Locals and frequent visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park’s busy east side rarely drive past the Park & Ride in the park between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the summer and early fall. There’s too much traffic then and too little parking at popular trailheads. So follow their example and either get behind your wheel only during early or late hours—or take the bus. The park’s free shuttle service is an easygoing way to see the sites and avoid parking hassles, and it’s the only way to get directly to some trailheads when parking lots fill. All dates are snow dependent; stops vary by route. The park’s free shuttle buses operate late spring, summer and early fall. The buses do not run in late fall, winter or early spring.
Rocky Mountain National Park Shuttles
Bear Lake Bus Route
Runs every 15 minutes between the Park & Ride and Bear Lake. This popular road has trailheads and campgrounds with limited parking.
- Daily Service May 28 – October 10, 2016
- Runs between Park & Ride and Bear Lake
- Leaves Park & Ride every 10-15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Makes stops at the Park & Ride, Bierstadt lake Trailhead, Glacier Gorge Trailhead and Bear Lake
Moraine Park Bus Route
Runs every 30 minutes between the Park & Ride and Fern Lake trailheads.
- Daily Service May 28 – Oct. 10, 2016
- Runs between Park & Ride and Fern Lake Bus Stop
- Leaves Park & Ride every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Makes stops at Park & Ride, Sprague Lake/Glacier Creek Livery, Hollowell Park, Tuxedo Park, Moraine Park Visitor Center, Moraine Park Campground (C-Loop), Cub Lake Trailhead and Fern Lake Bus Stop
Hiker Shuttle Express Route from Estes Park
This shuttle leaves from the Estes Park Visitor Center and stops at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center before entering the park. Inside the park this express bus only stops at the Park & Ride where you can transfer to another shuttle. Park pass required.
- Daily Service June 25 – Sept. 11, then weekends Sept. 17-18, Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-2, October 8-9-10, 2016
- Makes stops at the Estes Park Visitor Center, the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Park & Ride near Sprague Lake
- First bus leaves the Estes Park Visitor Center at 7:30 a.m. and last bus leaves Park & Ride at 8 p.m.
- Hiker Shuttle runs on an hourly schedule early and late in the day, switching to a half-hour schedule from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Estes Park Visitor Shuttles
The town of Estes Park also provides free visitor shuttles from its downtown visitor center to the Beaver Meadows entrance station (where you can connect with the park shuttle) and various stops in town. The five shuttle routes operate daily from June 25 through Sept. 11 in 2016. Get more details at Visit Estes Park.
Grand Lake Taxi Service
While the town of Grand Lake on the park’s west side does not operate a shuttle service, there is a private taxi service, Valley Taxi, that will do pick ups and drop offs to and from trailheads or to Estes Park, the gateway town on the park’s east side.
For those who want to really reduce their carbon footprint, the taxi service will pick you up from the Fraser train station and transport you to a park campground or even the hot springs in Hot Sulphur Springs outside the park. Owner Mike Delucia charges $40 per hour plus half the total amount (to pay for his return drive). Reach Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-726-4940 or at www.valleytaxiinc.com/taxi/.