Start planning your summer wilderness camping trip! Camping permits for Rocky Mountain National Park are available online—only this year.

Anyone looking to camp in the wilderness at Rocky Mountain National Park this summer should start planning now. Reservation requests for summer wilderness camping are online-only this year due to the pandemic. The system opens on March 1. Beginning at 8 a.m., visitors can head here to the RMNP website, where a link will be available to reserve a campsite. The park will only accept online reservation requests until March 15 for the calendar year.

In January, the park announced their annual in-person lottery for wilderness camping reservations would not take place because of COVID-19 safety regulations. In past years, backcountry hikers would come together at the park's Wilderness Office in March. They would all participate in a lottery for wilderness camping permits. In 2020, nearly 100 people showed up for the unforgettable event.

According to the RMNP wilderness camping webpage, there are numerous wilderness campsites, ranging in locations for beginner backpackers to more seasoned hikers looking for a more challenging, multi-day experience. The park's backcountry camping website has various guides and maps to help visitors plan their adventure. 

In 2020, there were 267 wilderness campsites available in 120 areas. This year, however, there will be fewer sites because of regions affected by the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak fires. 

Park officials are still assessing the fire impacts on designated areas in the park. 

Are you planning a backcountry camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer? How do you feel about the new online reservation system? Let us know in the comments.