Day Use Visitor Access Plan and Environmental Assessment

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The National Park Service has finalized a Day Use Visitor Access Plan for Rocky Mountain National Park to manage day use visitor access in a way that protects the park's resources, maintains positive visitor experiences, promotes safety, and supports the park's ability to maintain daily operations.

The plan establishes two timed entry reservation systems from late-May through mid-October, one for the Bear Lake Road Corridor and one for the rest of the park. This is similar to what the park has piloted the last three summers and is the current operational plan for this summer. The reservation systems have been successful at spreading visitor use out throughout the day and throughout the park.

The ability to be flexible and adapt the timed entry reservation systems to changing use patterns is a key element of the Day Use Visitor Access Plan. Park staff will continue to learn from this year's pilot and adapt accordingly when considering future purchase lead times and reservation windows from year to year.

The park experienced a 44 percent increase in visitation from 2012 to 2019. In 2021, the park received 4.4 million visits. Even with a timed entry system in place the park received some of the highest visitation in its history. The park's top five visitation years are as follows: 2019, 4.67 million; 2018, 4.59 million; 2016, 4.51 million; 2017, 4.437 million; 2021, 4.434 million. Rapid growth in day use visitation and changing use patterns in the park have degraded natural and cultural resources, diminished quality of the visitor experience, increased visitor and staff safety concerns, and created a heavy strain on the park's facilities and ability to perform daily operations. The goal of the plan is to identify strategies that will help protect park resources, offer varied opportunities for high quality visitor experiences, and enhance visitor and staff safety.

Approval of the Day Use Visitor Access Plan is the culmination of extensive planning, public engagement, and managed access pilots that began in 2016. Between 2016 and 2023, the park piloted several day-use visitor management strategies to address crowding, congestion, and impacts on park resources. The park also asked the public for their participation in envisioning the future of day use visitor access at Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer of 2021 and the winter of 2022-2023.

Learn More

The Day Use Visitor Access Plan, Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact, and other reference documents are available in the Document List section of this page.

To learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park and to plan for your next trip, visit the park website at, download the NPS App, or call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

Contact Information

Park Information, 970-586-1206