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Del Norte County, California facts for kids

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Del Norte County
County of Del Norte
Crescent City California harbor aerial view.jpg
Redwood National Park, fog in the forest.jpg
CastleIsland View Crescent City, CA.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: Crescent City Harbor, Redwood National Park, Castle Rock, the mouth of the Smith River
Official seal of Del Norte County
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
Region North Coast
Incorporated March 2, 1857
Named for Its location, "Of the North" (Spanish: Del norte), in California
County seat Crescent City
Largest city Crescent City
 • Total 1,230 sq mi (3,200 km2)
 • Land 1,006 sq mi (2,610 km2)
 • Water 223 sq mi (580 km2)
Highest elevation
6,415 ft (1,955 m)
 • Total 27,743
 • Density 28/sq mi (11/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area codes 707
FIPS code 06-015
GNIS feature ID 1682074

Del Norte County (Del Norte, Spanish for "Of The North";) is a county at the far northwest corner of the U.S. state of California, along the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the Oregon border. Its population is 27,743 as of the 2020 census, down from 28,610 from the 2010 census. The county seat and only incorporated city is Crescent City. Del Norte was pioneered and populated by Azorean Portuguese settlers and dairy farmers, which may account for the local pronunciation of the county name. Locals pronounce the county name as Del Nort, not Del Nor-teh as would be expected in Spanish.

Del Norte County comprises the Crescent City, CA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The rural county is notable for forests containing giant Coast Redwoods, with some attaining heights over 350 feet (110 m). This northernmost county on the California coast also has scores of unique plants and flowers, dozens of species of coastal birds and fish, rocky primitive beaches and sea stacks, pristine rivers, and historic lighthouses. Del Norte is also known among Bigfoot enthusiasts as the location of the famous Patterson–Gimlin film, as well as being the location of some of the forest scenes used in Return of the Jedi.


The area that is now known as Del Norte was and still is inhabited by the Yurok (Klamath River Indians) and Tolowa Nations of indigenous peoples. The first European American to explore this land was pioneer Jedediah Smith in the mid-19th century. He was the first European American to reach the area overland on foot in a time before the European Americans knew anything about such a distant territory. For him it was literally "Land's End" — where the American continent ended at the Pacific Ocean. In 1855 Congress authorized the building of a lighthouse at "the battery point" (a high tide island on the coast of Crescent City) which is still functioning as a historical landmark.

Del Norte County was established in 1857, from part of the territory of Klamath County following the great California Gold Rush. Klamath County itself ceased to exist in 1874.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,230 square miles (3,200 km2), of which 1,006 square miles (2,610 km2) is land and 223 square miles (580 km2) (18%) is water.

The mountainous terrain associated with the Coastal Range and the Klamath Mountains dominates Del Norte County's geography. Elevation ranges from sea level to over 6,400 feet. Although much of the county is made up of steep terrain, there are small patches of flat terrain along the coast and in isolated mountain valleys. There are 37 miles of coastline in the county, forming a coastal zone that covers approximately 51,000 acres (80 square miles). A broad coastal plain can be found in the northwest portion of the county with the western edge of the Klamath Mountains as its easterly boundary. Rising abruptly from the coastal plain, the Klamath Mountains extend north into Oregon and are situated between the Cascade Range to the east and the Coast Range to the north.


  • Pelican State Beach

Recreation area

  • Smith River National Recreation Area


Wildlife Refuge

  • Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge


Marshall pond
Marshall Pond near the Klamath River, Redwood National and State Parks.

Flora and fauna

There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Del Norte County. Vegetative plant associations feature several forest types including mixed oak forest. The California endemic Blue oak, Quercus douglasii is at the northernmost part of it its range in Del Norte County. The Black Oak and Douglas-fir are also found in Del Norte County.



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,993
1870 2,022 1.5%
1880 2,584 27.8%
1890 2,592 0.3%
1900 2,408 −7.1%
1910 2,417 0.4%
1920 2,759 14.1%
1930 4,739 71.8%
1940 4,745 0.1%
1950 8,078 70.2%
1960 17,771 120.0%
1970 14,580 −18.0%
1980 18,217 24.9%
1990 23,460 28.8%
2000 27,507 17.3%
2010 28,610 4.0%
2020 27,743 −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

The 2010 United States Census reported that Del Norte County had a population of 28,610. The racial makeup of Del Norte County was 21,098 (73.7%) White, 993 (3.5%) African American, 2,244 (7.8%) Native American, 965 (3.4%) Asian, 32 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,980 (6.9%) from other races, and 1,298 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,093 persons (17.8%).


As of the census of 2000, there were 27,507 people, 9,170 households, and 6,290 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile (11/km2). There were 10,434 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.9% White, 4.3% Black or African American, 6.4% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 13.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.2% were of German, 11.3% English, 9.1% Irish and 7.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.6% spoke English and 6.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 9,170 households, out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.08.

The age distribution was 25.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 123.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.3 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,642, and the median income for a family was $36,056. Males had a median income of $40,072 versus $22,212 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,573. About 16.4% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

Public transportation

Local public transit is provided by Redwood Coast Transit, which provides access to Amtrak passenger train (via Amtrak bus) service.


Contour Airlines conducts passenger flights to and from Jack McNamara Field Airport, operating one daily round trip flight to Oakland International Airport. Flights are largely subsidized by an Alternate Essential Air Service grant approved by the United States Department of Transportation and issued to the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority in 2020.


The Crescent City Harbor serves as a commercial fishing port for salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod, and dungeness crab commercial fishing boats. Nearly 50% of all dungeness crab served in California restaurants is off-loaded in this harbor. The harbor is also home to multiple fishing and non-fishing related businesses and harbor governmental offices. The harbor also has several pleasure boat docks.


Crescent City is the county seat of and only incorporated city in Del Norte County. Its population count includes the inmates of Pelican Bay State Prison located ten miles north of the city.


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Del Norte County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Crescent City City 7,643
2 Bertsch-Oceanview CDP 2,436
3 Yurok Reservation (partially in Humboldt County) AIAN 1,238
4 Smith River CDP 866
5 Klamath CDP 779
6 Gasquet CDP 661
7 Hiouchi CDP 301
8 Smith River Rancheria AIAN 113
9 Elk Valley Rancheria AIAN 99
10 Resighini Rancheria AIAN 31


Del Norte County is home to a satellite campus of College of the Redwoods, a two-year college based in Humboldt County.

Del Norte County has one of just five combined county office of education-unified school district learning educational agencies (LEA) in the state of California, with one elected Board of Trustees that serves both agencies, and one superintendent overseeing both the County Office of Education, and the Unified School District.

The Del Norte County Unified School District provides public education to the children of Del Norte County through the twelfth grade. The only high school in Del Norte County is Del Norte High School, whose school mascot is the Warrior. There are also five K-5 elementary schools (Bess Maxwell, Joe Hamilton, Margaret Keating, Mary Peacock, Pine Grove), three K-8 elementary schools (Mountain, Redwood, Smith River), and one middle school (Crescent Elk).

The County Office of Education provides special education services to the county, as well as alternative learning options that includes Community Day and juvenile detention. Alternative educational facilities are Del Norte Community Day, Elk Creek detention center, and Sunset Continuation High School.

Del Norte County has several private parochial schools and charter schools.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Del Norte para niños

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