Rocky Mountain National Park itself has very little in terms of accommodation or food. There are several large campgrounds in the park and also wilderness tent sites, but no hotels or lodges inside the park. At the Alpine Trail Ridge Store on Trail Ridge Road, you can find a few snack items and drinks, but there is no other food for sale in the national park. All of the other lodging and food options are found outside of the national park.
The town of Estes Park is the main hub for these services. Estes Park serves as the eastern gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a town of about 10,000 full-time residents located right at the edge of the national park. Estes Park is a major tourist hub and has many hotels, lodges, campgrounds, restaurants, galleries, gift stores, as well as a handful of grocery stores.
The west side of Rocky Mountain National Park is bordered by the town of Grand Lake on the shores of Colorado’s largest natural lake. It is a small town with a full-time population of just over 500 people. Yet this small town offers numerous places to stay, a number of restaurants, a number of interesting shops, and two small grocery stores. Its wooden boardwalks give it an old-west feel and it is the quieter alternative to Estes Park.