Well, it's really happening.

On Wednesday morning (Jan. 12), Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) officials announced that the park would be implementing a pilot temporary timed entry permit reservation system beginning this May.

Starting Friday, May 27, 2022, one of two types of reservations will be required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park. The two types of reservations include:

Bear Lake Road Corridor: 
  • this permit includes the entire corridor, as well as access to the rest of the park
  • timed reservation period will be from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The rest of Rocky Mountain National Park: 
  • this permit excludes access to Bear Lake Road Corridor
  • timed reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As per the park's announcement via Facebook, permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability. The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park, regardless of which permit you select.

Reservations to enter Rocky Mountain National Park will go on sale through www.recreation.gov at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 2. This initial round of reservations will give visitors access to enter the park from May 27 through June 30.

The next wave of reservations will begin on June 1; prospective visitors will be able to reserve permits for the month of July and any remaining days that have not been booked for June at this time.

On July 1, reservations will be available for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On Aug. 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days in August that have not been booked. On Sept. 1, reservations will be available for October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked.

Park officials are encouraging prospective visitors to make their reservations sooner than later, as permits are expected to sell out quickly once they are made available; RMNP says 30 percent of permits will initially be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through recreation.gov.

Park-Goers React To RMNP's Decision To Implement Reservation System

According to park officials, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest national parks in the United States, coming in at the third busiest park in the country in 2019 with over 4.6 million visitors; this represents a 42 percent increase in visitation in seven years.

Visitor crowding and congestion at the park have led to increased negative impacts to visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience, and operational capacity, park officials say.

As a result, RMNP has piloted various visitor use management strategies over the last six years.

Since Rocky Mountain National Park officials have made the formal announcement regarding the implementation of the pilot reservation system, hundreds of people have sounded off about the controversial decision via RMNP's Facebook page:

Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
Rocky Mountain National Park/Facebook
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How do you feel about Rocky Mountain National Park's decision to implement this pilot reservation system? Sound off using the 'Message Us' feature on the app.

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