Latest COVID-19 Update from Rocky Mountain National Park (Article from https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/conditions.htm#covid19)
Rocky Mountain National Park Will Begin A Phased Reopening On May 27
In accordance with guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Rocky Mountain National Park plans to increase recreational access and services on May 27. Rocky Mountain National Park continues to work with the State of Colorado to follow the "Safer at Home" guidance as well as with county and local officials as these changes are implemented. Rocky Mountain National Park is located in Larimer, Grand, and Boulder counties.
The current Safer at Home guidance for the State of Colorado encourages Colorado residents to “limit activities to your immediate community, not travel more than 10 miles from your home to recreate or vacation and not travel to mountain areas.” The Colorado Tourism Office is currently discouraging vacations to Colorado to limit community spread of COVID-19. The Executive Order from the State of Colorado is set to expire on May 26 and can be amended or extended at any time.
The health and safety of park visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. Rocky Mountain National Park staff continue to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored.
Park staff continue to conduct a decision and planning process to coordinate a phased reopening of Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, May 27. Park operations and services will be much different this year.
Portions of Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds will open on June 4.
The park’s three reservation campgrounds—Moraine Park, Glacier Basin and Aspenglen—were originally scheduled to open Memorial Day Weekend. Park staff have contacted those campers to cancel those reservations.
Only Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds will partially open on June 4, with approximately half of the campsites available for reservations. Aspenglen, Timber Creek and Longs Peak campgrounds will remain closed.
Wilderness Backcountry Campsites
Wilderness camping permits will be issued beginning May 27 through the autumn. In early May, park staff began contacting wilderness campers who had existing permits for the month of May to reschedule, if possible, their wilderness camping permits for later in the summer.
Shuttle Bus Operations
Shuttle bus operations within the Bear Lake Road corridor will begin on May 27. It is unknown at this time whether the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center will be operating this summer. In order to practice proper social distancing to minimize community spread of COVID-19, the capacity of the shuttle buses in the Bear Lake Corridor will be limited to 15 passengers per trip.
RMNP Will Enter Phase Two of Reopening June 4
Today, in accordance with guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, Rocky Mountain National Park has increased recreational access and services. In this first phase, from May 27 through June 3, the park has reopened many outlying areas and basic park road and trail access.
Park staff are evaluating the level of visitation and may meter access based on the level of visitation. This will be evaluated throughout each day. During these dates, visitors can only purchase entrance passes at entrance stations with credit cards. Visitors may be delayed entering or asked to return later if visitation and congestion warrants.
Phase Two - Timed Entry System Effective June 4
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country. To increase park access while providing the public a reasonable opportunity to comply with health guidelines, the park will temporarily implement a timed entry system effective at the beginning of Phase Two on June 4. The park will cease using this system in later phases of the reopening.
“We are eager to welcome visitors back to their national park,” said Superintendent Darla Sidles. “This system will more safely manage the pace and flow of visitor use, reduce crowding, and provide an improved visitor experience in alignment with the park’s safe operational capacity.”
Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through www.recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, May 28. Reservations will be available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked.
Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park.
In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day.
Frequently asked questions on the timed entry permit system can be found at: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/fees.htm
When recreating, park visitors should follow local area health orders, maintain social distance and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. Please do not visit if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19. Park staff will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Keep your distance. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail or in a parking lot. If staying at least six feet from others is not possible, wear a cloth face covering as recommended by the CDC. Cloth face coverings should also be worn while in park restrooms.
Keep it with you. If you brought it, take it with you. Trash pickup and restroom facilities will continue to be limited in many park areas. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
Know your limits. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest search and rescue parks in the country. Many of these incidents could be avoided with visitors planning and making responsible decisions. Winter-like conditions exist in high elevation areas of the park. For example, Bear Lake currently has 14 inches of snow. It is critical to make wise choices to keep our national park rangers and first responders out of harm’s way.
Protect wildlife. Obey speed limits and be aware of wildlife. During the closure, due to lack of vehicular traffic, park rangers have observed more wildlife congregating adjacent to or on internal park roads.
Rocky Mountain Conservancy continues to offer Rocky-themed merchandise available on their website at www.rmconservancy.org.
Details and updates on park operations and services will continue to be posted on the park’s official website at www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206. For information on Trail Ridge Road, call the Trail Ridge Road status recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222.