Colorado Camping

Dinner on Ouzel Lake

Backcountry Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

Note:  After recent severe flooding, backcountry travellers may encounter missing foot bridges, uneven trail surfaces, unstable slopes, falling trees due to soil moisture, rutted trails, damaged water bars and steps, standing water, difficult water crossings, and missing directional signs.  Be prepared and take responsibility while enjoying your adventure!

Backpacking is the best way to leave the crowds and explore Rocky's 416 square miles of spectacular mountains!  Each of our trailhead descriptions on Trails pages includes the number of backcountry camping designated sites accessed by trails from that trailhead.

Backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is permitted in designated places in the Park.  A $20 permit is required.  In the summertime, make advance reservations for your backpacking trip.  The Park's  Backcountry permit offices are located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Kawaneeche Visitor Center.  Contact them at 970-586-1242.

Rocky Mountain National Park's Backcountry Camping Guide with Maps (PDF) contains information on how to plan a trip, obtain a permit, set up camp, hike in a crosscountry area, descriptions of designated sites, stock sites, crosscountry areas, bivouac areas (technical climbers only), and winter areas.

Frequent Backpackers to RMNP have the option to obtain backcountry permits online.  Call the Backcountry Office for more information 970-586-1242.

If you're ready to leave the trails behind, there are also crosscountry areas where you can hike and camp off-trail, and are not limited to a designated site. Reservations and permits are required.  Refer to the Park brochure in Backpack & Camp Links for complete information.

East side Crosscountry Areas:

  • South Cache La Poudre
  • Mount Dickinson
  • Cow Creek
  • Chiquita Creek
  • Upper Forest Canyon
  • Lower Forest Canyon
  • Hayden Gorge
  • Hunters Creek
  • Cony Creek

West side Crosscountry Areas:

  • Cascade Creek
  • Hague Creek
  • Cache La Poudre
  • Mosquito Creek
  • Onahu Creek
  • Nakai Peak
  • Mount Patterson
  • North Inlet
  • Ptarmigan Creek
  • Upper North Inlet
  • Ptarmigan Mountain
  • Mount Enentah
  • Echo Creek
  • Columbine Creek

Kirks MA

Nick Molle