The National Park Service is recommending visitors come to Rocky Mountain National Park on the weekdays, and not on the weekends. I would 'call in sick,' but 'sick' is a four-letter word not taken lightly these days.

However, Rocky Mountain National Park is seeing such a high volume of park guests on winter weekends, so if you're planning on visiting the Bear Lake area, it may not be a bad idea to make your trip on a weekday, if it's possible.

'We often restrict vehicle access on weekends to the Bear Lake parking area when crowding and congestion warrants, so visitors should plan ahead and come during the week if possible,' a NPS spokesperson Kyle Patterson said in an email.

Bear Lake in Winter
NPS photo by Ann Schonlau

If you are in the backcountry, always check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website first, NPS also suggested. Last weekend, two avalanches in Colorado were triggered by humans, who required rescue.

'When recreating in the park in the winter always be prepared for the possibility of snow, freezing temperatures, short winter daylight hours, cold winds and changing winter weather,' Patterson said.

In the winter, snow can bury signs and trails, and NPS warns that following others' footprints can get you lost. NPS recommends 'having a topographic map and compass or a Global Positioning System (GPS)'

'Parking lots at Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge and Hidden Valley fill early on weekends and sometimes,' Patterson said. 'Planning ahead is critical!'

For all of the latest park information, visit

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