ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) — Rocky Mountain National Park remains one of the nation’s most popular parks each year. With Independence Day upon us, thousands of families are headed to the park for the holiday weekend.
The park saw more than 4.5 million visitors in 2018, averaging more than 12,300 guests per day. Spokesperson Kyle Patterson told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that average was expected to spike during the holiday weekend.
“I kind of use Colorado to recharge my batteries,” said Ira Lipton, a native of New York who visits the park with his family annually. “This is the 40th summer we have come to Rocky Mountain National Park.”
Though busy, the Lipton Family said their annual trip to the park was worthwhile, even with lines just to get in.
“We like to share this with our family,” said Lorraine Lipton.
Some families told CBS4 the key to a successful holiday in the park was heading to your preferred destination early into the morning.
“We come up pretty much every year for the fourth,” said John McGrew, a father who visits the park with his family.
“We love to come up here and see all of the animals,” his son said.
The McGrew’s said they often rise early, and are leaving the park by the time the crowds are arriving.
“There are way too many people up there right now,” one girl said.
With such a beautiful park in Colorado, Patterson said there were some key tips to taking advantage of the park.
“You should really expect long lines at our entrance stations, full parking lots. The weather is glorious. But, you certainly need to be mindful that above 10,000 feet we still have a lot of snow,” Patterson said. “Settle in and realize you are going to be sharing the park with a lot of other folks as well.”
Officials also encourage visitors to use the park shuttle.
For those hoping to camp in the park during the holiday, experts say it is likely far too late.
Hundreds of reserved camping spots are booked six months prior to the holiday weekends.