The History of Rocky Mountain National Park

The History of Rocky Mountain National Park
Straddling the Continental Divide in northern Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses many high peaks above 14,000 feet, as well as green mountain valleys that begin around 7,500 feet. Dominated by the massive peaks of the Rockies, this park is one of the country's foremost high-altitude recreational areas.

Early History

Before the region became part of the United States via the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the high mountain valleys were recipients of summer hunting forays by the Ute Indians. In the years following the purchase, the park area was never really settled due to its harsh winters but was home to some minor mineral exploration.


Within the park area, water proved to be more valuable than mineral wealth. During the latter part of the 19th century water from the area was diverted east to Fort Collins and Greeley for livestock.

Tenth National Park

During the first decade of the 20th century, Enos Mills, a local innkeeper and naturalist, advocated national park status for the area. With support from John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, the Rocky Mountain National Park became the 10th national park in 1915.


During the 1930s this high altitude park was home to many Civilian Conservation Corps workers. During the years of the Depression, the corp built campsites and trails, planted trees and put in the Trail Ridge Road, a high-altitude scenic highway.


After the Second World War, the park saw a new influx of visitors. It was during these boom years of the sixties that modern park visitor centers were designed and built at Beaver Meadows, Kawuneeche and Alpine.

Article Written By Henri Bauholz

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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