Spending a day or two in Estes Park, Colorado, and Rocky Mountain National Park is like a getaway to another land.

Getting there, though, can sometimes make you wish you stayed home.

Traffic congestion and paltry parking, like just about anywhere in Colorado these days, can disrupt a casual getaway. And now that Rocky Mountain National Park has a timed entry system, visiting the park takes planning.

One way around these challenges? The Colorado Department of Transportation's Bustang bus service from Denver and Boulder to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. The service returns this summer for its fifth year.

The roundtrip bus pass does not include a national park entry pass, but it does alleviate the need to plan for a timed entry pass to the park.

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Taking a bus takes planning, too, but it alleviates the stress of sitting in traffic and circling town to find parking while dodging pedestrians, elk jams or elk themselves.

Know these things before taking a bus to Rocky Mountain National Park and/or the town of Estes Park, Colorado. Be sure to go this year. After all, even though we are filling the park regularly, it really is the crown jewel of our great state.

How much does the Bustang ride to Rocky Mountain National Park cost?

$15. If going into the national park, Rocky Mountain National Park requires a park pass. Those are $15 for individuals or $30 for a group. Of course, annual passes, senior passes and lifetime passes give riders access, too.

When are buses to Estes Park available?

The Bustang bus service runs from Denver and Boulder to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park from May 25 through Sept. 29.

The bus to Estes Park makes two roundtrips on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day.

For 2024, the buses also run on Juneteenth, a national park's free entrance day.

Trips start at 7 and 8 a.m. and begin the return at 3:15 and 4:15.

Where do you catch the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park bus?

bus route from denver to boulder to estes park to rocky mountain national park
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The Estes Bustang service runs between Denver Union Station, Estes Park and Rock Mountain National Park.

Stops include:

  • Union Station
  • S. 36 and Sheridan Station
  • Broomfield Station
  • S. 36 and McCaslin Station
  • Boulder Junction at Depot Square Station
  • Lyons

The transit system service is made for a long ride as the bus has a restroom, wi-fi, power outlets and USB ports.

Where does the public bus to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park stop?

The Bustang bus to Estes/Rocky stops in town at the Estes Park Visitor Center, where a free trolley runs for access around town. Check out the educational Estes Park parking video below.

The bus then continues to the Park and Ride Transit Hub on Bear Lake Road. RMNP has a free in-park shuttle that provides access along the Bear Lake corridor.

Can I take my bike on the Rocky Mountain National Park bus?

Yes! Each Bustang coach has bike racks and gear storage under the bus. This is great for bicyclists, climbers, day hikers, picnickers, and other visitors with packing needs.

You'll want to pack snacks, water and sunscreen, as no stores operate inside the park.

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