Visitor Centers in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Staff,

Rocky Mountain National Park visitor centers offer a variety of services, from gift shops, bookstores, guided tours, and more. There are four visitor centers and one museum at the park.

Alpine Visitor Center

Alpine Visitor Center in June. Snow sometimes remains into July despite daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s. 
Alpine Visitor Center Interior with Mountain Overlook Windows. 
Trail Ridge Store and Cafe next to the Alpine Visitor Center.
Fruit and snacks at the Trail Ridge Store next to the Alpine Visitor Center. 

The Alpine Visitor Center is open daily whenever Trail Ridge Road is cleared (Memorial Day through mid October) This large facility is situated at almost 12,000 feet, well above treeline with spectacular views of the Continental Divide and western side of RMNP. It contains a cafeteria, gift shop, and bookstore, in addition to a staffed visitor center with maps and tundra exhibits. When tour buses empty out here, the bathrooms can have long lines, so pick your moment! Several trails lead to vantage points nearby, and rangers occasionally offer guided walks. As with all park visitor centers, parking is free.

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in February.
3D Map of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open daily, except Christmas. Located just outside of Estes Park on US 36, it features a bookstore and movie theater with regular free showings of park films. A few minutes’ walk down a paved sidewalk behind the center is the backcountry desk, the only place on the east side where you can reserve and purchase permits for backcountry campsites in person. Shuttle bus pickup is in the parking lot next to the bathrooms.

Fall River Visitor Center

Fall River Visitor Center. 
Ranger desk and museum inside the Fall River Visitor Center. 
The gift store inside the Fall River Visitor Center. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski
Trailhead Restaurant inside the Fall River Visitor Center. 

Open daily in summer. This station has information on activities and conditions in the park, plus a restaurant, store, gifts, and restrooms. Located a few minutes outside of Estes Park on US 34.

Kawuneeche Visitor Center

Ranger showing animal antlers at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. 
Exhibits inside the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. 

Open daily, except Christmas. Located near the Grand Lake entrance station on US 34, this is the only visitor center on the west side before you reach Alpine. The backcountry desk here is also the only place to pick up backpacking permits on the west side. It contains a gift shop and theater also.

Moraine Park Visitor Center and Museum

Moraine Visitor Center and Museum

Open daily in the summer, the Moraine Park Visitor Center is located on Bear Lake Road, just 1.5 miles beyond the Beaver Meadows entrance. Its primary attractions are exhibits on the flora and fauna of the region. It’s also situated across the road from a broad meadow where elk congregate in late summer and fall. This location is also a shuttle stop.