Rocky Mountain National Park’s timed-entry reservation system goes into effect on Friday, and other seasonal reservation requirements on public lands will follow soon.
The Mount Evans Road and the entry gate to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area are still closed, but when they open, reservations will be required. Mount Evans could open as soon as this weekend.
Weekend reservations for parking at Eldorado Canyon State Park went into effect last weekend. They also will be required on Memorial Day and other holidays through the summer.
Here’s a round-up of things you need to know if you want to visit these areas:
Rocky Mountain National Park timed entry: As has been the case in previous years, visitors have their choice of two reservation options. Entry reservations for all of the park except the Bear Lake corridor are required from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Reservations for all of the park including Bear Lake are required from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m. Reservations are made through Recreation.gov. Reservations for May and June went on sale May 1. Reservations for July, August, September and October go on sale the first day of the previous month. Park officials say 40% of all reservations are set aside until 5 p.m. the day before entry. The reservation requirement will be in effect through Oct. 22. Reservations cost $2 and do not cover the cost of admission, which is $30 per vehicle. Details are available at Recreation.gov or the park’s website. Beginning June 1, the park will go to a cashless system for entry, meaning you’ll need a credit card or a mobile payment option. However, permits can be bought with cash at the visitor centers just outside park gates. They also can be bought in advance through Recreation.gov.
Rocky Mountain National Park hiker shuttle: Shuttles from the Estes Park Visitor Center into the park will begin operating Friday. The service is free but reservations are required and there is a $2 processing fee. Visitors accessing the park are still required to pay the park entry fee. For more information, visit the park’s website.
Mount Evans Road: Reservations are available now at Recreation.gov. The road above Echo Lake is not open yet, but CDOT crews have been working on snow removal and it is expected to open any day. Reservations can be made 30 days in advance. Because the road is a state highway, visitors can legally drive up the road without reservations, but reservations are required to park at the Mount Goliath Natural Area, Summit Lake Park and the summit between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Brainard Lake Recreation Area: The entry gate is not expected to open until the second week of June. When it does, reservations will be required through Recreation.gov for motorists to enter. Reservations are not required for parking at the Gateway Trailhead nearby and walking into the park. The lake is about 2 miles from the entry gate. Cyclists also may enter without reservations.
Bus service from Front Range cities to Estes Park: CDOT’s annual Bustang service to Estes Park will begin operation on Saturday. Busses originate at Denver Union Station with stops at Westminster, Broomfield, Boulder and Lyons, terminating at the Estes Park Visitors Center. The service will run on weekends and holidays with two departures in the morning and two returning in the afternoon. Park entry fees are required but timed-entry reservations are not. Roundtrip tickets are $15 and are available at ridebustang.com.
Eldorado Canyon State Park: Timed-entry reservations are required for parking on weekends and holidays. Another option for entering the park on weekends and holidays is a free shuttle service from several locations in Boulder. For more information on the shuttle or timed-entry reservations, go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
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