Overview of Rio Blanco County, Colorado


Rio Blanco County, located in the northwestern corner of Colorado, spans an impressive 3,223 square miles. With a population of just over 6,300 residents, this vast county offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and economic opportunities.


  • Rio Blanco County is known for its diverse landscapes, including mountains, rivers, and open spaces.
  • The county's primary towns, Meeker and Rangely, contribute to its character and economic growth.
  • Rio Blanco County's economy is driven by agriculture, energy, and tourism.

Geographical and Natural Wonders of Rio Blanco County

Rio Blanco County’s topography is characterized by stunning mountains, winding rivers, and expansive open spaces. The White River National Forest, which covers a significant portion of the county, offers countless opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing.

The county is also home to several natural attractions and parks, such as the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and the Trappers Lake Wilderness Area. These protected areas showcase the county’s commitment to conservation and provide habitats for a diverse array of wildlife.

Cities and Towns of Rio Blanco County

Meeker and Rangely are the two primary towns in Rio Blanco County. Meeker, the county seat, is known for its historic downtown district and annual Range Call celebration. Rangely, located in the western part of the county, is a hub for energy production and outdoor recreation.

Both towns offer a variety of amenities, including restaurants, shops, and community events. Smaller communities, such as Buford and White River City, contribute to the county’s rural charm and diversity.

Economic Landscape and Employment Opportunities

Rio Blanco County’s economy is primarily driven by agriculture, energy production, and tourism. The county’s vast open spaces and abundant natural resources support a thriving ranching and farming industry.

Energy production, particularly oil and gas extraction, has been a significant contributor to the county’s economy. However, the industry has experienced fluctuations in recent years.

Tourism, fueled by the county’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, continues to grow and diversify the local economy. Employment opportunities can be found in various sectors, including healthcare, education, and local government.

Cultural and Historical Heritage

Rio Blanco County is rich in cultural and historical heritage. The White River Museum in Meeker showcases the county’s pioneer history and the legacy of the Ute Native American tribe. The town of Rangely is home to the Rangely Outdoor Museum, which features exhibits on the area’s oil and gas industry and its impact on the community.

Annual events, such as the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials and the Septemberfest celebration in Rangely, highlight the county’s agricultural roots and community spirit.

Outdoor Activities and Recreation

Rio Blanco County is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a wide range of activities for all seasons. Hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping are popular pursuits, with numerous trails, lakes, and campgrounds scattered throughout the county.

The White River, which flows through the heart of the county, is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. The Flat Tops Wilderness Area, with its rugged terrain and stunning vistas, attracts hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders from around the world.

Education and Community Services

Rio Blanco County is served by two school districts, the Meeker School District and the Rangely School District. Both districts provide quality education for students from kindergarten through high school.

Colorado Northwestern Community College, with a campus in Rangely, offers associate degrees and vocational training programs. The college plays a vital role in workforce development and lifelong learning opportunities for residents.

Community services, such as healthcare and social services, are available through various organizations and agencies. The Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker and the Rangely District Hospital provide medical care and emergency services to the county’s residents.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Rio Blanco County’s transportation network includes a system of well-maintained roads and highways. State Highway 13, which runs north-south through the county, connects Rio Blanco County to other parts of Colorado.

The Meeker Airport and the Rangely Airport serve the county’s aviation needs, providing general aviation services and supporting local businesses.

Infrastructure development projects, such as the expansion of broadband internet access, are ongoing efforts to enhance connectivity and support economic growth in the county.


What are the main attractions in Rio Blanco County?

The main attractions in Rio Blanco County include the White River National Forest, Flat Tops Wilderness Area, Trappers Lake Wilderness Area, and the towns of Meeker and Rangely.

How can one participate in outdoor activities in the county?

Rio Blanco County offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping. Visitors can explore trails, lakes, and campgrounds throughout the county.

What employment opportunities are available in Rio Blanco County?

Employment opportunities in Rio Blanco County can be found in various sectors, including agriculture, energy production, tourism, healthcare, education, and local government.

How does Rio Blanco County contribute to Colorado’s economy?

Rio Blanco County contributes to Colorado’s economy through its agriculture, energy production, and tourism industries. The county’s natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities attract visitors and support local businesses.

What community services are available to residents of Rio Blanco County?

Community services available to residents of Rio Blanco County include healthcare through the Pioneers Medical Center and Rangely District Hospital, education through the Meeker and Rangely School Districts, and higher education through Colorado Northwestern Community College. Various organizations and agencies provide social services and support to the community.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.