Rocky Mountain National Park is breathtaking throughout the year and is the perfect place for your upcoming engagement or family session. However, since this is a protected natural area there are some regulations and rules to consider and navigate as your prepare for your session. In this blog we will give you our top 5 tips for preparing for your national park engagement session.
Timed Entry: Many popular national parks are moving to a timed entry system, especially during their busy season. This means that you will need to reserve a timed entry permit for the time you would like to enter the park. RMNP releases these permits a couple of months ahead of time so if you know your session date, I would recommend getting these early, however, if you decide last minute and there aren't any permits still available, they release a set of permits the night before at 5pm. If you hop on right away, you can usually snag a permit the day before without any problems. The other trick with these is that you can enter the
A few things to remember as you plan your engagement session in a national park
Photography Permit: Almost every natural area and regional park requires a photography permit. These permits are really easy to obtain as long as your photographer carries liability insurance. The permit cost $50 and your photographer can apply for it up until the day of the session. If we aren't photographing your session, make sure to ask your photographer if they have obtained this permit so we can all continue to photograph in these amazing locations.
Avoid the Crowds: Rocky Mountain National Park sees close to 1 billion visitors each July which means that popular locations can be quite crowded and that parking can be hard to find. For this reason we only recommend sunrise or sunset sessions in the park. There are certain parts of the park that are less busy than others, so hiring a photographer who knows the park well and can direct you to beautiful, less travel places is key (which leads us to our next tip).
Hire a Local Photographer: Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge park with so many amazing locations. In order to navigate all of the rules and regulations correctly and to find the perfect spot, we highly recommend hiring a local photographer who knows the park inside and out and can act as your personal travel guide (hint: thats us & we would love to explore with you!)
Leave your pups at home: Honestly, this is the hardest rule for us because we love bringing Mac everywhere and would love to hike with her in the park, but unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on trails in the park so if you would like to take photos with your dog, we recommend choosing a state or county park instead! If you are set of Estes Park, we recommend Hermit Park as a dog friendly engagement session location.
Leave No Trace: This one is near and dear to my heart. It is such a privilege to photograph in these beautiful, untouched places and it is our responsibility to keep them that way. Many of us know about leave no trace and think of picking up our trash but it is so much more than that! In terms of photography, it is so important that we preserve and respect the terrain we are photographing on by staying on designated trails and not wandering off. This is especially true on the alpine terrain in RMNP which is so delicate and vulnerable to human disturbance.