Best Rocky Mountain National park campgrounds

Best Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park

Is a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park on your bucket list? If so, staying at a campground or RV park in this stunning region will make your vacation even more memorable.

To help you plan a trip, I put together this guide that includes details on all the best campgrounds in and around Rocky Mountain National Park and tips on when to go and what to see and do.

Whether you plan to take a car and tent camp or bring your RV, this guide has you covered, so let’s dive in!

Top Reasons to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky mountain National park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning high-elevation park in Colorada that offers 415 square miles of land to explore. Here are the top reasons millions of guests visit the park each year:

HIKING

Rocky Mountain National Park offers guests 355 miles of hiking trails from easy and flat lakeside paths to steep and strenuous climbs to mountain peaks. Park rangers are happy to suggest trail options for various fitness levels, so you don’t take on more than you can handle.

WINTER ACTIVITIES

Rocky Mountain National Park provides cold-weather camping enthusiasts a chance to enjoy the park’s scenic views while snowshoeing, downhill or cross-country skiing, ice-fishing, hiking, and even sledding.

You won’t be disappointed with experiences like seeing a frozen waterfall or watching wildlife forage for food against a backdrop of pristine white snow.

STARGAZING

Stargazing amongst the mountain ridges in Rocky Mountain National Park only enhances the experience as the light-pollution-free landscape reveals a night sky brimming with stars and galactic wonders.

Take a drive up Trail Ridge Road (the longest and highest paved road in the US), where you can immerse yourself at over 12,000 feet in elevation in stars that seem close enough to touch.

WILDLIFE

The elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, moose, and black bears are just some of the 67 mammal species found in Rocky Mountain National Park. With countless amphibians, reptiles, and birds, you’ll never be without something to spot through your binoculars or with the naked eye.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Day or night, you’ll never be at a loss for photographic subject matter in Rocky Mountain National Park. With amazing vistas, animals, flowers, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and 150 historic structures, you can take the perfect selfie for your social media page or capture extraordinary photos with professional equipment.

SPRING FLOWERS and FALL FOLIAGE

In June and July, wildflowers burst into color across the park, with incredible swaths of blooms that cover meadows and hillsides. In the fall, the predominant aspen trees surround the park in yellow hues as their leaves change, transforming the look of the landscape into a breathtaking sight.

WEATHER

The weather in Rocky Mountain National Park is cooler due to the high elevation, but temperatures are more moderate if you stay below 9,400 feet. Expect snowfall through July at places like Longs Peak, Bear Lake, or Trail Ridge Road.

Sunny days are standard, with high temperatures in the spring averaging 56°F to 71°F, summer 83°F to 86°F, and fall average highs of 53°F to 78°F. Winter days are snowy and hover near 45°F, but nighttime temps fall to around 22°F on average.

The park averages around 17 inches of precipitation yearly from snow and rain.

Best Rocky Mountain National Park Campgrounds and RV Parks

Rocky mountain National park campground

Rocky Mountain National Park has great campgrounds inside the park, with more campgrounds and RV parks outside park boundaries.

Most internal campgrounds accept reservations up to six months in advance. However, the NPS highly recommends booking as early as possible to ensure a spot.

One campground is strictly first-come, first-served, while another allows this during winter months only.

Campgrounds within Rocky Mountain National Park

Aspenglen Campground

Open for CampingMay 27 – September 27
Sites Available52 primitive RV or tent sites
Nightly Rate$30 – Reservations required

Amenities:

  • Trash and recycling collection bins
  • Flush toilets
  • Campsite picnic table and fire ring
  • Food storage lockers
  • Potable water
  • Firewood and ice for sale
  • Onsite camp host

Aspenglen Campground is near the Fall River Entrance and Visitor’s Center and offers spacious campsites (8,196-foot elevation) but no water, electricity, or dump station for RVers.

The trade-off for rustic camping is the spectacular natural setting with quick access to Estes Park for supplies or local events.

Be aware that the RV size limit is 30-feet in length (travel trailer + tow vehicle), and no generators are allowed.

INSIDER TIP: If you’re tent camping, try to snag one of the five walk-in sites that afford the most privacy and immersion into nature. Trust me; it’s worth the effort to haul your camping gear the short distance from the parking area.

Aspenglen Campground Rocky Mountain National Park (Video)

Glacier Basin Campground

Open for CampingMay 27 – September 27
Sites Available150 primitive RV or tent sites
Nightly Rate$30 – Reservations required

Amenities:

  • Trash and recycling collection bins
  • Flush toilets
  • Campsite picnic table and fire ring
  • Food storage lockers
  • Potable water
  • Firewood and ice for sale
  • Onsite camp host
  • Amphitheater
  • Dump station

Glacier Basin Campground (elevation 8,500 feet) is six miles south of the Beaver Meadows entrance and has enough campsites to make this one of the more accessible locations to book.

The campground setting is more open (less privacy), with some campsites in a meadow with few trees for shade while others tuck around the edges under old-growth pines.

Campsites can fit RVs up to 35 feet, and there is a dump station and paved roads to make your stay more convenient.

INSIDER TIP: This campground has a free shuttle bus service that will take guests to park trailheads in the Bear Lake corridor and into Estes Park.

Glacier Basin Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park (Video)

Longs Peak Campground

Open for CampingJuly – September
Sites Available26 primitive tent-only sites
Nightly Rate$30 – First-come, first-served

Amenities:

  • Trash and recycling collection bins
  • Toilets
  • Campsite picnic table and fire ring
  • Food storage lockers
  • Potable water
  • Onsite camp host

Longs Peak Campground (elevation 9,500 feet) is a 20-minute drive south of Estes Park off Highway 7 and offers tent camping in the ideal location to climb Longs Peak or Mount Meeker or hike to Peacock Pool or Chasm Lake.

Please note that camping guests at Longs Peak Campground need a timed entry reservation permit to visit any park areas or visit outside the daily reservation window that isn’t part of your camping fee.

INSIDER TIP: This is a very hard campground to grab a spot, as people arrive pretty early to wait for any guests to leave. Your best bet is to try Monday through Wednesday to avoid the weekend rush.

Longs Peak Campground Rocky Mountain National Park (Video)

Moraine Park Campground

Open for CampingYear-round (limited winter sites in Loop B)
Sites Available244 primitive RV or tent sites
Nightly Rate$30 – Reservations are required in summer, in winter is first-come, first-served

Amenities:

  • Trash and recycling collection bins
  • Vault toilets year-round, flush toilets seasonal
  • 2 solar shower stalls
  • Campsite picnic table and fire ring
  • Food storage lockers
  • Potable water
  • Firewood and ice for sale
  • Onsite camp host
  • Amphitheater
  • Dump station
  • Limited generator use

Moraine Park Campground (elevation 8,160 feet) offers year-round camping with limited winter camping and available amenities. This campground is the largest and most popular within RMNP and allows limited generator use in Loop C.

The campground is near the Beaver Meadows Entrance off Highway 36 and has excellent views and plenty of wildlife that pass through. RV length is limited to motorhomes or a travel trailer plus tow vehicle 40-feet or less.

INSIDER TIP: This campground is close to the park shuttle, near numerous trailheads, features a river running through the meadow, and is about 15 minutes from Estes Park, making it a relaxing and convenient place to stay. Book as early as you possibly can to ensure you can visit on the dates you want.

Moraine Park Campground Tour (Video)

Timber Creek Campground

Open for CampingMay 27 – September 15
Sites Available98 primitive RV or tent sites
Nightly Rate$30 – First-come, first-served

Amenities:

  • Trash and recycling collection bins
  • Flush toilets
  • Campsite picnic table and fire ring
  • Potable water
  • Firewood for sale
  • Onsite camp host
  • Dump station
  • Amphitheater

Timber Creek Campground (elevation 8,900 feet) is your only camping option on the west side of the RMNP about eight miles north of the Grand Lake Entrance. The location is a great choice if you want to avoid the crowds using the park’s east-side campgrounds.

Unfortunately, the campground was infested with a beetle that required the removal of most trees, so shade may be hard to find. However, a creek runs through the campground, and you can enjoy watching the elk that like to pass through almost daily.

RV length is limited to motorhomes or a travel trailer or fifth wheel plus tow vehicle 30-feet or less.

INSIDER TIP: This campground fills quickly in the summer, and you may encounter rude visitors trying to steal your campsite while you’re out sightseeing, especially if you’re tent camping and don’t set up lots of gear. Make sure you post your camping permit (take a picture as backup) and go directly to the park host if you have any issues, as they know how to deal with this issue safely.

Timber Creek Campground Rocky Mountain National Park (Video)

Campgrounds and RV Parks outside Rocky Mountain National Park

Winding River Resort

Open for CampingMay 27 – October 2
Sites Available150 sites for RVs and Tents
Nightly RateDry $65 / Water & Electric $80 / Full Hook-up $90

Amenities:

  • Showers and restrooms
  • Organized activities
  • Laundry
  • Camp store

Winding River Resort is on the west side of RMNP on the Colorado River and also shares a border with the Arapaho National Forest, giving you access to more hiking, horseback trails, and nature activities. The family-friendly resort has an RV campground with a cool western vibe and even has special sites if you want to bring your horses.

The RV park has a camp store with some groceries, camping and fishing supplies, and a great gift area with western-themed items. In addition, the resort offers many horseback riding tours throughout the day and easy access to ATV and snowmobile rentals for unguided exploration of RMNP and Arapaho.

Camping Winding River Resort (Video)

Elk Creek Campground & RV Resort

Open for CampingMay 15 – October 31
Sites Available72
Nightly RateElectric only $49 / Water & Electric $69 / Full Hook-up $79

Amenities:

  • On-site grey and black water dump out service
  • Showers and restrooms
  • Playground
  • Dump station
  • Propane and firewood
  • Laundry
  • Wi-Fi
  • Game room
  • Pond and creek
  • General store

Elk Creek Campground and RV Resort is a family and pet-friendly RV park and campground in a beautiful setting around Elk Creek. Guests enjoy (from a safe distance) encounters with the moose, deer, and elk that meander through the camp, along with proximity to RMNP only a mile or so from the Grand Lake Entrance.

The campground is a short drive into town, is close to Grand Lake and the Colorado River, offers superb customer service from the owners, and has a clean and friendly atmosphere.

Elk Creek Campground (Video)

Manor RV Park

Open for CampingYear-round
Sites Available110 Full Hookup
Nightly Rate$70-$87 Summer/$45 Winter

Amenities:

  • Showers and restrooms
  • Playground
  • Dog walk
  • Propane
  • 2 laundry facilities
  • Free cable TV and Wi-Fi
  • Clubhouse

Manor RV Park is the place to book if you want to upgrade your camping experience while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park or downtown Estes Park only five minutes away.

The campsites are paved and roomy, and the entire park has lovely landscaping and modern facilities. So kick back and appreciate this quaint location surrounded by streams, mountains, and the flora and fauna this region supports. You can even book one of the 22 campsites directly on the Big Thompson River.

Manor RV Park (Video)

Tips For Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Arrive or Book Early

The first-come, first-served campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park require strategic planning to secure a spot in the high season or on weekends. You can inquire at the entrance gates if any sites are available to save you time, or you can opt for an RMNP campground that accepts reservations.

To give more visitors a chance to stay, the park service only allows guests to camp at any combination of campgrounds for no more than seven nights in total from May 1 through mid-October.

In the winter season that runs November 1 through April 30, you can book an additional 14 nights.

Bring Plenty of Water and Supplies

Like many National Parks, Rocky Mountain doesn’t offer electric, water, or sewer hookups for RV or tent guests, so you’ll need to plan accordingly to ration water or pack enough food and supplies to last your stay.

Thankfully, the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake aren’t too far from many of the campgrounds where you can restock items or enjoy a restaurant meal.

Be Ready to Unplug

With limited Wi-Fi (you may get it at some Visitor Centers) and sketchy cell phone coverage, you should download trail and park maps before you arrive and expect to be out of touch during your Rocky Mountain National Park visit.

Summer Is High Season

While you can visit Rocky Mountain National Park throughout the year, most of the campgrounds are only open during the summer months. The camping guests and the extra tourism summer weather brings mean the park will be most crowded from June through August when schools are out of session.

Beware the Local Wildlife

The NPS can’t stress enough that there are many large and dangerous animals in Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding region, many of which find the smells of food coming from campsites very attractive.

If you spot wildlife of any sort, even something you believe to be very docile, never get close to take pictures or touch or pet them. Visitors who break the rules often end up with serious injuries or even die from animal attacks from moose, bears, mountain lions, or other wildlife.

To avoid dangerous encounters, keep your eye out for animals on hikes, especially in late spring or early summer when babies are born.

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Prepare for Mountain Roads

Many of the winding roads in and around Rocky Mountain National Park are at high elevations along cliff sides (with no shoulders or guardrails) that can leave you weak in the knees, even if the views are spectacular. Knowing upfront what to expect can help you navigate more safely.

RVs can travel all the roads in RMNP, except Old Fall River Road, which restricts motorhomes over 25 feet long or vehicles pulling travel trailers or fifth wheels. Winds tend to be strong the higher in elevation you go, and snow or rain can be unpredictable.

If you ever feel unsafe, use the pull-outs set at intervals along the roads, take a deep breath, and let impatient drivers pass.

QUOTE:
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide

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