Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of Utah

Uintah County, Utah

Uintah County is located in the northeastern corner of Utah. Geographically, it is a basin which was once prehistoric Uintah Lake. Humans are believed to have lived in the area for at least 10,000 years, but virtually nothing is left in this area from the Archaic Period. The Fremont Culture was alive and well in the valley from about 600 to 1200 AD and there is some very significant rock art that dates from this period. The name of the county is derived from the Ute Indian tribe, a portion of which have lived in the basin since before the first Europeans visited the area in the 18th century.

The very first Europeans to see Uintah Valley are believed to be Fathers Escalante and Dominguez in 1776. Peripatetic American, English and French fur trappers worked the streams and rivers in the basin during the 1820s and 1830s. In 1831, Antoine Robidoux established a trading post near present day Whiterocks. He operated the post until 1844 when the Ute Indians forced him to abandon it. Captain John C. Fremont's expedition passed through in the 1840s. In 1861, Morman explorers reported to Brigham Young that the area was not suitable for settlement. In 1869 and 1871 Major John Wesley Powell explored the Green River. In the later part of the nineteenth century, a few isolated ranches were eventually established, and in 1888 gilsonite (natural asphalt) was discovered.

Today, mining and the extraction of gas and oil comprise the chief economic activity in the county with agriculture a distant second. The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation exists in the southern part of the county and Dinosaur National Monument is located in the eastern part. The 2010 census counted 31,585 residents in the county. The county seat is in Vernal.

Most visitors to Uintah County are interested in old bones. Unquestionably, the wall of fossils in Dinosaur National Monument is the premier tourist destination in the county, but visitors should at least consider some of the other possibilities available. The Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal and Ouray National Wildlife Refuge are of particular note.

Northeast Utah
Carbon County | Daggett County | Duchesne County | Summit County | Uintah County | Wasatch County