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Questions? Contact:

Crissy Supples
Rural Philanthropy Days Program Manager

T: 719-530-2651

Leah Rausch
Program Assistant
T: 303-623-1540 x 170

San Miguel County

San Miguel County

Formed in 1883, San Miguel County stretches from the San Juan Mountains in the east to the Utah border in the west and is comprised of 1287 square miles, 66% of which is federal- and state-owned land.

Rich in mining history, the town of Telluride is the county seat and most populous town in the county, its name taken from an ore combining the element tellurium with gold and silver, although tellurium does not occur in the immediate vicinity of the town. The silver mines served by Otto Mears’ toll road and the Rio Grande Southern train brought extensive wealth to local mine-owners. This wealth gave rise to the Victorian architecture that contributed to Telluride landing on the National Register of Historic Places and claiming one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmark designations.

Also of note in San Miguel County are Placerville, Ophir, and the ranching communities of Norwood and Egnar. Placerville was named after the placer gold mines on the San Miguel River and Leopard Creek and was producing 30% of the world’s vanadium by 1919, and Ophir was the site of the world’s first commercial system to generate and transmit alternating current electricity.

Over the years, the mines have given rise to extensive recreational and cultural opportunities, including a ski resort, an international film festival, and a number of music festivals in Telluride.


Towns in San Miguel County include Telluride, Mountain Village, Ophir, Sawpit, and Norwood.  Other communities include Placerville, Egnar, and Slickrock. Approximately one- third of the county’s population of 7,143 resides in Telluride, the county seat.  The median resident age in the county is 34.2 years, with only 4.2% of the population over 65.

The population of the county has grown steadily since the 1990s, most likely due to the development of the ski resort area of Mountain Village. 


The estimated median household income in 2007 was $56,745 with 10.4% of the population below poverty level. Types of workers include 73% private wage or salary, 12% government, and 15% self-employed. Industries providing employment are arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (26.2%); construction (16.2%); finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing (11.1%); and retail trade (10.7%).

Unique to Telluride and Mountain Village is a gondola providing free public transportation. The accessible gondola runs daily and is pet-friendly.

Health & Emergency Services

The nearest hospital to Telluride is 65 miles away in Montrose. The county has four primary care locations and Emergency medical services in Telluride and in Norwood, but no long-term care, assisted living, or nursing home facilities. The major cause of death in the county is listed as “unintended injuries”.

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