We love visitor centers. At every state park, national park, and place with a visitor center, we always make sure to stop by — and not just because it’s always a great place for a normal, clean, flush restroom. Vault/pit toilets gross me out!
We’re pretty nerdy and love the historical, cultural, and geological information the visitor centers often provide and the park movies some visitor centers offer. I also like to take a moment to chat with a ranger to get the lay of the land from a local to make sure that I didn’t miss anything on my pre-vacation, day trip, or road trip research.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to discover that Rocky Mountain National Park has several visitor centers that cover the different ecosystems, habitats, and areas of the national park.
List Of Visitor Centers And Information Stations
There are five visitor centers located throughout Rocky Mountain National Park that provide information about the park, museum exhibits and educational opportunities, opportunities to speak with rangers, small bookstores and gift shops, flush restrooms, and more.
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, also known as the Rocky Mountain National Park Administration Building, was built in 1967 by Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices at Taliesin Associated Architects under the Park Service Mission 66 project.
At 8,231 feet elevation, the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is located just outside the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station on Highway 36 in Estes Park, Colorado and is the busiest and most popular visitor center in the park.
Fall River Visitor Center
The Fall River Visitor Center is located just outside the Rocky Mountain National Park Fall River Entrance Station on US Highway 34, five miles west of the town of Estes Park. It shares a building and parking lot with the ginormous Gateway Store and Trailhead Restaurant.
Alpine Visitor Center
At 11,796 feet elevation, the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest elevation visitor center in the entire National Park System.
Sitting at the top of Fall River Pass at the junction of Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road, the Alpine Visitor Center provides absolutely spectacular views of the alpine tundra, Fall River Cirque, Continental Divide, and the Never Summer Mountains. It is also the location of the huge Trail Ridge Store and Cafe — the only restaurant in the national park.
Kawuneeche Visitor Center
The Kawuneeche Visitor Center in the Kawuneeche Valley is the only visitor center on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sitting at 8,720 feet elevation just outside the Grand Lake Entrance Station, the visitor center is often the first stop for visitors staying in nearby Grand Lake, Colorado and the perfect place to get all the information you need to maximize your time in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Moraine Park Discovery Center
Moraine Park Museum And Amphitheater, also called the Moraine Park Discovery Center and the Moraine Park Lodge, are located off Bear Lake Road in Moraine Park, a glaciated meadow between two moraines in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sitting just 1.5 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, the Moraine Park Discovery Center opened in 1923 and features interactive natural history exhibits on the topics of geologic processes, glaciation, weather and climate, ecosystems, and human impact. There is also a small bookstore, a short nature trail, and beautiful views of Moraine Park.
Also located throughout Rocky Mountain National Park are several small information stations, kiosks, and ranger stations to provide additional information about the area. These include:
- Wild Basin Ranger Station
- Bear Lake Information Station
- Sheep Lakes Information Station
- Holzwarth Historic Site Information Station
While the Bear Lake ranger station is staffed all day, we visited Sheep Lakes several times during our visit, and that information station was only open and staffed in the middle of the day. In Wild Basin, a ranger was walking through the parking area chatting with visitors, and at the Holzwarth Historic Site, rangers are staffed at the old miners cabin by the parking lot.
Know Before You Go
- The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is located at 1000 US Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517 in Larimer County. It is open year-round from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm with reduced hours in Fall, Winter, and Spring. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- The Fall River Visitor Center is located at 3450 Fall River Road, Estes Park, Colorado 80517 in Larimer County. It is open year-round from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from late Spring through mid-Fall. It is closed for the winter except for select holiday dates and closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- Alpine Visitor Center is located in Fall River Pass on Trail Ridge Road at the junction of Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road in Larimer County, Colorado. It is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Memorial Day weekend through mid-October, depending on weather. It, along with a large portion of Trail Ridge Road, is closed in the winter due to snow.
- The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is located at 16018 US Highway 34, Grand Lake, Colorado 80447 in Grand County. It is open year-round from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm with reduced hours in Fall, Winter, and Spring. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- The Moraine Park Discovery Center, also known as the Moraine Park Museum And Amphitheater and the Moraine Park Lodge, is located on Bear Lake Road in Estes Park, Colorado 80517, in Larimer County. It is open daily late Spring through mid-Fall from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with reduced hours in late fall and spring. It is closed during the winter.
- Food, drinks, and pets are not allowed in any Rocky Mountain National Park visitor centers. The National Park Service welcomes service animals that have been individually trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities.