Discover the hidden beauty of Rich County, Utah. Nestled in the upper northeastern corner of the state, this long and narrow area spans eighteen miles wide and fifty-six miles long. From Echo Canyon to Bear Lake, this county is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. On the east, you'll find the border with Wyoming, and to the north lies Idaho, with the southern half of Bear Lake extending into Rich County. On the western side, several Utah counties and the Wasatch National Forest create a picturesque backdrop. And in the south, Summit County completes the boundaries.
Rich County has a rich history, dating back to the early 1800s. Fur trappers first explored the Bear Lake Valley in 1811, discovering the Bear River. This area quickly became a favorite among trappers, with the annual trappers' rendezvous taking place on the south shore of Bear Lake in 1827 and 1828. The famous Oregon Trail even passed through a corner of this county, with notable pioneers like Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife traversed its path in 1836.
Thomas L. "Peg Leg" Smith was the first permanent white settler in Rich County. Operating a thriving cattle business, trading post, and horse exchange for Indians and Oregon Trail immigrants, Smith left a lasting impact on the region. Brigham Young himself attempted to purchase Smith's business in 1848, but Smith remained rooted in the area until 1863.
Brigham Young, in a race against non-Mormons, acted swiftly when the Homestead Act of 1862 was passed by Congress. He called upon Charles C. Rich in August 1863 to lead an exploring party and secure land in the Bear Lake Valley for settlement. The first settlement, eventually known as Paris Creek, was established near present-day Paris, Idaho. To avoid conflicts, Rich sought permission from the Bannock and Shoshone Indians, who also inhabited the valley. This approach minimized tensions and allowed for the formation of additional settlements like Round Valley, Kennedyville (Garden City), Laketown, Woodruff, Randolph, and Argyle.
Rich County is part of the Bear River Valley region in the northeast corner of Utah. Spanning 18 miles wide by 56 miles long, this county has stunning natural landscapes and a variety of climates. The western side features several mountain ranges, with elevations ranging from 4500 to 9000 feet above sea level. To the east lies Wyoming's border and to the north, Idaho. The southern half of Bear Lake also extends into Rich County and completes the county's boundaries.
Places of Interest
Bear Lake State Park
Located in the southeastern corner of Rich County, Bear Lake State Park provides year-round recreational opportunities including boating, swimming, and fishing. Campsites are available for those looking to extend their stay.
Pickleville Playhouse Theatre
Pickleville Playhouse Theatre offers a variety of performances throughout the year, from musicals to comedies. Located in Garden City, this theater has been entertaining audiences since 2004 and is one of the few professional theaters in northern Utah.