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Rich County, Utah
Map of Utah highlighting Rich County
Location in the state of Utah
Map of the USA highlighting Utah
Utah's location in the U.S.
Founded 1864
Seat Randolph
Largest town Garden City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,086 sq mi (2,813 km²)
1,029 sq mi (2,665 km²)
58 sq mi (150 km²), 5.3%
 - (2010)
 - Density

2.2/sq mi (1/km²)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Named for: Charles C. Rich
Rich County farm, Neponset, 1912

Rich County is a county located in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,264, making it the third-least populous county in Utah. Its county seat is Randolph, and the largest town is Garden City. The county was created in 1864. It was named for an early LDS apostle, Charles C. Rich.

The southern half of Bear Lake and the Bear Lake Valley lie on the northern edge of the county. The Bear River Valley lies in most of the eastern portion of the county. The elevation of these valleys is close to 6,000 feet (1,800 m), and the rest of the county is covered by mountains, including the Bear River Range. Because of the high elevation the climate is cold in winter and mild in summer, and the population is limited. There are only four significant settlements in Rich County.


Rich County was believed to have first been visited by European descendent explorers in 1811, when trapper Joseph Miller discovered the Bear River. In 1827, the first annual rendezvous of trappers occurred on the south shore of Bear Lake, a tradition which is still marked today. The site is also preserved as part of Bear Lake State Park. The first settlement within the county's present boundary was Round Valley in 1863; located southwest of Laketown (settled 1864), it is now a ghost town. Randolph was settled in 1870. Originally created as Richland County in 1864, the name was shortened to Rich in 1868 by the 17th Utah Territorial Legislature. The boundary as originally defined legitimately extended beyond Utah into southwestern Wyoming, but also contained populated territory within what was actually Idaho Territory. The 1870 census for Rich County, Utah Territory enumerates a total of 1,672 residents in the eight Idaho communities of Bennington, Bloomington, Fish Haven, Liberty, Montpelier, Ovid, Paris and St. Charles. Utah Territory adjusted the county's boundary in 1872 and Idaho Territory took the eight aforementioned communities and others in the Bear Lake Valley to form Bear Lake County on January 5, 1875.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,086 square miles (2,810 km2), of which 1,029 square miles (2,670 km2) is land and 58 square miles (150 km2) (5.3%) is water.

The Bear River Valley is created by the Bear River and consists of the east-central portion of the county. The towns of Randolph and Woodruff lie in this farming-oriented valley. Its high elevation makes this region one of the coldest areas in the state. Woodruff has a record low of −50 °F (−46 °C) and temperatures rarely exceed 90 °F (32 °C) during the summer. Snow is heavy in late autumn, winter, and early spring and remains on the ground for the entire winter.

Further to the north lies the southern half of Bear Lake Valley, which contains Bear Lake. This lake is famous for its deep blue water, beaches, and surrounding mountains. The Bear River Mountains lie along the western edge of the county, and Logan Canyon opens up to the west of Garden City, which is a quaint tourist town that lies on the western edge of Bear Lake. Laketown lies at the southern edge of the lake. Three sections of the coastline are protected by Bear Lake State Park. The eastern slopes of the Bear River Range is an increasingly popular location for cabins.

In both of these major valleys, temperature inversions are a major problem during winter. These temperature inversions can bring extremely cold temperatures, fog, smog, and haze to the valleys, sometimes for more than two weeks at a time.

Rich County is bordered by Cache County to the west, Weber and Morgan counties to the southwest, Summit County to the south, Uinta County, Wyoming to the southeast, Lincoln County, Wyoming to the northeast, and Bear Lake County, Idaho to the north.

National protected area



Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,955
1880 1,263 −35.4%
1890 1,527 20.9%
1900 1,946 27.4%
1910 1,883 −3.2%
1920 1,890 0.4%
1930 1,873 −0.9%
1940 2,028 8.3%
1950 1,673 −17.5%
1960 1,685 0.7%
1970 1,615 −4.2%
1980 2,100 30.0%
1990 1,725 −17.9%
2000 1,961 13.7%
2010 2,264 15.5%
Est. 2015 2,311 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2014

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,961 people, 645 households, and 521 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 2,408 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.16% White, 0.05% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. 1.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 645 households out of which 42.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.40% were married couples living together, 3.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.10% were non-families. 17.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.44.

In the county, the population was spread out with 34.60% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 22.20% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,766, and the median income for a family was $44,783. Males had a median income of $34,464 versus $22,396 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,267. About 6.50% of families and 10.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over.


As of the 2010 census, the largest self reported ancestry groups in Rich County were:

  • 40.7% were of English ancestry
  • 14.2% were of German ancestry
  • 10.2% were of Scottish ancestry
  • 8.5% were of "American" ancestry
  • 5.8% were of Irish ancestry
  • 5.6% were of Danish ancestry.


U.S. Route 89 descends from the Bear River Mountains through Logan Canyon and turns north at Garden City along the Bear Lake shoreline. State Route 30 heads south from Garden City through Laketown and climbs east through the mountains to the Wyoming border. State Route 16 heads south from Sage Creek Junction through Randolph and Woodruff before entering Wyoming northwest of Evanston. State Route 39 heads west into the Wasatch Range from Woodruff on its way to Huntsville and eventually Ogden. However, this highway is closed through the mountains during the winter months as heavy snow blocks the road. Interstate 80 lies in Summit County very near the Rich County border, but is only accessible from Rich County through Wyoming.


Rich County Utah incorporated and unincorporated areas
Map of Rich County communities


Census-designated place

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