When the program begins, reservations will be required for vehicles to enter the park on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the busy summer season.
BOULDER COUNTY, Colo — Visitors will soon need to make reservations to drive into Eldorado Canyon State Park on weekends and holidays during the summer months.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Wednesday approved a pilot program for a free timed entry reservation system at the popular hiking and climbing destination south of Boulder.
> The video above, about Eldorado Canyon trail, aired in March 2021
CPW said an exact start date for the program has not yet been determined, but the program could begin as early as August and run through Sept. 15. In 2023, reservations for vehicles will be required from May 15 through Sept. 15.
Reservations will be free of charge, CPW said. A valid Colorado state parks pass will still be required to enter along with the reservation.
Reservations will only be required on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during those time periods. Reservations will be available from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and visitors will be able to reserve a two-hour window to enter the park. Day use reservations will be limited to one per person per day, and four per person per month. The person on the reservation must be in the car entering the park.
Visitors without reservations will still be able to access the park using the free shuttle service, as long as they have a valid Colorado state parks pass.
CPW said Eldorado Canyon regularly reaches vehicle capacity on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from April through October. They said visitation has increased 118% since 2013. About half of park visitors are from the Denver metro area, about a quarter are from Boulder County, and the rest are from elsewhere, CPW said.
CPW said the park’s capacity is 200 vehicles. They said 90% of the spaces will be open for reservations up to a month in advance, while the remaining 10% of reservations will be made available at 3 p.m. the day before.
Reservations will be available at CPWshop.com, using CPW’s existing reservation and licensing system.
Park staff will evaluate the system at the end of the 2023 pilot season, CPW said.
The state park initially proposed the reservation system at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in March.
Eldorado Canyon will be the first Colorado state park to try a timed entry reservation system. Many other popular Colorado attractions, including the Manitou Incline, Maroon Bells, Brainard Lake Recreation Area and Rocky Mountain National Park, already require reservations either year-round or during their busy seasons.
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