About Jackson County

The History of Jackson County

Jackson County can trace its cultural identity back to the late 1800s. Agriculture and mining staked a foothold on the lifestyles of the local residents, who frequently referred to themselves as North Parkers. Present-day Jackson County was originally within the boundaries and jurisdiction of Larimer County. In 1909, it was determined that Jackson County should be formed.

Nestled in the center of North Park, you will find the town of Walden, the only incorporated town and County Seat. Walden was established in 1890 as a commercial hub for the area’s ranching community and was named after a local postmaster, Mark S. Walden.

Agriculture, mining, and forestry were sparked by the arrival of the LHP&P Railroad. Decades of industry and ranching followed, but mining was not able to sustain its demands. Over time, all of the mines in the area have closed and the communities that developed with the mines are remnants of a time has long gone.

Jackson County Today

The world is getting smaller, but you won’t feel that way here. With an area of 1,621 square miles and a population of approximately 1,400, Jackson is one of the least densely populated counties in Colorado. Many struggles to rationalize the fact that Walden, our largest and only town, is a 60-mile drive from another population base of note.

With agriculture remaining as a main staple in the area, but industry leaving, the area was forced to diversify. Being dubbed a “sportsman’s paradise,” North Park creates a draw for recreationists who seek the solidarity of a rare frontier landscape. Over time, tourism and energy have emerged as major pieces in the area’s economy, while forestry remains quiet, but a strong contributor.

Colorado’s population is growing much faster than many of us would have anticipated, but North Park hasn’t lost its cultural identity. It is comprised of a blue-collar population that holds true to its conservative values and small-town appeal. This is a community in that everyone will know your name and truly cares for your well-being.

Environment & Climate

North Park is a beautiful landscape that was carved by the river that originates here, the North Platte.

Walden’s elevation is 8,099 feet and all you can see around the Park is a cascade of towering mountain ranges. With sprawling meadows, rolling hills, and dense forest, it is safe to say that our landscape is unique.

If you ask around, it is no lie that our climate can be harsh. The winter months are often considered to be from December through March, but some of our residents have seen a snowstorm every month. The air is dry and the temperatures drop to staggering lows. 

Despite all of this, our climate can be a rewarding experience for those who can sustain the winters. Spring is marked by lush, irrigated meadows and snow-capped peaks. Summer days rarely reach 80 degrees and Fall is often the favorite season of locals. Embracing the recreational activities that Winter offers is essential and can be the time of year that you eagerly await.

Recreation

With a landscape as diverse as North Park, recreation is an easy selling point for Jackson County. There is an activity for anyone with a desire to explore the outdoors. First, we are the moose viewing capital of Colorado and there is a plethora of elk, deer, bears and antelope that drive our hunting draw. Then, we feature some of the best fishing lakes in the state and a multitude of creeks and rivers. Lake John, Delaney Buttes, Big Creek Lake, and many mountainous lakes dot our landscape. Some of the lakes are easily accessible by car, while others require an extensive hike, ATV ride or a combination of both.

In the Winter, you can continue to ice fish and compete in some of our local competitions. If you seek solitude, you will find groomed and ungroomed trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. If you seek more excitement, look no further than our backcountry snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding. Throughout the Winter, it is extremely common to see snowmobilers from states as distant as Michigan. That should give you a feel for the draw that our snowmobiling delivers.  

We have no commercial ski resorts, but Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, and the Snowy Range are a relatively short drive away. The recreational opportunities are endless and they bring a deeper meaning to the quality of life that is offered here.