LOS ALAMOS, NM — The healthiest county in the nation – Los Alamos, NM – has also been ranked the 4th “Richest County in America” by Forbes Magazine.

With just over 18,000 residents, Los Alamos County has a median annual household income of $103,643. Los Alamos County is also said to be one of the most educated counties in the country, with nearly 63 percent of its residents holding a bachelors degree or higher.

Forbes Magazine said that Los Alamos County is the “richest county in the Western U.S., and one of only two western counties that can be found in the top 10.” The article cited much of the county’s wealth as being derived jobs at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Typically, the nation’s richest counties have been concentrated in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The #1 richest county in the U.S. is Loudon County, Md. with a median income of $115,574; followed by: Falls Church City, Va. ($114,409); Fairfax County, Va. ($105,416); Los Alamos County, N.M.; Howard County, Md. ($103,273); Hunterdon County, N.J. ($100,980); Douglas County, Colo. ($99,198); Fairfax City, Va. ($97,900); Somerset County, N.J. ($97,440); and Morris County, N.J. ($96,747).

“Although we are considered one of the richest counties in the country, what is more relevant about Los Alamos County is that we are rich in history, outdoor activities, and cultural diversity especially since many of our residents hail from many countries around the world and play a major cultural role in our community,” said Linda Deck, Chair of the Los Alamos County Lodgers Tax Advisory Board.

Cultural treasures like Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos County brings to light the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived there more than 900 years ago. In fact, evidence of humans in Bandelier dates back as far as 11,000 years when nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons. Their stories are told on rock etchings, carvings and dwellings, which are still accessible to visitors. Hiking trails throughout Bandelier provide access to dwellings of the Alcove House where visitors can climb ladders to the small rooms that were once home to Pueblo people. For hours and more information, visit nps.gov/band/index.htm.

In addition to hiking opportunities in Bandelier National Monument, there are more than 71 trails in Los Alamos County with which to hike or mountain bike. In fact, Pajarito Mountain offers summer lifts to the top of the mountain for hiking or biking, offering panoramic views of the Jemez Mountains and beyond. Hikers and bikers can enjoy a high altitude journey down the mountain with a chance of seeing animals such as elk, deer, bear and mountain lions. Lift tickets are $25 per day and available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (505) 662-5725 for details or visit skipajarito.com.

Guided hikes are also available and coincide with various themes, such as the “Natural Wonders of Los Alamos: Cave of the Winds” hike, which takes hikers along Los Alamos Canyon to see a shallow slot cave. Sponsored by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), various guided hikes are available throughout the summer. Call (505) 662-0460 or visit pajaritoeec.org for schedule.

Those looking for a high-elevation challenge can participate in the 7th annual Jemez Mountain Trail Runs on Saturday, May 19. The event includes a 50 mile, 50K, and half marathon. Registration fees range from $40 to $70. Visit highaltitudeathletics.org for details or email jemezruns@gmail.com.

Then on June 2 and 3, spectators and mountain bikers alike will enjoy the Pajarito Punishment Downhill Race down Pajarito Mountain. Ticket prices for non-racers are $25 per day, and lift tickets can be purchased at Pajarito Ski Resort. Registration for the race takes place on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. To register online or for details, visit nmmtb.org.

Recently named a “Creative District” as part of the State of New Mexico’s Arts and Culture District Program, visitors will find a unique mix of art, history and science in the  downtown district of Los Alamos County’s townsite., which features the Bradbury Science Museum.  This museum functions as a window to the Lab’s captivating history and innovative research.   Visitors can uncover the mysteries behind Los Alamos National Laboratory’s decades of research which are on display in the defense gallery, research gallery, and history gallery.  Approximately 40 interactive exhibits trace the history of the WWII Manhattan Project, highlight the Laboratory’s current and historic research projects related to defense and technology, and focus on Laboratory research related to national and international economic, environmental, political, and social concerns. Admission is free. Open Sunday and Monday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (505) 667-4444 or lanl.gov/museum/index.shtml.

The Forbes Magazine article can be found at http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/04/24/americas-richest-counties/.

For more information about Los Alamos County, go to http://visit.losalamos.com/