Rocky Mountain National Park is a national park located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado, USA. The park is 415 square miles (1074 square kilometers), and is primarily known for its mountains, alpine lakes, and diverse wildlife and environments. Visitors should note that the majority of the park’s lodging, restaurants, and other services are primarily located in surrounding regions of the park, such as the Town of Estes Park.
If you’re thinking of exploring Rocky Mountain National Park by e-bike, we will answer all your questions in this article!
Are e-bikes allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park?
Yes, e-bikes are allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park! U.S. federal e-bike laws classify e-bikes as a “low-speed electric bicycle”, which must be a two or three-wheeled vehicle that has fully operable pedals. State requirements in Colorado require an e-bike to have:
- A maximum motor output that must not exceed 750W
- A maximum speed that must not exceed 20 mph (32 km/h)
Additionally, federal law states that cyclists must ride single file at all times and must stay to the right side of the road.
Learn more about the United States’ electric bicycle laws here!
How is Rocky Mountain National Park organized, is it bicycle-friendly?
Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular area for cycling, but riders should first be aware of the rules surrounding e-bikes before embarking on their trip.
Bicycles and e-bikes are permitted on all roads that are open to motor vehicles, including paved and dirt roads, unless otherwise posted. However, the National Park Service (NPS) advises cyclists to be cautious when riding on roads, as they can be narrow and steep with few to no shoulders or designated bike lanes.
The NPS also states that during sunset, sunrise, and other periods of low visibility, cyclists are required to ride with white light or reflector that is visible from a minimum of 500 feet to the front, and with a red light or reflector visible from a minimum 200 feet to the rear.
Where to stay during the trip?
While there is no lodging within the park itself aside from campgrounds, there are a variety of hotels and lodging options in close by surrounding areas of Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you are interested in camping, campground options include Aspenglen Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, Longs Peak Campground, Moraine Park Campground, and Timber Creek Campground. Visitors should be aware that between May 1 through October 15, you can stay up to seven nights in total parkwide. Between November 1 and April 30, visitors can stay an additional 14 nights. Visit the NPS’ “Campgrounds” webpage for more information!
For hotel options around Rocky Mountain National Park, some top-rated spots include Inn at Glen Haven, Allenspark Lodge B&B, Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Meeker Park Lodge, Murphy’s River Lodge, Streamside on Fall River, Estes Park Condos, Blue Door Inn, StoneBrook Resort, Deer Crest Resort, The Maxwell Inn, Silver Moon Inn, and Quality Inn Estes Park. Visit TripAdvisor and Booking.com for more recommendations!
Where can I eat? Or should I take my food with me?
While e-biking within Rocky Mountain National Park, we highly recommend taking food, water, and snacks with you to keep your energy up, particularly since there are not many food spots located within the park (The Trail Ridge Store is the only place where visitors can buy food, bottled water, and other drinks; however, it is only open during the summer).
That said, there are many restaurants located in the surrounding regions, particularly near and within Estes Park! Some of the most popular options include: La Cabana Mexican Bar & Grill, Claire’s Restaurant and Bar, Stella’s Place, The Wild Rose Food and Spirits, SEASONED-An American Bistro, Vino Giu, Inkwell & Brew, Nepal’s Cafe, Munchin House, Himalayan Curry & Kebob, Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant, Sugar Shack, Mama Rose’s Restaurant, Chelito’s, Poppy’s Pizza & Grill, and The Egg Of Estes.
What gear should I take on the trip?
Before embarking on your trip, it’s extremely important to make sure you have all your necessary gear.
E-cyclists should be sure to bring: a helmet, e-bike charger, backpack, water, food/snacks, a front and rear light, sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves, high-visibility and waterproof clothing, extra layers, a bike repair kit and pump, a first aid kit.
If you are planning on camping, you should also be sure to bring your tent, sleeping bag, extra food, extra clothes, dishware, cutlery, reservation information, and a valid ID.
Visitors who are planning on e-biking in Rocky Mountain National Park should also be aware that the weather can be unpredictable, particularly due to the vastly varying altitudes: park roads go up to altitudes as high as 12,000 feet, and cold temperatures, high winds, and thunderstorms are likely to occur.
Higher altitudes also mean lower oxygen levels, so riders planning to traverse high altitudes should be cautious and ideally be acclimatized to these conditions. In the summer, it is also advised to ride before 10AM, as road traffic becomes very heavy afterwards. As well, thunderstorms and lightning become more common after 12PM.
Lastly, the NPS advises riders to let someone know of their bike plans and routes or travel with a group, as cell service is non-existent in many locations in the park.
Where can I charge my e-bike?
There are currently no official locations of e-bike-specific charging stations within Rocky Mountain National Park. Cyclists may be able to charge their e-bike at campgrounds, hotels, cafes, or restaurants.
Additionally, there are two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations available in areas surrounding the park, where riders may be able to charge their e-bikes. The first is located in Estes Park at the Estes Park Visitor Center, at 500 Big Thompson Avenue. The second is in Grand Lake at Grand Lake Marina, located at 1128 Lake Avenue.
What kind of e-bike do I need to ride in Rocky Mountain National Park?
Due to the primarily mountainous and rugged landscapes within Rocky Mountain National Park, we strongly recommend using either an electric mountain bike (eMTB) or a hybrid e-bike.
Where can I rent an e-bike in Rocky Mountain National Park, or should I take one with me?
Yes, there is an e-bike rental option for riders when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. We will highlight the company later in the article!
You also have the option to take your e-bike with you, but first, check to ensure the e-bike is suited to Colorado’s e-bike laws and regulations.
What else can I do while on an e-bike trip in Rocky Mountain National Park?
There are many sights to see and activities to do while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park!
Some top outdoor landscapes to check out include Bear Lake, Alberta Falls, Dream Lake, Longs Peak, Trail Ridge Road, Emerald Lake, Lake Granby, Ouzel Falls, Timberline Falls, Shadow Mountain Lake, Andrews Glacier, Lake Estes, Wild Basin, Cameron Pass, Glacier Gorge, Gem Lake Trail, Alpine Visitor Center, Flattop Mountain, and much more!
If you’re interested in arts and culture, visit the Kauffman House Museum, Art Center of Estes Park, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Saint Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock, Stanley Home Museum and Education Center, Lazy B Chuckwagon and Show, and Historic Fall River Hydro plant.
Lastly, aside from cycling, visitors can partake in hiking, scenic drives, wildlife watching, camping, fishing, and horseback riding!
What is the best time of year to visit Rocky Mountain National Park on an e-bike?
While summertime and weekends in the fall are the busiest times of year in the park, November through April tends to be the best periods to avoid crowds.
In winter (December – March), lower elevations tend to see little to no snow. However, higher elevations see artic-like conditions, including blizzards, high winds, and deep snow. Due to cold weather and snow, we recommend avoiding taking an e-bike trip here in the winter.
Springtime (April – May) usually sees unpredictable weather that ranges between warm, cold, wet, and dry. Trails can still be snow-covered during this time of year. On lower elevations, wildflowers begin to bloom during this season.
Read also: Check out USA best travel destinations by electric bike in this overview article.
In the summertime (June – August), temperatures reach the 70s – 80s Fahrenheit during the day (21 – 30 degrees Celsius) and drop into the 40s at night (4 – 9 degrees Celsius). While this season tends to experience the warmest weather of the year, it is also the most crowded time in the park. As well, afternoon thunderstorms and winds are common during this time.
Lastly, fall (September – November) sees clear and dry weather. Due to the lower volume of tourists at this time, we recommend e-cyclists to visit during the fall if you are looking to avoid crowds.
Resources to help plan your trip
For more general information and planning resources, visit the NPS’ “Rocky Mountain National Park” section on their website.
If you’re interested in renting an e-bike, Backbone Adventures offers e-bike rentals and guided e-bike tours.
For more recommendations on food and restaurants to check out, view Trip Advisor’s list here!
Do not miss the stunning views of Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park: