National and State Register

East Longs Peak Trail

Boulder County

The trail to the summit of Longs Peak reflects the principles of National Park Service Naturalistic Design from the 1920s through the 1940s.  Active tourist use of the trail began in 1873 and continues up until the present day with hundreds of personal accounts repeatedly expressing exhilaration over the scenery and exhaustion from this high-altitude effort.  Initially lodge owners maintained the trail and climbers hired local guides to assist in their mountain ascent.  Between 1900 and 1906, Enos Mills forged his skills as a public speaker and naturalist while guiding visitors up the trail.

A view of the trail ascending over a series of steps and between a wall of rocks.

East Longs Peak Trail (2006 photograph.)

He used his guided tours to educate visitors about the value of conserving and preserving the surrounding natural environment.  This experience firmly established his reputation as a local mountain expert and he eventually served as the figurehead in the effort to create Rocky Mountain National Park.  The upper portion of the trail remains as Mills experienced it during his 304 treks to the granite summit.  With the establishment of the park in 1915, the National Park Service took over maintenance of the trail and also offered guides for tourists trekking up this well-known “Fourteener”.  The property is associated with the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks Multiple Property Submissions. 

This site continues into Larimer County.