Can You Camp for Free in Rocky Mountain National Park?

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful and popular national parks in the United States. With over 300 miles of trails and stunning views in every direction, it’s no wonder that visitors flock to this park. One of the questions visitors often ask is if they can camp for free in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The answer is yes, you can camp for free in Rocky Mountain National Park, but there are several important things to consider before doing so. First, you must obtain a backcountry permit from the park’s visitor center or online.

This permit will allow you to camp anywhere within the park boundaries but not on any developed camping sites or roads. Additionally, you must practice Leave No Trace ethics and adhere to all backcountry regulations when camping in the park.

When camping for free in Rocky Mountain National Park, it is important to plan ahead and be prepared for all weather conditions. The elevation of the park ranges from 8,000 feet to over 12,000 feet so temperatures can drop significantly at night and snow can fall even in summer months.

Be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear for any conditions you may encounter during your stay. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a map with you as cell phone service can be spotty at times.

Due to its popularity, finding an ideal camping spot within Rocky Mountain National Park can sometimes be difficult. If possible, try to arrive early at your chosen destination as spaces fill up quickly during peak season (June through September). It is also important to note that fires are only allowed in designated fire rings so plan accordingly if you intend on having a fire while camping.

In conclusion, it is possible to camp for free in Rocky Mountain National Park with the proper permits and planning. Keep in mind that all Leave No Trace ethics must be followed when camping within this beautiful national park and come prepared for any weather conditions that may arise during your stay.


Camping for free in Rocky Mountain National Park is possible with a backcountry permit and adherence to all regulations set forth by the park rangers. Be sure to come prepared with appropriate gear and clothing as temperatures can drop dramatically at night and plan ahead by arriving early if possible as spaces fill up quickly during peak season.

Photo of author

Chris Powell