Grand County

Grand County is a county located in the eastern part of the state of Utah, in the United States. The county is named after the Colorado River, which flows through the region and forms the county’s southern border. The area has a rich history that dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation found in archaeological sites throughout the region.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the region was home to several Native American tribes, including the Ute, Paiute, and Navajo. These tribes relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering to sustain themselves, and many still live in the region today.

Sunset along the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands NP, Grand County, Utah Photograph by James L Rathbun
Sunset along the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands NP, Utah Photograph by James L Rathbun

The first European explorers to enter the area were Spanish explorers in the 1770s, who were searching for a land route to California. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that significant numbers of settlers began to arrive in the region.

In 1855, Mormon pioneers arrived in the region and established the town of Moab. The town quickly became the center of the region’s agriculture industry, with settlers growing crops such as wheat, corn, and potatoes.

In the late 1800s, mining became a significant source of industry in the region. Gold, silver, and uranium were all mined in the region, with several mining towns sprouting up around the county. One of these towns was the now-abandoned town of Cisco, which was once a major stop on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.

During the early 1900s, the region’s natural beauty began to attract tourists, who were drawn to the area’s stunning landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities. The first automobile tour of the region took place in 1911, and the Arches National Monument was established in 1929. The monument, which is now known as Arches National Park, is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, as well as a variety of other geological formations.

During World War II, Grand County played an important role in the war effort. The region was home to several military training bases, including the Green River Launch Complex and the Moab Uranium Mill. Uranium mined in the region was used to produce atomic bombs during the war.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the region began to experience a boom in tourism. The opening of the Interstate Highway System made the area more accessible to visitors, and the construction of several large dams along the Colorado River created new recreational opportunities. The town of Moab became the center of the region’s tourist industry, with visitors drawn to the area’s stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Today, Grand County is a mix of rural communities, small towns, and a growing urban center. Moab has a population of around 5,000 and is the largest city in the county. The county’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with visitors drawn to the region’s stunning natural landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities. The county is also home to the Canyonlands Field Airport, which provides air transportation to the region.

In addition to its natural beauty, Grand County is also known for its cultural heritage. The region is home to several museums and cultural centers, including the Moab Museum and the Castle Valley Rock Art Center, which showcases the region’s rich history of rock art.

Despite its challenges, Grand County remains an important part of Utah’s history and culture. The region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage have helped to shape its unique character and identity. Today, the county is a testament to the resilience and determination of its residents, who continue to live and work in this rugged and beautiful part of the state.

Grand County Trail Map

Grand County 4×4 Trails

Sunset along the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands NP, Utah Photograph by James L Rathbun

Shafer Trail

An old cattle trail, the Shafer trail which will test your nerve, as you descend down into the canyons of Canyonlands National Park.  This trail…
Mesa Light taken from the White Rim Trail and Lathrop Canyon Road. Photograph by James L Rathbun

White Rim Trail

The White Rim Trail is Canyonlands National Park is a 100 mile back country 4x4 trail that follows an strata of white lime stone along…