Rocky Mountain National Park Visitor Centers

Learn about Rocky Mountain National Park's visitor centers and other visitor services in the park. Find out where each one is located, what facilities they have, and what services they provide.

There are four main visitor centers in Rocky Mountain National Park. All of these have rangers on hand to answer your questions. They all have bathrooms and also small gift stores with books, shirts, mugs, etc., that help support the work of the national park.

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center

The main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is the Beaver Meadows Entrance on Colorado Highway 36. Just one mile before the entrance station is the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on the south side of the road. This small building was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and is in the national register of historic buildings. As such, it hasn’t changed much since it was built. I’m sure the builders never imagined that the visitation of Rocky Mountain National Park would have grown so much.

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center tucked into the trees below Longs Peak

This building serves as both the visitor center for the public and the main administrative offices for Rocky Mountain National Park. Inside the entrance you’ll find a large desk where rangers are ready to assist you with planning your visit or answering your questions. You’ll also find a small gift store run by the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that supports Rocky Mountain National Park. Downstairs is an auditorium where there is often a short movie playing, providing a wonderful introduction to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rangers ready to answer your questions in the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center

There are public toilets available outside the main entrance and down to the northeast in a separate building near the entrance. Also, a short walk past the toilets will bring you to the Wilderness Office which oversees camping in the wilderness areas of Rocky Mountain National Park.

This visitor center is open all year round.

Fall River Visitor Center

The Fall River Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is reached via Colorado Highway 34 coming out of Estes Park. Just before you reach the entrance station you’ll see the Fall River Visitor Center on the left side of the road, attached to the Rocky Mountain Gateway gift store and Trailhead Restaurant.

The Fall River Visitor Center is the newest visitor center. It is much more spacious than all of the others and has a large exhibit featuring much of the wildlife that you will find in the national park. The Visitor Center also has a gift store, and a ranger desk. They often have activities and ranger programs happening downstairs. This visitor center also has public toilets available.

This visitor center is open all year round.

Alpine Visitor Center

High up in the tundra at an elevation of 11,796' (3595 m), at the intersection of Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road lies the Alpine Visitor Center. This is the highest visitor center in the national park system. It’s a lovely log building, designed to handle the deep snow of winter. In the spring the building is completely buried in the snow and has to be excavated with large snow removal equipment.

This visitor center offers a ranger desk, a small gift store, and an interactive exhibit about the alpine tundra and its wildlife. On the back side of the visitor center is a balcony where you can enjoy wonderful views. You may even find marmots playing at the base of the building below the balcony.

During the winter the buildings up here and the roads leading up here are closed. To see more photos and learn more see this article.

Winter at the Alpine Visitor Center

On the north side of the building, you will find a bathroom. If this is closed or busy, there is another one on the opposite side of the parking lot.

Next door is the Trail Ridge Store. This is not a visitor center but is rather a concessionaire run by a for-profit company that sells merchandise and some food. There is no information desk nor any park rangers working in the building. You can read more about the Trail Ridge Store at the bottom of this page.

Kawuneeche Visitor Center

The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is located north of Grand Lake just before you reach the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Inside you’ll find rangers ready to answer your questions, a small gift shop with books on the park as well as souvenirs. You’ll also find an interactive display about some of the wildlife you’ll find on the west side of the park. There is also a small auditorium where there are regular presentations. Next to the store is the west branch of the wilderness office that handles wilderness camping in the park. Also in this building are the administrative offices for the west side of Rocky.

There are toilets located in the building but accessed from the outside, near the building entrance.

This visitor center is open all year round.

Other Services in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bear Lake Ranger Station

When you visit Bear Lake, you will find the Bear Lake Ranger station between the parking lot and the trailhead. During the busy days of the year this ranger station typically has volunteers and rangers available to answer your questions. They occasionally have educational displays out. They also offer a small selection of items to purchase such as small bottles of water and maps.

Wilderness Office

Mid-May snow at the Wilderness Office

If you are planning on wilderness camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, then you'll need to pick up your permit from the Wilderness Office. This is located just a few minutes walk from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. From the visitor center head towards the toilets and continue past them down a gentle path through the meadow. It will lead you past some delightful quotes etched in the rocks and to the door of a little cabin that serves as the Wilderness Office. You won't find a more helpful group of people anywhere. These rangers will bend over backwards to help you have the best time possible visiting the wild areas of Rocky Mountain National Park, while at the same time helping to ensure that you stay safe and protect this special place.

Moraine Park Nature Store

Above Moraine Park on the northeast side is the Moraine Park Nature Store. It has a wonderful view over Moraine Park and out towards the Continental Divide. At this location you'll find a large gift store. They also have toilets available. This location is only open during the summer and early autumn.

Hidden Valley Ranger Station / Jr. Ranger Headquarters

At Hidden Valley (the former ski area) you'll find a building which serves multiple needs. During the summer season it operates as Junior Ranger Headquarters with programs for children. In the winter it has a warming room where you can take a break from sledding. It also has bathrooms with flush toilets. During the summer and busy winter days you are likely to find rangers or volunteers here who can answer your questions.

Sheep Lakes Information Station

This is not a visitor center but rather a small shed that is manned by a ranger or a park volunteer during the busy summer season to help provide education about the bighorn sheep that visit these small ponds each day. They will know almost everything there is to know about bighorn sheep and will be happy to answer your questions. There is no toilet here, nor any other services. This location is open seasonally.

The Trail Ridge Store

At the top of Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road you'll find the Alpine Visitor Center, mentioned above, but next door is the Trail Ridge Store. This store is the largest in the park and offers a wide variety of shirts, mugs, books, and other souvenirs. It also serves food, coffee and other drinks and provides a stunning view from its dining room. Unlike the other services in Rocky Mountain National Park, this store is run by a concessionaire rather than by the National Park Service.