National Park Service Founders: Enos Mills
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    Enos Mills

    Cultural Resources National Park Service

Enos A. Mills was born in Kansas but moved to Colorado early in his life during a bout with digestive illness. At age 15, he made his first ascent of the 14,255-foot Longs Peak. Over the course of his life, he made the trip 40 times by himself and nearly 300 additional times as a guide. In 1887, after returning to health, he moved to Butte, Montana. There he lived and worked intermittently until 1902, spending more summers traveling the West Coast of the United States, Alaska, and Europe. In 1889, he had a chance encounter with famed naturalist John Muir on a San Francisco beach, and from that point on Mills dedicated his life to conservation activism, lecturing, and writing. Aided by groups such as the Sierra Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mills succeeded and Congress established Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915.

image of Rocky Mountain National Park

See For Yourself

Visit some of the most spectacular areas of of Rocky Mountain National Park that inspired Enos Mills including the 14,259 feet, Longs Peak towers above all other summits in Rocky Mountain.

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For Teachers

Rocky Mountain National Park is an ideal outdoor classroom with comprehensive information on planning educational and youth-oriented trips to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Historic mage of Enos Mills

Inside Story

Enos A. Mills, at age 15, made his first ascent of the 14,255-foot Longs Peak. Over the course of his life, he made the trip 40 times by himself and nearly 300 additional times as a guide.

image of a park ranger with visitors


John Stansfield, storyteller, outdoorsman, and author of a new Millls biography, will present a one-man performance reenacting key moments in the life of Enos Mills. Following the performance, presented in first-person, Chautauqua style, the audience is invited to learn more about Mills in a question-and-answer session. More people...

image of Enos Mills in front of his cabin


The Enos Mills Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 3, 1973. Enos' son-in-law and daughter transformed the homestead cabin Enos built in 1885 into an informal dedication to Enos' many achievements that have impacted millions of people around the world.

image of a Enos Mills at the dedication of Rocky Mountain National Park


Learn more about the Enos Mills' friendship with John Muir Muir who urged Mills to take up the study of nature lore and introduced him to the values of national parks which would eventually lead to the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park.

image of a Thomas Moran painting in Yellowstone National Park


Thomas Moran's vision of the Western landscape was critical to the creation of national parks. His pencil and watercolor field sketches and paintings captured the grandeur and documented the extraordinary terrain and natural features of great western landscapes.

image of research staff in Rocky Mountain National Park


The Continental Divide Research Learning Center staff facilitates research in Rocky Mountain National Park and works with scientists who inventory, monitor, and study park resources such as elk, butterflies, air quality, glaciers, and people. Other staff translate the results of research for the park managers and public and assist with field logistics.