Rio Grande County, Colorado
|Rio Grande County, Colorado|
Location in the state of Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
|Founded||February 10, 1874|
|Largest city||Monte Vista|
912.14 sq mi (2,362 km²)
911.60 sq mi (2,361 km²)
0.53 sq mi (1 km²), 0.06%
14/sq mi (5/km²)
|Time zone||Mountain: UTC-7/-6|
Rio Grande County is one of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county is named for the Rio Grande (Spanish language for "Big River"), which flows through the county. The county population was 12,413 at U.S. Census 2000. The county seat is Del Norte.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 912.14 square miles (2,362.4 km2), of which 911.60 square miles (2,361.0 km2) (or 99.94%) is land and 0.53 square miles (1.4 km2) (or 0.06%) is water.
The gateway to the San Juan Mountains, Rio Grande County is one of the highlights of the San Luis Valley. The county covers 913 square miles (2,360 km2) ranging from approximately 7,000 feet (2,100 m) on valley floor to several 13,000-foot peaks. There are three municipalities within the county, Monte Vista, Del Norte, and South Fork and all have been historically developed along the rail line that follows the Rio Grande.
Monte Vista is the county's largest community situated on the valley floor. "Monte", as most people call it, is the center of the agricultural aspect of the county. There are numerous festivals, events, and clubs that take place in and around Monte Vista, and the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a stop for migratory Sand Hill Cranes every year. Del Norte is a quaint town with a focus on its historic past; it is the county seat, home to the Rio Grande County Museum, and maintains a historic façade in its main street.
The newest town in Rio Grande County is South Fork. South Fork is surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest and other public lands and has easy access to Wolf Creek Ski Area. Developed as a logging center it has become a gem of the Valley with a booming housing market, world-class 18-hole golf course, and the distinction of being the "Gateway to the Silver Thread" scenic byway.
Adjacent counties 
- Saguache County, Colorado - north
- Alamosa County, Colorado - east
- Conejos County, Colorado - south
- Archuleta County, Colorado - southwest
- Mineral County, Colorado - west
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,413 people, 4,701 households, and 3,417 families residing in the county. The population density was 14 people per square mile (5/km²). There were 6,003 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.93% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 1.26% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 21.45% from other races, and 2.76% from two or more races. 41.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,701 households out of which 35.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.80% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.30% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,836, and the median income for a family was $36,809. Males had a median income of $30,432 versus $23,005 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,650. About 11.30% of families and 14.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.40% of those under age 18 and 11.20% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns 
National wildlife refuge and forest 
Historic trail 
Scenic trail and byway 
See also 
- Outline of Colorado
- Index of Colorado-related articles
- Colorado counties
- Colorado municipalities
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Rio Grande County, Colorado
- "Annual County Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (CO-EST2006-alldata)" (CSV). 2006 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Rio Grande County Government website
- Colorado County Evolution by Don Stanwyck
- Colorado Historical Society
|Mineral County||Alamosa County|
|Archuleta County||Conejos County|