Everything to Know About Rocky Mountain National Park’s Campgrounds

Posted by
Kristen Arendt
August 14, 2023
Updated October 24, 2023

Photo: Sonja Wilkinson/Shutterstock

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If you’ve ever spent an afternoon at Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll know that a day trip barely scratches the surface of everything the park has to offer — which is why a camping trip to this beloved national park is a must-do.

From outstanding vistas to epic wildlife watching and stunning night skies — all right from your campsite —  Rocky Mountain National Park’s five campgrounds offer the opportunity to slow down and revel in all the glory of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for hiking, climbing, fishing, wildlife watching, photography, wildflower spotting or simply pulling up a chair and relaxing around your campfire, the park offers a spot to escape the ordinary.

Keep in mind that the park’s campsites are in high demand during the summer and reservations can be difficult to get. Depending on the campground, some sites are available to book up to six months in advance while others are available on a short-term release. Do your research and set a calendar reminder so you can jump online and get your reservation before all the best sites are gone.

Related read: Traveler’s Guide to the Best Colorado National Parks

Aspenglen Campground


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Why you should go: a prime spot for exploring the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park or popping into the town of Estes Park for dinner, snacks, or shopping.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Late spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tent/RV
  • RV hookups: None

Pros: Conveniently located on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspenglen is a short drive from the Fall River entrance and Fall River Visitor Center. From this basecamp you can easily drive to downtown Estes Park or embark on a host of adventures, from driving Trail Ridge Road to exploring the many trailheads off of Old Fall River Road.

The campsites are semi-secluded by pine forests interspersed with nice views of meadows filled with wildflowers in the summer.

Cons: Reservations open 6 months in advance and fill quickly, so if you forget to mark your calendar or aren’t ready to plan a camping vacation that far in advance, you might not get a reservation — or you may have limited options.

Though the forested landscape offers privacy and shade, you won’t enjoy the same dramatic sweeping mountain views as some of the other campgrounds in the park. And don’t expect total solitude: many reviewers note that, depending on your neighbors, the campground can be somewhat noisy due to boisterous groups and RV generators.

If you go: Aspenglen Campground Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517, 970-586-1206

Related read: When to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Glacier Basin Campground


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Why you should go: outstanding mountain views and easy access to trailheads throughout the park.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Late spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tent/RV
  • RV hookups: None

Pros: Depending on which of the 150 sites you reserve here, you’ll either enjoy a peaceful, shaded spot surrounded by ponderosa pines, or wide open views highlighted by the beauty of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. In the summer, the meadows are dotted with wildflowers, and you’ll have a good chance of spotting wildlife.

The campground roads and parking spurs are paved which makes it easier to navigate and set up with an RV or trailer, and the campground has flush toilets and drinking water. The park’s free shuttle bus stops at the campground, making it easy to get around the park and Estes Park without having to vie for a parking spot.

As one visitor noted, “Super easy access to all areas of the park via the great bus system. I stayed four nights and never moved my car!”

Cons: As a popular campground, sites can be difficult to reserve so you may have a hard time getting your first choice. The C, D, and Group loops are open and rather exposed since most of the trees have been removed due to the pine beetle. This means you’ll have less shade in the summer and be more exposed to wind and stormy weather.

If you go: Highway 36 West, Estes Park, CO 80517, 970-586-1206

Longs Peak Campground


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Why you should go: the perfect spot for anyone looking to scale the 14,259-foot Longs Peak, or who wants to do some day hikes on less congested trails.

  • Reservations accepted: First-come, first-served
  • Best season: Summer
  • Campsite type: Tent
  • RV hookups: None

Pros: This first-come, first-served campground is smaller and less busy than other campgrounds in the park. The 26 small sites at Longs Peak Campground are forested and too small for RVs. With no RVs around, you won’t have to worry about noisy generators.

The campground is located on the southeastern side of the park so you don’t have to drive through Estes Park or navigate the crowds along Trail Ridge Road to get there. And, best of all, from your tent site, you’ll enjoy great views of Longs Peak.

Cons: With tent-only sites, this small campground is not RV-friendly. And due to its high altitude (9,500 feet), the campground is only open in the summer months, making for a short camping season. The sites are first-come, first-served, which can make it hard to snag a spot on popular summer weekends and holidays unless you arrive early.

This is a basic campground with vault toilets and no water or other amenities. And though it won’t be as busy as Rocky Mountain National Park’s larger campgrounds, don’t expect total solitude. Many campers note that noise from nearby Camp Timberline, a summer camp for kids, can disturb the peaceful mountain vibes.

If you go: Longs Peak Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517, 970-586-1206

More information:

Moraine Park Campground

Editor’s note: Moraine Park Campground is CLOSED until the end of summer 2024 for a renovation project.

Why you should go: gorgeous views, lots of wildlife, and prime access to some of the best trails in the park.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes from May to October; first-come, first-served October to May
  • Best season: Late spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tent/RV
  • RV hookups: Coming 2024

Pros: Located about a ten-minute drive from the Beaver Meadows Visitors Center, Moraine Park Campground is a great base camp for exploring the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. From the campground, you can walk up the road to the Fern Lake Trailhead or hop on the park shuttle to catch a ride to another area of the park.

Once you’ve had your fill of hiking and nature viewing, Estes Park is just a short drive away. Also, this is the only campground in Rocky Mountain National Park that’s open in the winter.

Cons: Not all 244 sites are created equal. According to reviewers, some of the sites are very close together and can be quite noisy (pack earplugs). The larger sites can accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups.

During the summer months, the campground does offer additional amenities like drinking water, a dump station, and trash and recycling containers.

If you go: US-36, Estes Park, CO 80517, 970-586-1206

More information:

​​Timber Creek Campground


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Why you should go: scenic views along the Colorado River, with access to the town of Grand Lake and the less-traveled western half of Rocky Mountain National Park.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tent/RV
  • RV hookups: None

Pros: As the only campground on the western side of the park, Timber Creek Campground offers a distinct experience with access to parts of the park that many people overlook.

You can enjoy easily accessible viewpoints along the wide river valley or opt to get out on foot to explore the less-traveled trails of the park. Bowen-Baker Trailhead is one of my favorites. From the campground itself, you have a chance to spot wildlife such as moose which frequently graze along the river in the mornings or evenings.

Cons: In the fall of 2020, the East Troublesome Fire burned a huge swath of land including the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and a large stretch of forest along Highway 34. Though the campground wasn’t directly affected, the burn scar is still evident, as is the continued impact of pine beetles in the area.

If you can see past the burnt and dead trees, the area is still lovely to explore. The campground isn’t anything fancy, so make sure you’re happy with basic amenities and no hookups before booking.

If you go: Timber Creek Campground, Grand Lake, CO 80447, 970-586-1206

Related read: 10 Epic Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park

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