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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Grand County, Utah.

Official Website


The European-based settlement of the area began with arrival of Mormon pioneers in 1847. By 1855 they had sent missionary-settlers into eastern Utah Territory. An Elk Mountain Mission was established, but closed after a few months due to Indian raids. For several decades thereafter, the future Moab area (known as "Spanish Valley") was visited only by trappers and prospectors. Permanent settlement began in 1877. These early settlers, coming in from the north, encountered the deep canyon walls of the Grand River and were unable to take wagons over, or around, the steep canyon walls.

They unloaded their supplies, dismantled the wagons and lowered them by rope to the river valley. They then drove their oxen over a canyon rim, down deep sand dunes. After the wagons were reassembled and supplies reloaded, they made their way through the deep sand to the river. They found a place to ford the river, below the present bridge in north Moab. They later established a ferry at the crossing site, which remained in use until the first bridge was built in 1921.

In 1881 the area was known as Grand Valley, and Moab was a "wild west" town. It is said it was known as the toughest town in Utah because the area and surrounding country has many deep canyons, rivers, mountains and wilderness areas, becoming a hideout for outlaws. The local economy was initially based on farming and livestock. Mining came in at the end of the 19th century, and the railroad arrived. The first school in the county was started in 1881. Mormon settlers began planting fruit trees by 1879, and by 1910 Moab was a significant fruit-production center.

Due to the distances involved, the settlers of eastern Emery County found it difficult to conduct county business in that county's seat. By March 13, 1890 their petitions caused the Utah Territory legislature to designate the eastern portion of the county as a separate entity, to be named Grand County, named for the Grand River (whose name was changed to Colorado River in 1921). The county boundaries were adjusted in 1892 and in 2003.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Agate
  • Basin
  • Castle Valley
  • Castleton
  • Cisco
  • Cottonwood
  • Crescent Junction
  • Dewey
  • Elba
  • Floy
  • Harley Dome
  • Mesa
  • Moab (County Seat)
  • Richardson
  • Sego
  • Thompson Springs
  • Valley City
  • Westwater



Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park (part)

Manti-La Sal National Forest (part)

McInnis Canyons Nat'l Cons. Area (part)