November 13, 2014
Boulder Mountain is a destination all in itself, with endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and recreation. With more than 50,000 acres of forest on the Aquarius Plateau, Boulder Mountain is the highest timbered plateau in North America. Blue Bell Knoll — called Boulder Top by locals — peaks at 11,313 feet. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular in every direction, with Capitol Reef National Park to the east, Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area and the Escalante River to the south, to name a few scenic highlights.
High Altitude Fun
Off-roading, hiking, biking, mountain biking, fishing…there’s so much to do on Boulder Mountain. Paved and unpaved mountain roads give access to Boulder Mountain’s scenic areas for camping, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and ATV/off-roading. Some of Boulder Mountain’s roads are paved for travel by passenger car, but many of the rugged backcountry roads require a high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle to navigate — providing lots of backcountry, off-road adventure for Jeeps and ATVs. Scenic Byway 12 is well-maintained, making Boulder Mountain’s lower elevations accessible almost year-round. Boulder Mountain Loop, Jacob Loop, and Hell’s Backbone are popular with ATVs and mountain bikes. The historic Great Western Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico, crosses Boulder Mountain with access points from Scenic Byway 12, Pleasant Creek Road, Deer Creek Road and North Slope Road.
Venture into the back country on cross country skis, and snowshoes and enjoy the scenic solitude of this majestic mountain plateau. Keep in mind that roads leading onto Boulder Mountain will be less accessible during winter months so pick your starting point based on best weather related access points.
Explore the Backcountry
Backcountry hiking trips lead through spectacular scenery. Posey Lake and Hell’s Backbone are two of the most popular backcountry trails on Boulder Mountain. Keep in mind that many of Boulder Mountain’s high-elevation backcountry roads may be closed due to snow from November through April, and sometimes into June. Local guides and outfitters can assist with backcountry hiking and horseback riding trips. Don’t forget your camera as you explore this picture-perfect region!
Bring Your Fishing Pole
As one of the two major high-elevation lake areas in Utah, Boulder Mountain is a fishing paradise with about 80 fishable lakes, creeks and streams. Anglers love Boulder Mountain’s relatively long alpine fishing season, which runs from April to November. Blind Lake is Boulder Mountain’s largest fishing lake, famous for its plentiful trout population. Boulder Creek, on the east side of Boulder Mountain, also boasts an abundant trout population, with brook and cutthroat at the upper levels, and rainbow and brown at the middle and below. Wild brook and cutthroat populations thrive at Oak Creek, another of Boulder Mountain’s high elevation fishing waters, at 9,400 feet. Calf Creek is known for its abundant wild brown trout population, but you’ll compete with the local beavers. Heading down the mountain, Pine Creek and Pleasant Creek offer different fishing experiences: Pine Creek is naturally abundant with wild brown trout, while Pleasant Creek is hatchery-stocked with rainbow trout. Most of Boulder Mountain’s fishing lakes can be reached easily on foot from the road with a short hike. Deer Creek, an exception to the rule, requires a three-mile hike, but at 10,000 feet elevation, this alpine creek boasts some of the best wild populations of brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout, plus a remote, serene fishing experience that can’t be beat.
Camping is popular and plentiful on Boulder Mountain, but if spending the night under the stars isn’t your thing or if you want to be more centrally located within Bryce Canyon Country, you’re in luck. Located northwest of Boulder and Escalante, Boulder Mountain is easily accessible from Scenic Byway 12, making it convenient from any of Bryce Canyon Country’s lodging towns. Boulder and Escalante, conveniently located right along Scenic Byway 12, offer excellent lodging, dining and services, as well as easy access to Boulder Mountain.
Read more about Boulder Mountain here.