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Boulder is a quiet farming community located at the junction of the Burr Trail and Scenic Highway 12. Nestled at the base of Boulder Mountain, Boulder is surrounded by the Dixie National Forest to the north and west, and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to the east. With lodging, dining, guides and outfitters ready to accommodate visitors, Boulder is a great base of operations for exploring scenic Bryce Canyon Country.
Boulder is located on Scenic Highway 12, rated one of the ten most scenic highways by Car and Driver magazine. Amazing Bryce Canyon National Park is just to the south on Highway 12. Other nearby attractions include such wonderful places as Kodachrome Basin State Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Dixie National Forest are all located nearby.
Between 1050 and 1275 A.D. the Boulder area was home to one of the largest Anasazi Indian communities in the region. Hopi and Paiute Indians briefly occupied the region in the following centuries. The remote community of Boulder was settled in 1889 by two ranchers who brought a large herd of cattle to graze on Boulder Mountain. Surrounded by mountains and public lands, Boulder remained isolated until the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work relief program for young men during the Great Depression, built a road in 1935. Accordingly, Boulder was the last town in the United States to receive its mail by mule train. Boulder was officially incorporated in 1958. Three decades later the northern portion of Scenic Byway 12 was paved over Boulder Mountain, opening up this rural community to tourism.
Anasazi State Park was established in 1970 to preserve the relics and history of Boulder's earliest inhabitants. Much of the village remains unexcavated but many artifacts are on display in the park's museum. Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and Kodachrome Basin State Park near Bryce Canyon are also within easy driving distance of Boulder.
Boulder is within half a day's drive from Bryce Canyon National Park (77 miles west), Capitol Reef National Park (46 miles northeast), and Zion National Park (158 miles southwest). Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is on the southern border of Boulder, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area/Lake Powell is just 75 miles southeast of Boulder to Bullfrog Basin.
Scenic Byway 12, Utah's first All-American Road, offers amazing sights within easy reach of Boulder. Head north on Scenic Byway 12 from Boulder to high-elevation fishing on Boulder Mountain. Head in the opposite direction toward Bryce Canyon for access to the Hogback, Escalante Canyon and Bryce Valley or spur roads that lead to Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Hell's Backbone and Posey Lake. A drive east on the 66-mile Burr Trail passes through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, and the Henry Mountains to Ticaboo and the shores of Lake Powell.
The Boulder Heritage Festival celebrates Boulder's history, from its ancient residents to its pioneer settlers. The festival is held each July and features arts, crafts, music and stories.
Lodging, Dining and Amenities
With half a dozen motels and campgrounds in Boulder, you'll find a variety of accommodations from yurt and teepees at the Coyote Hors Du Temps to luxury guest rooms at the Boulder Mountain Lodge. A variety of restaurants are open seasonally. The Hills and Hollows General Store is open year round, providing groceries, fresh sandwiches, handmade pizzas and homemade bakery treats, plus gifts, gas and camping supplies. Local outfitters can assist visitors with everything from guided day hikes to llama pack trips.
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