Glacier Basin Campground (8,500 feet) is adjacent to Estes Park in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
From lush valleys to craggy peaks with elevations reaching over 14,000 feet, visitors are provided opportunities for countless breathtaking experiences and adventures.
Scenic driving, hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing are popular activities in the park.
Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of hiking trails that range from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain climbs. Visitors enjoy the park's various lake trails (Bear Lake, Cub Lake, Mills Lake), waterfall trails (Adams Falls, Alberta Falls, Ouzel Falls) and summit trails (Deer Mountain, Twin Sisters Peaks, Flattop Mountain).
The park offers some unforgettable scenic driving routes, including Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road. Trail Ridge Road reaches 12,183' above sea level and is America's highest continuous highway. It climbs above the park's evergreen forests to its windswept alpine tundra, where visitors enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Driving along the historic Old Fall River Road is like motoring through an earlier era. Constructed in 1920, this steep, one-way, uphill, gravel road punctuated by switchbacks, quietly leads travelers from Horseshoe Park through the park's wilderness to Fall River Pass, 11796' above sea level.
Several visitor centers are within the park, offering ranger-led activities, education and history about the park, and seasonal nighttime programs.
Glacier Basin Campground contains several group and family tent-only sites, as well as RV sites without hookups. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring with grate and tent pad. Roads and parking spurs are paved. Flush toilets and drinking water are provided.
Rocky Mountain National Park's free shuttle bus stops in the campground, which is also across the street from Park & Ride, the park's main shuttle system hub. The shuttle system provides access to many park trailheads throughout the Bear Lake corridor and to the town of Estes Park.
Due to a pine beetle epidemic, all the trees in the C Loop, D Loop and the Group Loop have been removed, leaving little to no shade in these areas. However, the tree removal has opened up beautiful views of the mountains.
A pleasant mix of Douglas fir, Lodgepole pine, Ponderosa pine and the occasional Engelmann spruce, forests the campground, offering equal amounts of sun and shade. Grasses, shrubs and seasonal wildflowers fill the open meadows.
Wildlife is plentiful in the park, and while mule deer and the majestic Rocky Mountain elk are the most commonly seen, black bear, coyote, bighorn sheep and moose inhabit the region as well.
The town of Estes Park lies just outside the park's main east entrances, and is a short drive from Glacier Basin Campground. Dining, shopping, rafting, fly fishing, horseback riding, and golfing opportunities await. Lake Estes offers boating, sailboarding, and fishing.
ADA Access: N
Glacier basin is one of our favorite campgrounds in RMNP. Our June 2019 site was in loop b. The site didn’t have any shade but it had spectacular views all around. The site was level and had a picnic table, fire ring and a bear box. The campground is close to sprague lake and an easy walk to the park and ride to bear lake. The bathrooms were clean but had no showers.
Beautiful campground with great amenities. Nice flush toilets with running water, sinks, very clean. Water available throughout the campground and solar showers and a dishwashing station. We had spotty cell service which is fine. A short hike takes you to sprague lake or the park and ride shuttle to bear lake area. The shuttle does come into the camp, but due to construction it was easier to walk over to the park and ride. If possible take the drive up through the park to grand lakes via the alpine visitor center!
Glacier Basin Campground is located in RMNP. The spots fill up quickly and it is a good idea to make reservations online ahead of time. We've stayed here in loop B where it is open for the most part but the tent sites are spread further apart. In loop C the campsites are closer together but there are more trees providing some privacy for those who want it. Glacier Basin campground is a short walk from park and ride which is a free shuttle that will take you to many different spots throughout the park so you don't have to drive each day.
We stayed at site C97 for 5 nights. This site had a bearbox. Was close enough to the bathrooms and drinking water. We had amazing views all around due to the lack of trees. There was a vendor on site almost every evening from 530pm to 8pm selling firewood and ice. There were ranger programs every evening at 9pm. We also had the pleasure of seeing double rainbows three times during our stay! And if the moon hadn't been so bright every evening the star gazing would have been second to none. I would highly recommend staying at this campground again. I was unsure going in, because I knew there wouldn't be much shade or privacy…but we were out exploring all day and only really at our campsite for dinner through breakfast. If you plan to spend midday at your campsite, maybe consider a different option.
Glacier Basin campground is one of three in RMNP. There are 150 standard and 12 group campsites. The sites are distributed in 4 loops with each site having a picnic table, tent pads, and fire grates. There is a limit of 35 feet for RV/Trailer length. Due to pine beetle infestation in the area, many of the trees have been removed. Glacier is open from late May to September with a maximum stay of 7 nights. Campsites are quite close together, but there are quiet hours and limits to generator use.
There are trails the leave right from the campground, the free shuttle bus makes a stop near the check in station, and the Park & Ride is a short walk away. The location is very convenient to the most popular hikes in RMNP.
Lots of people
Make reservations early. Glacier Basin campground was a awesome place to camp. I suggest camping near the southern portion of the area where you can have a little more privacy while being close to the bathhouse. Beautiful views and quick trail access while having just a short drive to glacier gorge trail head.
Loved this campground. The tent areas were pretty open, but plenty of options if you book super early.
Make reservations early. Fills up fast because it is such a great place to camp. Nice pads. Firing rings.Accessible bathrooms. No showers. Firewood sold next to the entrance by the same husband and wife that have been selling firewood there for 35 years. There is a shed full of firewood. The wife was selling firewood from the back of their truck when we visited. They only sell firewood at certain times so check for times so look to your left on the way into the campground. Bear Lake is accessible and the view are stunning. Lots of trails of varying lengths and the difficulty: from easy to more challenging. You can hike fro Glacier Basin to Sprague Lake. It is popular fly fishing spot and there are hiking trails that branch off from the trails around the lake. You can bike from the campground to Bear Lake. Bear Meadows Visitor's Center is close by. It's worth a visit. "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." MyRockyMountain.com