Best Campgrounds in Rocky Mountain

The park's five campgrounds accommodate campers looking to stay in a tent, trailer, or RV (only three campgrounds accept reservations—up to six months in advance at www.recreation.gov or www.reserveamerica.com; the others fill up on a first-come, first-served basis).

Aspenglen Campground. This quiet, eastside spot near the north entrance is set in open pine woodland along Fall River. There are a few excellent walk-in sites for those who want to pitch a tent away from the crowds but still be close to the car. Reservations are recommended in summer. Drive past Fall River Visitor Center on U.S. 34 and turn left at the campground road.

Glacier Basin Campground. This spot offers expansive views of the Continental Divide, easy access to the free summer shuttles to Bear Lake and Estes Park, and ranger-led evening programs in the summer. Reservations are essential. Drive 5 miles south on Bear Lake Rd. from U.S. 36 877/444–6777.

Longs Peak Campground. Open May to November, this campgound is only a short walk from the Longs Peak trailhead, making it a favorite among hikers looking to get an early start there. The tent-only sites, which are first come, first served, are limited to eight people; firewood, lighting fluid, and charcoal are sold in summer. 9 miles south of Estes Park on Rte. 7.

Moraine Park Campground. The only campground in Rocky Mountain open year-round, this spot connects to many hiking trails and has easy access to the free summer shuttles. Rangers lead evening programs in the summer. You'll hear elk bugling if you camp here in September or October. Reservations are essential from mid-May to late September. Drive south on Bear Lake Rd. from U.S. 36, 1 mile to campground entrance.

Timber Creek Campground. Anglers love this spot on the Colorado River, 10 miles from Grand Lake village and the only east-side campground. In the evening you can sit in on ranger-led campfire programs. The 98 campsites are first come, first served. 1 Trail Ridge Rd., 2 miles west of Alpine Visitor Center.

Backcountry Camping, Rocky Mountain National Park. Experienced hikers can camp at one of the park's many designated backcountry sites with advance reservations or a day-of-trip permit (which comes with a $26 fee in May through October). Contact the Backcountry Permits office before starting out to get a sense of current conditions. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Kawuneeche Visitor Center 970/586–1242.

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