Field Institute Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers! Please read through the information below, but don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything else we can answer.


Does my course registration include a timed entry permit?

Yes! Your registration includes all entrance fees and a timed entry permit if necessary. You do NOT need to purchase your own pass or timed entry permit for the course.

If you want to enter the park outside of the official course times, you will need to make your own arrangements.


Does my registration fee include overnight accommodations or camping reservations?

Your registration fee is for the course itself and entry into Rocky Mountain National Park. All participants are responsible for securing their own accommodations. Here are some helpful sites:

Lodging in Estes Park:

RMNP campgrounds:

Lodging in Grand Lake:


Do I really need to bring my lunch?

Yes! Please bring all the food and water you need for the day with you. There will be limited water available for refilling bottles on the Conservancy vehicle, but food is generally not available for purchase during Field Institute courses. Participants should be prepared to spend four to six hours on the trail.


Who do I contact with questions about my course?

Start by contacting the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute by email at or by phone at 970-586-3262. Direct your inquiry to the Field Institute Coordinator. The Conservancy manages all the course logistics on behalf of the instructors, so we’re the best place to start.


Will I have cell phone service while I’m on the course?

Cell phone service within Rocky Mountain National Park is limited at best. Do not plan to be able to call, text, or use the internet from your phone while you’re in Rocky Mountain National Park. Download maps or other information before you depart for your course, and let loved ones know you’ll be out of touch during the course. Conservancy staff will have a Rocky Mountain National Park radio with them for emergency communications. We will do our best to adhere to the course agenda, but traffic, weather, and other unforeseen circumstances may force us to change our plans. If we will be more than 30 minutes late, Conservancy staff will post a message at the meeting location (usually the Estes Park Visitor Center) to let friends and family know we’re running behind schedule.


How physically challenging is my course?

The physical demands of each of our courses are outlined in the scale below:

Level I – Includes short-distance walks on maintained trails and/or indoor classroom sessions in accessible buildings.

Level II – Includes several short-distance walks throughout the day, primarily on level terrain.

Level III – Includes moderate hikes of less than five miles per day with elevation gain of less than 1,000 ft.

Level IV – Includes hikes of more than five miles per day with elevation gain of more than 1,000 ft.

The exertion level for each course is included in the course description. Participants who do not feel up to the physical requirements should contact the Field Institute as soon as possible to inquire about modifications and alternatives, including custom courses, use of an all-terrain wheelchair, or attending only a portion of the course. We are NOT able to discuss possible modifications without at least two weeks advance notice.

Please keep in mind that you will be hiking at elevations between 7,000 and 11,000 feet during your course. Altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of their overall fitness level. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, or occasionally vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms during your course, please let your instructor and Conservancy staff know right away.

For participants who live at elevations below 5,000 feet, we recommend that you plan a few days to acclimate BEFORE your course. Spending two or three full days in the Denver, Estes Park, or Grand Lake areas will help you avoid altitude sickness during your course. During those few days, engage in light to moderate activity, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol.

During your course, keep in mind that your body will be working harder than usual due to the high elevation. We will find a comfortable pace for the group and take plenty of breaks, but please let us know if you’re feeling light-headed, short of breath, or just need another minute to rest. Your body will also lose more water than normal, so be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. We recommend participants drink at least 2 liters of water per day. Bring plenty of food, including high-energy snacks and a hearty lunch for full-day courses. If you’re feeling unwell before or during your course, please let us know right away.


Are accommodations available for people with disabilities?

We are happy to work with a range of partner organizations to find solutions for an individual’s specific situation. Please contact the Field Institute as soon as possible, but no less than two weeks prior to your course, to discuss options: or 970-586-3262.


It says the course is sold out. Is there a wait list?

Yes! You can add yourself using the Wait List option on Eventbrite, by emailing, or by calling 970-586-3262. Please include your name, email address, phone number, and the name of the course.


I want to cancel my registration. Can I get my money back?

If you cancel your registration more than 30 days before the start of the course, you are eligible for a full refund, less any processing fees. Cancellations made fewer than 30 days in advance are not eligible for a refund, except in extenuating circumstances. Please contact the Field Institute with inquiries: or 970-586-3262.

Participants may transfer their registration to another course, but requests must be received at least 30 days prior to the earlier course date. Participants will be responsible for any additional course fees, or will receive a refund for the difference if applicable. Email us at or call 970-586-3262 to request a course transfer.

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