Dream Lake Sunrise on Rocky Mountain National Park Tour

Rocky Mountain National Park
Timed Entry Permit System 2024

When you need a permit, and how to get one if you do need one.

Read Carefully, it is Complicated!

Remember, for your tour you do not need a Timed Entry Permit just a standard National Park Pass, but if you enter the park on your own you may need your own Timed Entry Permit .

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Yellow Wood Guiding is a CUA permitted guide in Rocky Mountain National Park , so on our tours you do not need a Timed Entry Permit, but you will need a standard Day, Week, Annual, Veteran or Senior Park Pass to enter the park. While on the tour the $30 Day Pass, $35 Week Pass or $80 Annual America The Beautiful Pass can be purchased at the park gate if needed.

If you plan on entering the National Park on your own you may need a Timed Entry Permit and a Rocky Mountain National Park Pass purchased ahead of time on your phone or computer.

Dates Time Entry Permit Needed: May 24 - October 20, 2024

For 2024 you will need a PARK PASS that allows you in the National Park anytime, and a TIMED ENTRY PERMIT to reserve the 2 hour time slot you will enter the park. If you plan to enter Rocky from 9am to 2pm for Trail Ridge Road, Horseshoe Park and Upper Beaver Meadows, this is called the Park Access Timed Entry Permit. The Bear Lake Corridor including Moraine Park, Sprague Lake, and the Bear Lake Parking Lot Trailhead, as well as the rest of the national park, has it's own special permit needed from 5am to 6pm, called the Park Access Plus +.

Each permit and pass is per car, NOT PER PERSON!! Be prepared!!!

THE RULES | You May Not Need a Timed Entry Permit IF!

Read Carefully

Currently if you enter the park entrance booth  BEFORE 5AM or AFTER 6PM you DO NOT need a Timed Entry Permit to visit any part of the park.

If you plan on driving Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake, or Horseshoe Park and Upper Beaver Meadows you do not need a permit before 9am and after 2pm. You will still need a standard Park Pass however, which you can purchase at the park gate as needed. Also note the line to get into the park starting at 2pm can take well over an hour.  

For most of the National Park, (See Option 2 map below) EXCLUDING the Bear Lake Cooridor you do not need a Timed Entry Permit if you enter the park before 9am or after 2pm. In my opinon you should visit much earlier than 9am or after 2pm so unless you plan on a morning hike in the Bear Lake Road area you do not really need Timed Entry Permits to visit the National Park at all during your stay.

Bear Lake Cooridor | Park Access Plus Timed Entry Permit

The Bear Lake Cooridor Permit, called the Park Access Plus+ allows access to the entire park including Bear Lake Road. The Park Access Plus+ Permit is required from 5am to 6pm, if you plan to drive on Bear Lake Road. If you plan on Hiking you will want a 5am-7am pass to make sure you get parking unless you plan to take the Bear Lake Park and Ride Shuttle which can also fill up around 11am most days.

Park Access Timed Entry Permit | No Bear Lake Road

Between the hours of 9am to 2pm when you enter Rocky on your own, during your trip, you will need to pre-purchase a Timed Entry Permit on Recreation.gov depending on where you plan to go in the park, and what time you enter.

When You Get Online To Buy Your Timed Entry Permit

**Permits become available on the 1st of the month prior. So July Time Entry Permits are availble for purchase online on June 1st 8am Est. Set a reminder as permits often sell out 10 minutes after they go on sale for the early mornings.**

Here is the National Park's Timed Entry page for more info:https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm

You only need one pass and one permit per vehicle.

You will need to make a seperate Timed Entry Permit reservation for each day you plan to visit Rocky in your own private vehicle.

If you need a Park Pass and a Timed Entry Permit you purcahse them at the same time on Recreation.gov

A portion of the Timed Entry Permits go on sale the day prior at 7pm Mtn Time on Recreation.gov if you didn't get your permits on the 1st of the month prior.

How to Purchase a PARK PASS

Do you already have a Lifetime Senior Pass / Annual / Veteran National Parks Pass? If so skip to the bottom of the page to the Entry Permit Section.

If you do not already own a park pass you will need to purchase one of the following options online or at an REI store.

The Park's Per Vehicle Day Pass costs $30 per day purchased through Recreation.gov or if you only need a pass for the tour you can purcahse that at the park gate.(See Timed Entry Permit section below on how to Purchase with a Timed Entry Permit)

Rocky Annual Pass for $70, or the Interagency America the Beautiful Annaul Pass for National Parks Fee areas for $80.

Visiting 1 to 2 Days Plan ($30 per day per car) : For 1 to 2 day trips its better to purchase the Park Pass and Timed Entry Permit together for each day you plan to visit through Recreation.gov. Detailed below in the TIMED ENTRY PERMIT section.

Visiting 3 Days or MORE Plan ($80 Annual per car, $85 if purchased online):  If you are planning more than a month ahead to visit Rocky or any other National Park for more than 3 days in in the next 12 months you should purchase one of the Annual Passes linked below, or you can buy a National Park Annual Pass in REI in person . If you purchase one of these passes online you will receive an email within 3-5 Days with that pass number. You will need your pass number when you reserve your Timed Entry Permit. They will mail the actual Pass in 3-5 weeks and you need this plastic pass present to enter the park. NOTE: This option can save you money but it does take time and reservations are limited.      

Link for Rocky Annual Pass $70  

Link for Interagency America the Beautiful National Parks Pass $85

How to Purchase a Timed Entry Permit

aspen fall trunks

$2 TIMED ENTRY PERMIT per day: Go to Recreation.gov (clicking this link will cause a new window to open).

Step 1 - Click the Sign Up button to create a Recreation.gov account.

Step 2 - Once you have your account in the "Search Bar" on Recreation.gov search for Rocky Mountain National Park Timed Entry

Step 3- Below the green "Reserve Tickets" first click Tickets, select Private Vehicle, select the type of permit you want either for Bear Lake Corridor or the Rocky Mountain National Park non-Bear Lake Permit, then the date and time you wish to enter the park. This time you select is your 2 hour window for your vehicle to enter the park for the first time that day. You can stay as long as you like once inside the park with this permit. Currently you can re-enter the park later the same day with that Entry Permit.

If you are only visiting one or two days and you do not have a plastic pass reserve each day selecting the 1-Day Entry (Non-Pass Holder) option under Guests which includes the $30 Per Vehicle Day Pass.

Total for each single day Pass and Permit costs $32.

aspen fall trunks

SAVING MONEY PART for Annual / Veterans / Senior Pass Holders- on the green "Reserve Tickets" GUEST drop down if you already have one of the Annual or Lifetime Passes select 1 of the correct pass and you will be asked for your pass number once you click continue. Guests is mis-labeled, it should be labeled Passes to make more sense.

You only need one pass and one permit per vehicle.

You will need to make a seperate Timed Entry Permit reservation for each day you plan to visit Rocky in your own private vehicle.

Yellow Wood Guiding is Authorized by the National Park Service, Department of Interior to conduct services in Rocky Mountain National Park. Fees for service are strictly for educational nature experiences and photography instruction, not transportation.

YWGuiding.com Est. 2007