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Lake County, Colorado facts for kids

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Lake County
Courthouse in Leadville, Colorado.
Courthouse in Leadville, Colorado.
Official seal of Lake County
Map of Colorado highlighting Lake 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 November 1, 1861
Named for Twin Lakes in the area
Seat Leadville
Largest city Leadville
 • Total 384 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Land 377 sq mi (980 km2)
 • Water 7.0 sq mi (18 km2)  1.8%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 20/sq mi (8/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 3rd
The Twin Lakes. Lake County, Colorado - NARA - 516991
Twin Lakes – Department of the Interior. General Land Office. U.S. Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories. (1874 – 06/30/1879)

Lake County is one of 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 7,436. The county seat and the only municipality in the county is Leadville. The highest natural point in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountains is the summit of Mount Elbert in Lake County at 14,440 feet (4401.2 meters) elevation.


Lake County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Colorado legislature on November 1, 1861. As originally defined, Lake County included a large portion of western Colorado to the south and west of its present boundaries. The county was named for Twin Lakes.

Placer gold was found at Colorado Gulch in 1863 as part of the Colorado Gold Rush.

Lake County slowly lost territory over the succeeding decades, losing land in its southeast to Saguache County in 1866 and Hinsdale County in 1874; in its southwest to La Plata County in 1874 and San Juan County in 1876, and in its west to Ouray and Gunnison counties in 1877.

With its many reductions in size, Lake County's designated county seat also changed multiple times within just a few years, residing successively in Oro City (from 1861), Lourette (from 1863), Dayton (from 1866), and Granite (from 1868).

By 1878, Lake County had been reduced to an area including only present-day Lake and Chaffee counties. On February 8, 1879, the Colorado legislature renamed Lake County as Carbonate County, although this designation name only lasted for two days, until Chaffee County was split off from Carbonate's southern section on February 10 and the remaining northern portion was redesignated Lake County with its current county seat of Leadville.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 384 square miles (990 km2), of which 377 square miles (980 km2) is land and 7.0 square miles (18 km2) (1.8%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in Colorado by area.

In popular culture

Outlast is set in a fictional asylum in Lake County.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 522
1880 23,569 4,415.1%
1890 14,603 −38.0%
1900 18,054 23.6%
1910 10,600 −41.3%
1920 6,630 −37.5%
1930 4,899 −26.1%
1940 6,833 39.5%
1950 8,600 25.9%
1960 7,101 −17.4%
1970 8,318 17.1%
1980 7,491 −9.9%
1990 6,007 −19.8%
2000 7,102 18.2%
2010 7,310 2.9%
2020 7,436 1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,812 people, 2,977 households, and 1,914 families living in the county. The population density was 21 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 3,913 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.60% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 1.25% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 17.99% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. 36.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,977 households, out of which 33.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.70% were married couples living together, 8.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.70% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.90% under the age of 18, 12.80% from 18 to 24, 33.10% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 6.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 115.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,691, and the median income for a family was $41,652. Males had a median income of $30,977 versus $24,415 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,524. About 9.50% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.60% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places


Historic sites

Hilltop Mine on Mount Sherman
The historic Hilltop Mine on Mount Sherman is a popular attraction for hikers and photographers.
Stumptown winch House? CO
1890s(?) building in Stumptown, in the Leadville mining district.


State protected area

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

National protected areas

  • San Isabel National Forest (part)
    • Buffalo Peaks Wilderness (part)
    • Collegiate Peaks Wilderness (part)
    • Holy Cross Wilderness (part)
    • Mount Massive Wilderness (part)
      • Leadville National Fish Hatchery (part)


  • American Discovery Trail
  • Colorado Trail
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
  • Mineral Belt National Recreation Trail

Scenic byway

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Lake (Colorado) para niños

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