Beginning May 27, Rocky Mountain National Park is increasing the all-day vehicle pass from $25 to $30. The fee increase is necessary for Rocky Mountain National Park to improve and maintain high quality visitor service. While basic park operations are funded through direct funds from Congress, park-collected recreational user fees are used to support new projects and ongoing maintenance of park facilities that directly enhance the visitor experience.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the few national parks that has a one-day vehicle entry pass. This day pass was introduced in October 2015. All other park entry fees, including the RMNP seven-day pass ($35 per week), RMNP annual pass ($70 per year), and all multi-agency America the Beautiful passes, remain the same.
Winter campground fees will increase from $20 to $30 per night effective October 12, 2022. Summer campground fees will increase from $30 to $35 per night beginning in Summer 2023. Additionally, group campsite fees increase by $10 for each tier in group size to $50/$60/$70. Increased campground fees will offset increases in costs associated with garbage disposal, vault toilet and janitorial services, general site maintenance and winter snow plow operations. Longs Peak Campground, which is open for tents only in the summer, stays at $30 a night as there are no flush toilets and campers must bring their own drinking water.
In the fall of 2021, Rocky Mountain National Park staff solicited public comment on the proposed fee increases. During the public comment period, the park received 264 formal comments related to the park’s proposed fee changes. Most commenters expressed support for the proposed changes to the one-day vehicle access pass and overnight fees for Frontcountry campgrounds, often emphasizing the importance of funding park maintenance, operations, and resource conservation. Commentators opposing fee increases often cited socio-economic concerns and affordability for all visitors.
Park staff are committed to keeping Rocky Mountain National Park affordable and providing the best possible experience for all visitors. This fee increase is still incredible value when you consider other comparable family and leisure experiences. These campground fee increases are based on comparable charges for similar services at nearby campgrounds. Additionally, 80 percent of those funds stay here at Rocky to benefit visitors.
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is the legislation under which the park currently collects entrance and amenity fees. This law allows parks to withhold 80 percent of fees collected for projects that directly benefit visitors. The remaining 20 percent are spread over the national park system.
Some of the projects funded by collecting entrance station and campground fees at Rocky Mountain National Park include:
Mitigation of hazard trees: The park is among many areas along the Rocky Mountains where trees have died from a beetle epidemic. Recreational fee monies have funded extensive hazard tree mitigation in or near built-up areas and other popular park features such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors, residential areas and visitor centers.
Trail repairs and improvements: Many trail repair projects have been funded by recreational fee funds, e.g. These include repairing washed-out sections of trail, installing bridges, and installing safe toilets at high-traffic trailheads.
Wilderness Campsite Improvements: Rocky Mountain National Parks’ wilderness campgrounds are used by thousands of backcountry campers each year. Recreation fee funds help fund the maintenance of these valued campgrounds.
Bear management: Park entry and campground fees help keep bears in Rocky Mountain National Park wild. Thanks in part to fee dollars collected over the past 20 years, 100% of the park’s trash cans, recycling bins, and dumpsters are now bear-resistant. The park has also grown from zero food storage lockers to 352. Your recreation fees also help support visitor education programs that focus on black bears.
Restoration of Historic Rock Faces along Trail Ridge Road: The historic rock faces along Trail Ridge Road ensure visitor safety and a visually pleasing drive. Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, funding from the Recreation Fees program allows damaged sections of these rock faces to be restored by Rocky Mountain National Park employees who specialize in rock work.
In 2020, 3.3 million park visitors spent an estimated $224 million in local gateway regions while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, despite the global Covid pandemic, historic wildfires and the park’s first piloted timed entry permit reservation system . These spendings supported a total of 3,190 jobs, $121 million in labor income, $208 million in value creation, and $342 million in economic output in local gateway economies around Rocky Mountain National Park. Visitor spending data for 2021, tied to 4.4 million visits to the park, will be available later this year.