The settlement of Duchesne County is unique in Utah history. The name “Duchesne” is believed to be that of an early French Canadian trapper. Unlike other communities that sprang up from pioneering members of the Mormon Church, Duchesne County was settled by individuals who claimed 160 acres under the federal Homestead Act. Earlier, creation of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation had also deeded much of the land to various bands of the Ute Indian tribe.
Bordered on the east and west by Uintah and Wasatch counties, the Utah legislature created Duchesne County in 1914 from part of Wasatch County. Utah’s highest peak – King’s Peak at 13,528 feet—is located in the county’s Uinta Mountains. That range is also a much-loved hiking, hunting and camping destination, because of its many beautiful alpine lakes and streams.
Ranchers populate the county, but the area’s economy is sparked by its rich oil and gas reserves. The county seat of Duchesne is near Starvation Reservoir, one of the many water projects developed under the Central Utah Project to provide water for a growing state