Welcome to Mountain Side Gear Rental’s three-part blog series devoted to camping in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Whether you’re a Colorado resident or first-time visitor to the 415 square mile outdoor playground outside of Estes Park and Grand Lake, in this edition, we’re focused on general tips to keep in mind when visiting RMNP.
Camping and Backpacking Particulars
For campers who prefer a home base, RMNP has five campgrounds within its border. These are: Timber Creek, Aspenglen, Moriane Park, Glacier Basin and Longs Peak. Each has a limited number of campsites and RV specifications, so you’ll want to pay close attention to reservation requirements and instructions. For the more experienced adventure-seeker, backcountry camping is permitted in designated places and does require a paid permit. For links to each of the Park’s campgrounds, click here
Locals and tourists alike are surprised to learn nearly 70 species of mammals, 260 types of birds and five classes of amphibians call RMNP home. While there’s no guarantee you’ll lay eyes on the Park’s wildlife in their natural habitats, you can better your odds by keeping these timelines in mind: elk, moose and deer are most active at dawn and dusk, while birds are easier to find in early morning and beavers mostly work at night. Bighorn sheep marmots, squirrels and chipmunks are active all day. Still, some of the best spots within the Park to view its inhabitants are at roadside pull-offs. Alternatively, strike up a conversation with a park ranger for tips on spotting wildlife.
Colorado weather has a way of making visitors, and residents alike, second-guess their clothing choices on the regular. Known for sweeping weather changes throughout a day’s time, remember to come to RMNP prepared. Average temperatures in and around the Park range from below zero to the upper 80s, depending on the season and elevation. It’s not uncommon to encounter measurable snowfall in June, as summer is condensed to two short months here.
RMNP varies in elevation from 8,000 feet in the wet grassy valleys to 14,259 feet at the top of Longs Peak. The Colorado altitude is no joke. Remember to stay hydrated, lather on the sunscreen (higher elevations mean you’re closer to the sun), eat a high calorie diet while at increased altitude and avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs.
Rocky Mountain National Park is calling. Begin planning your trip today, and stay tuned for Mountain Side Gear Rental’s next two installments of our camping in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) blog series. Up next: Mountain Side’s most favorable car camping destinations and beloved backpacking havens.
About Mountain Side Gear Rental
Mountain Side Gear Rental makes it easy for people to spend time in the great outdoors by renting premium camping and backpacking gear from our location in Golden. We provide trip planning and assistance to our domestic and international visitors. More information about Mountain Side is available at https://www.mountainsidegearrental.com/.