Public Service Announcement
If you have not already, you should apply for your backcountry permit for Rocky Mountain National Park if you plan to attempt the Pfiffner Traverse this summer.
The permit system in Rocky Mountain is similar to Glacier and Yellowstone: camping is permitted only in specific backcountry sites and a few at-large zones. All campsites can be reserved beforehand; none are held for walk-up applicants or thru-hikers.
Hence the crowds at the Wilderness Office on opening day. If you wait to apply, you’re less likely to get the exact permit you want. For organizations like mine that guide trips in the park, securing permits also means securing your mortgage payments for the year.
For permit details and to make an online permit request, visit the Wilderness Camping section of the park website.
The Pfiffner Traverse Guide contains a lengthier discussion of the permit systems in Rocky Mountain and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area (which is to the south and where permits are more flexible), as well as a cheat sheet of the most desirable campsite locations: