The district dates back to the Oberamt Reutlingen, which was created in 1803 when the previously free imperial city Reutlingen became part of Württemberg. In 1934 it was converted into the district, in 1938 the district Urach was dissolved and split between the districts Reutlingen and Münsingen. In 1973 the district Münsingen was dissolved, and most part was merged into the district Reutlingen. A few municipalities from the districts Tübingen, Saulgau, Sigmaringen and Nürtingen were also added.
The district is located in the Swabian Alb (Schwäbische Alb). In the south it almost touches the river Danube.
The district had a friendship with the Czech district Chrudim. In 2002 the Czech districts were reformed and the region Pardubice became the successor of the district Chrudim.
The coat of arms is the coat of arms of the Counts of Achalm, who ruled the largest part of the district until the 11th century. Even though these counts never used arms by themselves, the Zwiefalten Abbey appointed them these arms.