Rocky Mountain National Park will be operating the Hiker Shuttle from May 27 through October 10, from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride Transit Hub located on Bear Lake Road. There are no other stops in the park. At the Park & Ride, riders will transfer to the Bear Lake or Moraine Park shuttles to get to their trailhead destinations.

As part of the park’s overall pilot timed entry system, two things will be needed to ride the Hiker Shuttle: reservation tickets for all passengers plus a valid park entrance pass. One person may reserve up to 4 tickets per $2 reservation. At 5 p.m. the night before, a limited number of tickets will be available for seven specific time slots at RMNP Hiker Shuttle Reservations For example, if you want to reserve a spot on the Hiker Shuttle for May 27, tickets will be available on May 26 at 5 pm. Space is limited, please only reserve the number of seats needed. Park entrance passes are also required. Riders can use an existing annual or lifetime pass, such as a senior pass, or purchase a day pass on recreation.gov. Private vehicle access is not permitted with a Hiker Shuttle ticket.

The Hiker Shuttle will depart from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Bear Lake Road Park & Ride at 9 am, 9:45 am, 10:30 am, 11:15 am, noon, 12:45 pm, 1:30 pm, and 2:15 pm, May 27 through October 10. Passengers are required to depart from the Estes Park Visitor Center using the specific time slot reserved.

The Hiker Shuttle will return from the Park & Ride to the Estes Park Visitor Center roughly every 45 minutes beginning at 9:45 am through 5:15 pm. Passengers can return using any Hiker Shuttle throughout the day. The last shuttle will depart from the Bear Lake Road Park & Ride at 5:15 pm. There are no other buses back to the Estes Park Visitor Center after this time. For further details on the Hiker Shuttle and the Bear Lake and Moraine Park routes please visit RMNP Shuttle Buses

The Hiker Shuttle route has been in place since 2006, however it was not operational in 2020 and 2021. In 2019, there were over 45,000 park visitors who utilized the Hiker Shuttle. Park visitors can park at the Estes Park Visitor Center parking garage or utilize the existing town of Estes Park transit system to ride from their lodging or other locations to the Estes Park Visitor Center. Since 2017, wait times for the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center were often between one to two hours.

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest national parks; third in the country in 2019 with over 4.6 million visitors. This represents a 42 percent increase in visitation in seven years. Visitor crowding and congestion at the park have led to increased negative impacts to visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience and operational capacity. The park has piloted various visitor use management strategies over the last six years, including managing vehicle access to first-come, first serve (2016-2019) in highly congested areas. These first-come, first-serve restrictions had some limited success initially, but over time began to lose effectiveness; the length of time they were necessary kept expanding and impacts were pushed elsewhere. The park piloted park wide timed entry permit reservation systems (2020-2021) and will be piloting a similar system again in 2022. Park staff are learning from these various strategies since 2016, including piloting timed entry reservations on the Hiker Shuttle, to help inform long-range day use visitor access strategies. 

For more detailed information on how to book a private vehicle timed entry and details about the times of day they are required as well as Frequently Asked Questions, please visit www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm 

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit www.nps.gov/romo, follow the park on social media @RockyNPS or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

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