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Tent Camping Near Rocky Mountain National Park

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Backcountry Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

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20 Minutes from Estes Park

32 Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance

Camp Sites: 26 forested tent only sites

Why it is Family Friendly: Looking for some quiet family bonding? Look no further than Longs Peak Campground. This small, tent only campground has just the basics and affords incredible access to all Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Toilets and water available. No cell service.

How to Book: First-Come, First-Served Only.

History Of The Mount The Rocky Mountain National Park

The meadows and peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park were shaped by massive glaciers. Human beings started venturing into the valleys and mountains of this park about 11,000 years ago with the Utes tribe dominating the park until the late 1700s. The US government purchased the area in 1803 and it is later on that the name became Rocky Mountain, National Park.

It is in 1915 that the lodge keepers started to maintain roads within the park as well as building trails and guiding visitors. Later on, museums, well-maintained trails, and comfort stations were built by rangers to meet visitors expectations. The Trail Ridge Road was built in the 1930s by the National Park Service.

The visitation in the park grew steadily, decreased during World War II, and then started to increase again. The management before was not that efficient but today the park is being managed well by an interdisciplinary staff that consists of education rangers, carpenters, biologists, resource specialists, law enforcement rangers, administrators, carpenters, and engineers.

Which Campground And Showers

Looking to visit RMNP for one week in August and would like to tent camp. I don’t know much about the park. Of the campgrounds in RMNP, what would be the pros and cons of each for tent camping? Also, I understand the campgrounds in the park do not have showers. Are their hot showers near/outside the campgrounds that are pay by the minute/shower, etc? Thank you for your help!

I really like Glacier Basin campground. It looks out to a wonderful view and the breeze in the tall pines cant be beat for lulling you to sleep.

As for the showers, the laundry in Stanley shopping center has been mentioned having showers but I cant speak from experience. We always planned to camp a night in Estes or on the way the first night away from RMNP to shower and do a load of laundry.

Have fun

I prefer Moraine Park Campground .. the sites seem more secluded. Here is a link to photos of each site from each CG!!!

Showers probably somewhere in town, many of the RV parks have pay showers.

The National Park campgrounds do not have showers. There is a laudry mat at the Stanley Shopping Center, I think its $4.00 a shower.

The showers in the laundry are located in Upper Stanley Village. It is the same center as Safeway except the in the very opposite corner by the Hallmark store, Mountain Home Cafe and Notchtop Bakery. Not sure what they cost.

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Backpacking And Hiking In Rocky Mountain National Park

The park service has a Hiking page that provides a lot of useful information when planning a hike, including the latest Trail Conditions. Whether hiking or backpacking, you can use the free shuttle busses that run along the Bear Lake Road corridor and stop at a number of trailheads. A few more things to keep in mind:

Altitude: Most trails in Rocky begin above 8,000 ft. and climb much higher. To acclimate, spend at least one night at 7,0008,000 feet before hiking. At higher elevations, ultraviolet light is stronger, so its even more important to use sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses.

Dehydration can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness, so its important to drink lots of water. To make matters worse, dehydration can sneak up on you at altitude because sweat evaporates quickly in the thin, dry air, so you may not realize how much water youre losing. Also, you tend to breathe in and out faster and harder at altitude, causing you to lose water through respiration.

Lightning: On any trail in the park, you can encounter lightning, especially late in summer and above treeline. For high altitude hiking, plan on reaching the highest part and be heading down by noon. If you ever hear thunder, go quickly below treeline.

May 1October 31 you need to use a bear-resistant container to secure food and garbage. Also, fires are prohibited in the backcountry except in wood fire sites with visible metal fire rings .

Rocky Mountain National Park Facts

Camping near Estes Park, around Rocky Mountain National Park


Enos Mills, who moved to Colorado on his own as a young teen in the 1880s, is considered the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park. Mills love of Colorado made him a devout advocate for the creation of the park, and he spoke and wrote at length to educate the public on nature preservation.


Abner Sprague, a 19th century homesteader and pioneer, was the first person to pay $3 for park admission in 1939. Today, visitors on foot or bicycle pay $10 per person and those in vehicles pay $20 for a seven-day pass.


Peaking at 12,183 feet , Trail Ridge Road runs 48 miles between Grand Lake and Estes Park. Work was completed on the highway to the sky in 1933 after four years of an off-and-on construction schedule that was largely determined by high-elevation weather conditions.


Bighorn sheep, the largest wild sheep in North America, are both the symbol of the national park and for all of Colorado Parks & Wildlife, because of their distinct presence in the state. Rocky Mountain National Park is currently home to approximately 300 to 400 bighorn sheep.



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Fern Lake On The North Side

Hikers on the Fern Lake Trail.

For a short-distanced backpacking adventure perfect for families with strong kids, try backcountry camping for a night or two at Fern Lake. Its 3.8 miles in from the Fern Lake trailhead. Along the way, youll pass The Pool, Fern Falls and Marguerite Falls.

Theres a pit toilet near the individual camping sites for Fern Lake, which can be a great convenience when camping with kids. Park officials ask that you pitch your tent close to the indicated site out of potential hazards of standing dead trees.

Spend the next day fishing in Fern Lake , or exploring nearby Spruce or Odessa Lakes before relaxing at your campsite and settling in for night two under the stars.

To get to the trailhead from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, follow Hwy 36 west to Bear Lake Road for a little more than 1 mile. Take a left onto Bear Lake Road and stay on it for another mile. Then turn right onto Moraine Park Campground Road. When you se the sign for the riding stable and trailheads, take a left. This orad brings you to the edge of Moraine Park. The trailhead is at the end of the road.

You do need a permit to camp overnight in the backcountry. Reserving a permit in advance online at is highly recommended, or pick one up at either of two backcountry offices in the park, beginning March 1 at 8 a.m. for the current calendar year. Walk-in permits cost $26. At Rocky Mountain National Park, you cannot fax or call in permit requests.

The Outback Montana Rv Park

Glacier National Park is home to the well-known Going to The Sun Road. Many people dream of visiting and Id encourage you to stop dreaming and start doing if you have never been. Its time to begin planning your trip to Northwest Montana. The Outback Montana RV Park is located in Bigfork, MT, nestled on Flathead Lake and a short 40 minute drive to west Glacier. This campground is absolutely beautiful and offers sites for RV camping, tent camping, and cabin rentals.

If you enjoy hiking, one of the best tips that I can give you is to drive into Glacier National Park at 5 a.m. Park at Avalanche Lake and begin your day hiking through the forest from the lake, breathing in the fresh scent of pine. After you have enjoyed a morning of hiking and everyone else has arrived for their visit, head back to your campsite and relax near or in the stunning blue waters of Flathead. If youre looking for a cabin, be sure to reserve it as soon as you begin to plan your vacation because they are often booked far in advance. However, The Outback offers a plethora of tent camping sites for those that dont mind roughing it.

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Ouzel Lake On The South Side

A 4.9-mile hike in, Ouzel Lake is located in Wild Basin, a more rugged area of Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits at 10,020 feet.

Along the way to the lake, you will pass Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, popular destinations, but most people turn around at the falls, leaving the trail less crowded once you leave the falls behind. Wildlife are abundant here, so keep your eyes out, especially for moose. Youll also see a number of peaks, including Mount Meeker at 13,911.

Because of the distance required to get to Ouzel Lake, youll find few people and plenty of solitude once you set up camp. Park officials ask that you pitch your tent close to the indicated site out of potential hazards of standing dead trees. A maximum of 7 people are allowed at individual sites and 12 maximum at group sites. There is a privy at the backcountry campsite at Ouzel Lake.

If you spend two nights here, you can do a nice, strenuous day hike to Bluebird Lake, two miles and nearly 1,000 feet above you.

You need a permit to camp overnight in the backcountry, and you can reserve a permit in advance online at, which is highly recommended, or pick one up at either of two backcountry offices in the park, beginning March 1 at 8 a.m. for the current calendar year. At Rocky Mountain National Park, you cannot fax or call in permit requests.

Our Top 11 Rocky Mountain National Park Boondocking Spots

Glacier Basin Campground RMNP

Rocky Mountain National Park has over 100 peaks, hiking trails of more than 350 miles, and about 147 lakes that you need to explore for you to exhaust the major sceneries there. The park is open 24/7 and it would be beautiful if you wake up to a mountain sunrise. There are many Rocky Mountain national boondocking spots around the park but the following are the best and most of them are located in Estes Park:

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Campgrounds Outside The Park

If no campsite spaces are available in Rocky Mountain National Park, there are some other good options available just down the road, still near the Park and close to Estes Park. RV Parks & Campgrounds.

Manor RV Park 110 full hookup sites, pet-friendly, laundry, playground, on Big Thompson River. Weekly, monthly, and summer spaces. Call 797-7857 to reserve.

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park of Esteshas over 110 campsites available with several options No Hook Up Tent Sites, Water & Electric Sites, Premium Water & Electric Sites, and Full Hookup Sites. Family & Kid-Friendly activities. For more information or to reserve, call 658-2536 or check out their website.

KOA of Estes Park

There are two campsites managed by the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District: The Estes Park Campground at Marys Lake and The Estes Park Campground at East Portal. These are open from mid-May 15th to the beginning of October.Reservations can be made online at or through the call center at 964-7806. For more information and the guidelines for reserving you can go to the EVRPD website.

Three other private RV parks are located near the Beaver Meadows entrance: Elk Meadows, Spruce Lake, and Paradise on the River.

A Complete Guide To Camping In Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. With only five campgrounds located within the park boundary, all those visitors have to compete for a place to stay. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to take advantage of booking early for those campsites that can be reserved. Reservations at Aspenglen, Moraine Park, and Glacier Basin campgrounds can be made six months in advance. Longs Peak and Timber Creek campgrounds, however, do not take reservations and are only available on a first-come, first-served basis. In July and August, the campgrounds generally are full every day of the week, while in June and September, visitation numbers drop. By mid-week you are more likely to find an available campsite at any given location without a prior reservation.

All campgrounds in the park are $26 per night, and visitors are limited to camping a total of seven nights in the park per visit.

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Plan Ahead For Summer 2020

With over 4 million annual visitors, park campsites fill up in summer, especially in July and August, so it is a good idea TO make reservations EARLY. You should definitely reserve if youre planning for specific dates during summer. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. Park Campgrounds are open seasonally and reserveable from late May TO late September or EARLY October. Tip: Mark your calendar so youll remember when you need TO reserve. Longs Peak Campground with 26 tents only sits Timber Creek Campground with 98 sites, located on the West side of the Park, across the Continental Divide from Estes Park. How do you reserve a campsite? Online recreation. Gov or by calling 1 – 877 – 444 – 6777

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Elk Meadow Lodge And Rv Park

Best Camping in and Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Park has resort-like amenities and is suitable for families. This campground has 7 cabins, more than 40 tent sites, and 169 RV sites which have full hookups. Furthermore, this campground has a playground, outdoor swimming pool, showers, mini-golf, hot tub, horseshoes, and many more.

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Complete Guide To Camping In Rocky Mountain National Park

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Rocky Mountain National Park, located in north-central Colorado, is a truly stunning National Park. Comprised of alpine meadows, 14,000 foot peaks, and meandering streams, RMNP is truly a one-of-a-kind place to visit. Planning a Rocky Mountain National Park camping trip is the perfect way to experience this environment first-hand.

There is just nothing like spending a night out under the stars in your tent or RV to truly gain an appreciation of this spectacular place.

Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding areas have more than enough camping options to suit your needs. From the five developed campgrounds in the park, a plethora of backcountry campsites, to tons of nearby RV and car camping spots, and even free dispersed camping, youre sure to find the perfect campsite.

Keep reading to get all the details to plan your perfect camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Best For The Biggest Rvs :

Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Resort

5 Minutes from Estes Park

16 Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance

Camp Sites: 135 Total sites. 35 Tent sites, 100 RV sites

Why it is Family Friendly: Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Resort offers RV spots, tent camping, cabins, and even a few teepes. Theres always something going on with live music on the weekends, mini golf, and a playground for the kids. Full bathrooms and laundry facilities make it easy for families to stay for a week or longer.

How to Book:

11 Minutes from Estes Park

22 Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance

Camp Sites: 66 shady sites suitable for tents and trailers and RVs less than 22 in length.

Why it is Family Friendly: Does your family like to fish with stunning mountains as the backdrop? Nearby reservoirs are frequently stocked and ready for anglers. This campground is smaller and a bit more secluded so you feel like you are really in the mountains.

How to Book:

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Climbing In Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky offers a wide spectrum of climbing including rock, big wall, ice and bouldering. Well-known areas include Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak. Wherever you climb, be aware of all park regulations, including area closures to protect nesting raptors.

Long routes in the park , usually have some sections of loose rock, require a lengthy hike in and demand some knowledge of snow travel. Also, because youre at 12,00014,000 ft., youll be sucking air a lot. Having said that, climbing in the park is really spectacular.

Good introductory routes include the North Ridge of Spearhead, the Northeast Ridge on Sharkstooth and the East Gully on Sharkstooth. Some challenging routes are the South Face of the Petit Grepon, Culp-Bossier on Hallett. In the 5.9 range, solid choices are Sykes Sickle , the steep Hesse-Ferguson on Hallett, and the Direct South Ridge of Notchtop.

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