Gilpin County is a rural-like community located in the high country adjacent to the Continental Divide that enjoys low taxes with a financially secure, unobtrusive government presence. Many visitors come to enjoy Golden Gate Canyon State Park or the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests as well as spend time in one of the many casinos or museums located in Central City. Central City is also the County Seat.
The county encompasses about 150 square miles of mountainous terrain that ranges in elevation from 6,960 feet to 13,294 feet. The county was named for the first territorial governor, William Gilpin.
Gilpin County has a population of just under 6,000, with most residents living in the unincorporated areas of the county. Its two main cities are Central City (population 700), the county seat, and Black Hawk (population 115). Together, these cities form the Central City and Black Hawk National Historic District, renowned for its mining history. The county also includes the small community of Rollinsville, as well as the ghost towns of Nevadaville and Russell Gulch. State Highway 119 is the major north-south thoroughfare, winding through the mountains from Rollinsville to Black Hawk and continuing south to its junction with US Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon. State Highway 46, also known as Golden Gate Canyon Road, proceeds east from Highway 119 just north of Black Hawk and runs west from the Jefferson County border. Highway 72, also known as Coal Creek Canyon, runs through the very north of the county up to Wondervu.