on this page and I'm just going to keep clicking until they open up, and here we go so you can see the dates that are available are blue, and so let's select, let's do a saturday, maybe june 18th.

I only need one ticket and I can see that there are some left.

So I'm going to pick a time and again you need to enter the park during that time and then you'll click book the tickets, and then it should take you to this page where you'll put in remaining details.

You'll read through this definitely read through this, so you know how it works.

Yes, I agree and then I'll proceed to cart at that point.

This is in my cart and so I'm good the timer will count down.

So I do need to finish my reservation by the time the timer counts down, but I also need some other dates because I'm going to be in rocky mountain for a few days, so you'll go back, you'll click continue shopping and it will take you back to this page and then you'll go through this process again this time, I'm going to do the one without bear lake, because I'm only going to go to bear lake for one day, so my bear lake one was the 18th.

Let's say I want to be in the park on the 17th as well, and I'm going to enter at 9am, so I'll request those tickets, and that will add that one to my cart as well so again, you'll scroll down, read through this put that one in your cart, okay and then looking at this.

So you can see that I have the park access plus bear lake road corridor.

So that's my bear lake one.

I want to be in bear lake that day I'll need to enter the park and go through the entrance station anytime between 8 to 10 a.m, because that is the time slot that I have reserved so again.

You'll need to enter during that time, but once you enter the park at that time, then you're free to come and go as needed.

My second one that I have in here is the park access without bear lake, and I have that one from 9 to 11 so again I'll need to enter the entrance station between 9 and 11 am to make that work and that one is for the friday.

So that's for the day before that all looks good to me.

That's exactly what I wanted again, if you're needing more days, if you're going to be in rocky, for even you know three or four days then you'll just click.

This continue shopping button.

It will take you back to the beginning and you'll just start the process over for each day that you need now.

If I go into proceed to payment, then it will ask for my credit card details.

It's a two dollar reservation fee per reservation.

Once I put in my credit card info and I go through the whole steps, then it will email me both the receipt and the actual reservation or the actual entry permit, and so you'll want to print out that actual entrance permit and take that with you and that's what you'll show at the entrance station as you're going into the park for some of the areas of the park like if you want to go into wild basin or you want to go into say you want to hike adams falls on the west side of the park.

Then they may not actually have someone checking your reservation because there's not an entrance station right there to get into that area.

So in that case again, it would be a really good idea to have your reservation printed out so that you can put it on your dash so that you can park in those areas because they do have park rangers that come through and check those things, and so you'll want to make sure that you have a printed copy of your actual timed entry permit so that you can keep that with you and so that you'll be able to get to all parts of the park.

I'm not going to finish filling this out because I'm not actually going to rocky mountain this year and I don't need these reservations so I'll definitely release these back out for other people.

But that's the process that you go through and again.

You'll just want to get on here as soon as they open those tickets so that you can get what you need.

You'll have first dibs you'll, be able to get that in your cart quickly and be able to get into the park with no problem.

So hopefully that was helpful to see my screen as I went through that process, and hopefully that answered your questions and you're able to get what you need now, if you're not able to get what you need, if you're not getting on the computer right when those open up or if they just go really fast for the dates that you need, then there are a few things you can do.

The first thing is is that they actually hold back about 25 of the reservations for a last minute reservation, and so the night before at 5 pm mountain time you can get on and you can go through this whole process again.

So they'll release those right at 5 pm on the night before you'll need them.

So if I'm wanting to be in the park on july 20th, then on july 19th at 5 pm, then I will go through this whole process again and hopefully get what I need at that point.

If you're still not able to get what you need at that point, that's when you'll need to really strongly consider entering the park before they start checking those reservations or before those reservation times so again for the bear lake area you'll need to enter before 5 am or after 6 pm for the rest of the park.

It will need to be before 9 a.m or after 3 p.m.

Keep in mind! If you do it this way, then you do need to stay in the park, because once you leave, if you try to come back in and it's during that reservation window, they won't let you in, and so, if you are going to bear lake and you get in there at 4, 30 or sometime around there, then, as soon as you leave the bear lake area, you won't be able to get back in for the rest of the day until 6 pm hits and they're not checking reservations anymore.

So keep that in mind, if you're trying to work around those times a little bit and you'll also want to keep in mind that there are areas of the park that they are still checking for these reservations, even though it may look like on the map you're not going to go through an entrance station.

So again that includes like, if you're going to the long's peak area, if you're going to wild basin, if you're going to adams falls, all of those areas will still require you to have a reservation during the time frame that those reservations are needed.

The last thing you can do is you can book a guided tour in the park, but again that only gets you into the park two hours before your tour is scheduled to start.

If you can, you can move your lodging and try to get camping in the park that will get you in as well or they are running a hiker shuttle from estes park to the park and ride at bear lake that one requires tickets this year and so, but if you're able to go through that process and get a shuttle reservation, that will also get you into that area.

For the day.

I am so excited for you to visit rocky mountain national park this year and I hope that you're able to get the reservations that you need, if you need any additional help with your rocky mountain itinerary or schedule or trip planning visit dirt and my shoes for all of that information.

I'm happy to help you plan your trip, and I hope that you have an amazing time.


Can I get into RMNP without a timed entry? ›

Timed entry permits are required to enter the park anytime at or after 9 a.m. Plan to arrive early, wait times to enter the park could be 30 minutes or longer. If you would like to visit destinations located along the Bear Lake Road and arrive before 5 a.m. or after 6 p.m., a timed entry permit is not required.

Can you drive through Rocky Mountain National Park without a permit? ›

You can enter all areas of Rocky Mountain National Park, except for the Bear Lake Road corridor, before 9 a.m. or after 2 p.m. without a permit.

How long is the wait at Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

Most people arrive to the national park between 7am and 10am. This results in large crowds at the entrance station and waits of up to an hour to enter the park.

What are the points of entry for Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

Park Entrances

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.

Can you hike Estes Park without pass? ›

After 2 p.m, you don't need a timed-entry permit to access the park, except for Bear Lake Road Corridor, where you will need to wait until 6 p.m. to enter that part of the park. You always need an entrance pass when accessing any part of RMNP. Take a sunset tour!

Can you sleep in your car in RMNP? ›

In Mount Rainier National Park, you cannot sleep in your car along the roadsides or in parking lots. However, there are designated campgrounds within the park where you can park your vehicle and sleep inside it. To find campgrounds within Mount Rainier National Park that allow vehicle camping, visit Hipcamp.

How do you get to Rocky Mountain National Park without a reservation? ›

There are two bus options to get you into the park that don't require a timed-entry reservation. You can either take the Bustang bus from Denver's Union Station or you can park for free at the Estes Park Visitor Center and take the Hiker Shuttle into the park.

Can I just enter Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

A valid entrance fee or park pass is always required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes, but is not exclusive to, Lumpy Ridge, Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Wild Basin, East Inlet, and North Inlet.

Do you need a RMNP pass to drive the Trail Ridge Road? ›

To drive Trail Ridge Road, you must have a park reservation, or you can enter the park before or after the reservation time period (before 9 am or after 2 pm).

What is the best time of day to enter Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

In general from July through September: Avoid weekends and/or go early in the morning to beat the crowds. In the peak months arrive between 7 and 8 AM to get a parking spot. Usually, it starts to get busier after 9 AM. Especially popular entrances like Estes Park or trailheads like Bear Lake Trail are extremely busy.

How early should I get to Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

Park at Bear Lake Trailhead. If you are coming from Estes Park, this drive takes 30 minutes. I recommend getting here early (ideally by 7:30 am) to make sure you get a parking space and to give yourself plenty of time today.

What is the hardest day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

1. Hallett Peak –Generally rated as strenuous, hikers gain stunning mountain views that make it well worth it. Reaching a height of 12,713 feet, the trail begins at Bear Lake, which starts at 9,475 feet.

How difficult is it to get into Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

Rocky Mountain National Park is no exception and their entry permit reservation system is one of the most difficult permits to obtain. What is this? As the 3rd most visited National Park in the USA, crowding and congestion are a big issue. I can't say I'm a big fan of more regulation, but it is what it is.

How do you avoid crowds at Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

To avoid heavier crowds, be at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 6 a.m., the Bear Lake Trailhead by 8 a.m, the Park and Ride by 9:15 a.m., Wild Basin area by 9:30 a.m. and Alpine Visitor Center by 10 a.m. Hike early or hike late. The benefits are fewer people, great sunrises and sunsets, and cooler weather.

What is the difference between Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park? ›

Estes Park is a town, not a park, next to Rocky Mountain National Park. The town is best known as “the gateway to the Rockies,” as well as the National Park. When people plan their visit to RMNP, typically they make Estes Park their home base because the town is near three of the main entrances into the park.

Can I enter RMNP after 3pm? ›

You can still enter the park without a timed entry permit before 5am or after 6pm to enter the Bear Lake Corridor. Or, you can enter the rest of the park minus the Bear Lake Corridor before 9am or after 2pm without a timed entry permit.

Do you need timed entry for Chasm Lake? ›

If you plan to visit Rocky Mountain National Park from late spring through early fall, you will need a Timed Entry Permit for some areas of the park. Learn more here. Get updates on trail conditions on the National Park Service website before you hike to Chasm Lake.

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