ESTES PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — Rocky Mountain National Park’s largest and most popular campground will be closed for a full year beginning this summer. 

Moraine Park Campground has 244 campsites and hosts about 30,000 campers each year. 

Reservations for sites are usually difficult to come by in the spring, summer and fall because of the campground’s popularity. However, they will soon be impossible to get.

“Moraine Park Campground is going to be closed starting at the end of May through early June of next year as we do a major rehabilitation project there,” RMNP public information officer Kyle Patterson said. 

Moraine Park to get campsite upgrades

The $19 million project is funded by the Great American Outdoors Act and aims to replace Moraine Park’s water, wastewater and electrical systems. 

“We’re going into the Moraine Park campground to mainly do things that a lot of people might not see when we reopen, but it’s really critical services,” Patterson said. 

The project also includes adding electrical hookups at 60 RV sites in the campground, building 15 new accessible sites and relocating several other sites that are prone to flooding. 

In addition to construction, the closure will give the land an opportunity to rest for the first time in decades.

“When you have campgrounds rest like that, you never have experienced that before. So you don’t know how those areas rebound and they rebound pretty darn quickly,” Patterson said. “If we give these places a break, they do pretty well.”

Campers, beware of more competition for sites

She warns visitors hoping to score a campsite at one of the park’s four other campgrounds to get ready for increased competition.

“It will be challenging to get a campsite,” Patterson said. 

Three of the campgrounds that operate on a reservation system, Aspenglen, Glacier Basin and Timber Creek, are already sold out for summer 2023. Reservations open six months in advance. 

“We do have two-week windows, but those are very limited and almost like winning the lottery,” Patterson said. 

A fourth campground, Long’s Peak, offers first come first served tent-only sites.

“In a good year, demand exceeds supply, so this might be the year that they might have to look at another location in the surrounding area and then be ready to camp again in Rocky this next summer of 2024,” Patterson said.