Alpine County, officially the County of Alpine, is the smallest county, by population, in the U.S. state of California. As of 2010, it had a population of 1,175, all rural. There are no incorporated cities in the county. The county seat is Markleeville. Alpine County is located in the Sierra Nevada, between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.
Alpine County was created on March 16, 1864 during a silver boom in the wake of the nearby Comstock Lode discovery. It was named due to its resemblance to the Swiss Alps. The county was formed from parts of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mono and Tuolumne Counties. At its formation, the county had a population of about 11,000 with its county seat in Silver Mountain City. By 1868 however, the local silver mines had proven unfruitful, and the population fell to about 1,200. The county seat was moved to Markleeville in 1875.
After the silver rush, Alpine County's economy consisted almost entirely of farming, ranching, and logging. By the 1920s, the population had fallen to just 200 people. With the construction of the Bear Valley and Kirkwood ski resorts in the late 1960s, the population increased to the present level.