7,725 square miles; population:
12,621 (1990); county seat: Monticello;
origin of county name: after the San Juan River; principal cities/towns: Blanding (3,162), Monticello (1,806), Bluff (250); economy: livestock,
agriculture, mining, tourism; points of interest: Natural
Bridge, and Hovenweep national monuments, Lake
Powell, Glen Canyon
National Recreation Area, Canyonlands
National Park, Edge
of the Cedars State Park in Blanding, St. Christopher's Episcopal
Indian Mission in Bluff, Navajo Indian Reservation.
San Juan County
is a part of the Colorado Plateau, a geologic region formed mostly of
sandstone and limestone that includes two-thirds of the state of Utah
as well as parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Mighty rivers
like the Colorado and the San Juan have carved deep canyons and unusual
erosional forms through the colorful sedimentary rock, and many people
find the area to be spectacularly beautiful on a grand scale.
times, the San Juan country was the home of the Anasazi,
whose cliff houses, pictographs, and petroglyphs have baffled and fascinated
visitors to the country since their disappearance shortly after A.D.
1300. The Basketmakers, the earliest phase of the Anasazi Culture, were
first identified and studied in Grand
Gulch. The Navajo Indians, who were perhaps
a cause of the disappearance of the Anasazi, now occupy a large part
of San Juan County--from the San Juan River to the Arizona border.
were a few white residents along the San Juan River before 1879, the
Mormon scouts who planned the famous Hole-in-the-Rock Trail that year began the full-scale settlement of San Juan County.
The 230 pioneers who left Escalante in
the fall of that year arrived at the present site of Bluff on 6 April