Hanging Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park Camping Reservations: When And How To Get Yours

March 2, 2021
Processed with VSCO with g3 presetProcessed with VSCO with g3 presetAlex Scoville/CPR News
Finch Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you were hoping to hammer down a date for your spring or summer camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, you might have to wait a little longer to secure it.

The annual online rush for Colorado campers to secure backcountry permits in Rocky Mountain National Park has been delayed following widespread website glitches that shut down the reservation system earlier this week. Instead, would-be campers have to wait until next Monday, March 8, to make their reservations.

The National Park Service reservation system crashed Monday shortly after going live for the season. The Park Service blamed the problem on the federal government’s online payment platform, pay.gov.

Park officials told The Denver Post a few people were able to work through the glitches and make RMNP reservations, but that the reservation system was quickly shut down in the interest of fairness.

The park said it plans to have the pay.gov bugs addressed by next Monday, when the backcountry permit application process opens up again at 8 a.m. They said they will provide guidance later this week on how the process will go.

Meanwhile, permits to visit Colorado’s famous Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs are set to be released on April 1. The iconic landmark was nearly destroyed in the Grizzly Creek Wildfire last summer.

The city of Glenwood Springs, which manages visitation to the lake, plans to open the destination up to permit holders at the beginning of May. A representative from the city’s visitor center said a meeting will be held later this week to finalize details. 

Backcountry reservations for many other Colorado landmarks that see less pressure, such as Great Sand Dunes National Park, are available on a rolling and continuous basis.

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