Warmer weather and summer vacation mean an increase in outdoor activities that go beyond snow sports. As Colorado residents and visitors plan their next day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), a more eco-friendly transportation option is available again this year.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Bustang — Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) intercity bus service — resumed its stops to Estes Park and RMNP for the summer. Now whether you’re vacationing or just visiting, you can sit back, take your foot off the pedal and enjoy the scenery while someone else drives.
Bustang to Estes began in 2019 and paused during 2020 due to the pandemic. It is now back for its second consecutive summer.
“We’re excited to welcome Bustang back to Estes Park this summer,” Estes Park Mayor Wendy Koenig said in a statement. “Whether you’re a local heading to the Denver area, or a guest visiting Estes, using Bustang is a great way to beat the stress of traffic, avoid buying more gas and enjoy a smooth trip.”
Through Sunday, Oct. 2, each weekend Bustang will make two roundtrips between Denver’s Union Station, Estes Park and RMNP.
Passengers do not need to purchase a timed permit for the park, but they do need a Bustang ticket; a roundtrip costs $10 per person and children 11 years old and younger ride free with a paying adult. One way tickets are $5 each way for Denver, Westminster and Boulder and $3 for Lyons.
Additionally, to enter RMNP, a valid RMNP Entrance Pass ($15 for an individual pass/$30 for two or more riders) is required.
“Bustang to Estes is part of our continuing efforts to provide transit services to recreational areas with high visitation numbers,” Amber Blake, the director of CDOT’s Division of Transit and Rail, said in a statement.
Blake said that it helps mitigate congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to offer an alternative to driving personal vehicles in and out of popular tourist destinations like Estes Park and RMNP.
After arriving at Estes Park Visitor Center, Bustang passengers can ride the free town trolley, which travels to a variety of locations in town. The center also offers brochures for local attractions in Estes Park, maps of the town, public restrooms and additional information on Estes Park.
Passengers may decide to stay on the bus to reach the Park & Ride Transit Hub on the Bear Lake Road corridor in RMNP where they can then transfer to in-park shuttles.
There are no food services available at Estes Park Visitors Center or the Park & Ride, so passengers are encouraged to come prepared with food and water. Bustang provides WiFi, USB/power outlets, restrooms, luggage bays, bike racks and wheelchair accessibility.
For more information or to purchase Bustang tickets, visit ridebustang.com.