Rich County, Utah

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Rich County is a county located in the U.S. state of Utah. 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. As of the 2000 census the population was 1,961, and by 2005 had been estimated to have increased to 2,051. It was named for an early LDS apostle, Charles C. Rich. Its county seat and largest city is Randolph.



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 rendesvous 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 permanent settlement in the county was Round Valley in 1863; located southwest of Laketown (settled 1864), it is now a ghost town. Randolph was settled in 1870. The county was created in 1868 and the last size alteration occurred in 1872.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,086 square miles (2,813 km²), of which 1,029 square miles (2,664 km²) is land and 58 square miles (150 km²) (5.32%) 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.

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