"backcountry red tape & etiquette" Top 5 Page for this destination Rocky Mountain National Park Local Custom Tip by richiecdisc

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Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park's backcountry is one of the park's true delights. This is one park that has backpacking trails to fit all skill and fitness levels. They even have one spot that is wheel-chair accessible. Many of the trails are quite short which is unusual compared to backcountry camping in most other US National Parks. For that reason, the park limits the number of nights you can spend in camping in theirs. Between June and September, you can only spend 7 nights in the backcountry. The rest of the year is limited to 14 with an overall maximum of 21 nights.

Though backcountry camping is free, during peak months there is a $20 administrative fee regardless of how many nights. This fee is charged when you pick up the permit, not when reserving it. You can reserve by mail or phone beginning March 1st for that calendar year. Walk-in permits are available year-round.

When you get to the park, stop by a backcountry ranger station right away and ask for a free backcountry planner which has a sketch map detailing the various campgrounds. These are very helpful as are rangers in guiding you to good choices.

In camp, store food so bears cannot get to it, cook with a backpacking stove as fires are not permitted. Treat drinking water no matter how pure it looks and tastes as giardia can be present. Boiling is safe but must be done for 5 minutes and at high elevation you use more fuel for such purposes. Chemical and filters are your other choices. Both have their merits. I prefer a filter despite the extra weight. There's not like drinking cold mountain water when you want and need it. Chemical treatment takes time and can impart unpleasant flavors.

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 23, 2009
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richiecdisc

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