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Hinsdale County, Colorado facts for kids

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Hinsdale County
The 1877 Hinsdale County Court House in Lake City, Colorado.
The 1877 Hinsdale County Court House in Lake City, Colorado.
Map of Colorado highlighting Hinsdale County
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Colorado
Founded February 10, 1874
Named for George A. Hinsdale
Seat Lake City
Largest town Lake City
 • Total 1,123 sq mi (2,910 km2)
 • Land 1,117 sq mi (2,890 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  0.5%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 0.7/sq mi (0.3/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 3rd
Empire Chief mine, 2001
Bonanza-Empire Chief mine and mill, on the Alpine Loop. The mill ruins were stabilized in 2000 by the Bureau of Land Management and Hinsdale County Historical Society. In 2007–2008, the mill ruins were demolished by an avalanche.

Hinsdale County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 788, making it the second-least populous county in Colorado. With a population density of only 0.71 inhabitants per square mile (0.27/km2), it is also the least-densely populated county in Colorado. The county seat and only incorporated municipality in the county is Lake City. The county is named for George A. Hinsdale, a prominent pioneer and former Lieut. Governor of Colorado Territory.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,123 square miles (2,910 km2), of which 1,117 square miles (2,890 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Hinsdale County is one of the most remote counties in Colorado and the United States. The county is covered by mountains, including multiple fourteeners, and contains one of the most roadless areas in the country. The continental divide crosses the county twice. Most of the county is divided among several different national forests and the Weminuche Wilderness area.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,487
1890 862 −42.0%
1900 1,609 86.7%
1910 646 −59.9%
1920 538 −16.7%
1930 449 −16.5%
1940 349 −22.3%
1950 263 −24.6%
1960 208 −20.9%
1970 202 −2.9%
1980 408 102.0%
1990 467 14.5%
2000 790 69.2%
2010 843 6.7%
2020 788 −6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2000, there were 790 people, 359 households, and 246 families living in the county. The population density was 0.7 people per square mile (0.3/km2). There were 1,304 housing units at an average density of 1.2 per square mile (0.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.34% White, 1.52% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.38% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. 1.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 359 households, out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.0% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.2 and the average family size was 2.6.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.5% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 34.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 105.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,279, and the median income for a family was $42,159. Males had a median income of $26,210 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,360. About 4.5% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.


National forests

  • Gunnison National Forest
  • Rio Grande National Forest
  • San Juan National Forest
  • Uncompahgre National Forest

National wilderness areas

  • La Garita Wilderness
  • Powderhorn Wilderness
  • Uncompahgre Wilderness
  • Weminuche Wilderness


  • Colorado Trail
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
  • West Lost Trail Creek National Recreation Trail

Scenic byways

  • Alpine Loop National Scenic Back Country Byway
  • Silver Thread Scenic Byway


Capitol City, Colo
Capitol City, Colorado, a ghost town on the Alpine Loop National Scenic Back Country Byway. Capitol City once had a population of 400; its founders wanted it to become the capital of Colorado. The post office, some outbuildings, and brick kilns remain.


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Ghost towns

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