Iron County is a county located in the southwestern part of the state of Utah, in the United States. The county is named after the iron mines that were once a significant source of industry in the region. 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 Paiute, Ute, and Navajo. These tribes relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering to sustain themselves, and many still live in the region today.
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 1851, Mormon pioneers arrived in the region and established the town of Parowan. 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, iron mining became a significant source of industry in the region. The iron mines were located in the mountains surrounding the town of Cedar City, and the ore was transported to the town for processing. Cedar City became the center of the region’s iron industry and grew rapidly, with a population of over 1,000 by the early 1900s.
During this time, Cedar City also became an important transportation hub, with a railway line connecting it to other parts of the state. The town was also home to several newspapers, including the Iron County Record, which was founded in 1898 and is still in circulation today.
In addition to iron mining, other minerals such as gold, silver, and copper were also mined in the region. The county was home to several large mining companies, including the Utah Copper Company and the Iron King Mine.
During World War II, Iron County played an important role in the war effort. The region was home to several military training bases, including the Cedar City Army Air Base and the Topaz Internment Camp, where over 8,000 Japanese-Americans were held.
Today, Iron County is a mix of rural communities, small towns, and a growing urban center. Cedar City has a population of around 30,000 and is the largest city in the county. The county’s economy is still heavily dependent on mining, with several major mining companies operating in the area. The county is also home to Southern Utah University, which provides educational and cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
In addition to its mining heritage, Iron County is also known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. The county is home to several state and national parks, including Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. The region’s rugged mountains, canyons, and desert landscapes provide opportunities for hiking, camping, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities.
Despite its challenges, Iron County remains an important part of Utah’s history and culture. The region’s mining heritage and natural beauty 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.
Iron County Trail Map
Iron County Ghost towns