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This page deals with the Utah County. For the Wyoming County, see Uinta County, Wyoming.

Uintah County, Utah
Map of Utah highlighting Uintah County
Location in the state of Utah
Map of USA UT
Utah's location in the U.S.
Founded 1880
Named for The Ute Native Americans
Seat [[Vernal, Utah|Vernal]]
Largest city Vernal
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

4,499 sq mi (11,652 km²)
4,477 sq mi (11,596 km²)
22 sq mi (57 km²), 0.49%
 - (2000)
 - Density

Time zone Mountain Standard Time : -7/-6

Uintah County (play /juːˈɪntə/) is a county located in the U.S. state of Utah. As of 2000 the population was 25,224 and by 2009 was estimated at 31,536. It was named for the Ute Indians, the tribe that lives in the basin. Its county seat and largest city is Vernal.[1] Located just outside Vernal, the Vernal-Uintah County Airport provides daily scheduled air service to Denver, Colorado. There is no air service from Uintah County to the Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City. Uintah County is the largest natural gas producer in Utah, with 272 billion cubic feet produced in 2008.[2]

The Vernal Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Uintah County.


Archeologic evidence suggests that portions of the Uinta Basin have been inhabited by Archaic peoples and Fremont peoples. By the time of recorded history its inhabitants were the Ute people. The first known traverse by non-Indians was made by Fathers Dominguez and Escalante (1776), as they sought to establish a land route between California and Spanish America.[3]

By the early nineteenth century, occasional fur trappers entered the Basin. In 1831-32 Antoine Robidoux, a French trapper licensed by the Mexican government, established a trading post near present-day Whiterocks. He abandoned the effort in 1844.

In 1847 the Great Salt Lake Valley, still a property of Mexico, was first colonized by Brigham Young and his followers. In 1861 Young dispatched an exploring party to the Uinta Basin; they reported that "that section of country lying between the Wasatch Mountains and the eastern boundary of the territory, and south of Green River country, was one vast contiguity of waste and measurably valueless." Young made no further effort to colonize the area.

In 1861 US President Abraham Lincoln created the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, reserved for the use and habitation of Utah and Colorado Indians. In the 1880s the Uncompahgre Reservation was created in the southern portion of present-day Uintah County. Ashley Valley was not part of either Reservation, and by 1880 enough ranchers and farmers had settled there that the Territorial Legislature created Uintah County (most of which had previously been part of Wasatch County, with the county seat at Ashley (now an abandoned area some three miles of present-day Vernal).

Gilsonite was discovered in 1888 at Bonanza, in central Uintah County. This was on Reservation land, but miners pressured the US government to remove some 7000 acres (11 square miles; 28 km²) for mining use. Mining and its associated activities (including relative lawlessness) rapidly boomed in that area.[4]

The northern boundary of Uintah County originally extended to the north border of Utah. In 1918 the extreme northern portion (lying north of the Uinta Mountain watershed divide) was split off to form Daggett County, Utah.


The extraction of natural resources, including oil, natural gas, phosphate, and gilsonite constitute primary economic activity of Uintah County. There is some agriculture in Uintah County, primarily focusing on raising cattle and sheep, and cultivating alfalfa.

A significant portion of west Uintah County is taken up by the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.[5] The Ute Tribe's headquarters is in Fort Duchesne. Much of the rest of the county is land owned by the Ashley National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. There is relatively little private land in the county.

Discovery of significant dinosaur and other pre-historic remains on the eastern edge of the county caused nationwide interest, which culminated in establishment of Dinosaur National Monument. In addition to the large Visitor Center at the Monument's Jensen site, a Museum of Natural History, showcasing some of the area's finds, was established in Vernal by the State of Utah.[6]


  • Dyer Mine - Latitude: N 40.735235 Longitude: W 109.568197 Elevation: 9852 feet MSL
  • Little Water Mine - Latitude: N 40.537734 Longitude: W 109.822370 Elevation: 6913 feet MSL
  • Uteland Mine - Latitude: N 40.050797 Longitude: W 109.741529 Elevation 4675 feet MSL[7]


Uintah County is centered in the Uintah Basin, which runs from western Colorado on the east to the Wasatch Mountains on the west, and from the Uinta Mountains on the north to the Roan Plateau on the south. This basin was formed by a prehistoric lake ("Uinta Lake") during the late Tertiary period.

The county's geography ranges from high mountain terrain (Uinta Mountains) to the fertile Ashley Valley (site of the county seat), to a rugged and desolate canyonland which includes the Dinosaur National Monument, to desolate and largely uninhabited hills in the south ("The Bookcliffs" to locals; officially Roan Plateau).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,499 square miles (11,652 km²), of which 4,477 square miles (11,596 km²) is land and 22 square miles (57 km²) (0.49%) is water.

Adjacent countiesEdit

National and State protected areasEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 799
1890 2,762 245.7%
1900 6,458 133.8%
1910 7,050 9.2%
1920 8,470 20.1%
1930 9,035 6.7%
1940 9,898 9.6%
1950 10,300 4.1%
1960 11,582 12.4%
1970 12,684 9.5%
1980 20,506 61.7%
1990 22,211 8.3%
2000 25,224 13.6%
Est. 2009 31,536 25.0%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 25,224 people, 8,187 households, and 6,541 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 9,040 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.73% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 9.38% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.05% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 3.54% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,187 households out of which 44.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.70% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.10% were non-families. 17.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.05 and the average family size was 3.45.

In the county, the population was spread out with 34.60% under the age of 18, 10.70% from 18 to 24, 25.40% from 25 to 44, 19.30% from 45 to 64, and 9.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 99.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,518, and the median income for a family was $38,877. Males had a median income of $33,966 versus $21,199 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,571. About 12% of families and 15% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18% of those under age 18 and 10% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and townsEdit

Dinosaur National MonumentEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Annual natural gas production in MCF by the top 7 producing counties in Utah". Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  3. ^ In his diary Escalante called the basin "a fine plain abounding in pasturage and fertile, arable land, provided it were irrigated."
  4. ^ Utah History Encyclopedia
  5. ^ [1] Ute Tribe website
  6. ^ It was authorized in 1946 and opened to the public in 1948.
  7. ^ [2] Western Mining History
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°08′N 109°31′W / 40.13, -109.52

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Uintah County, Utah. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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