Boulder Mountain

I spent the better part of yesterday behind bars. Handlebars, that is. (See what I did there?) Our group of eight, led by Lyman, explored Boulder Mountain on dirt bikes. I’d previously hiked with all of the group members on different occasions, but this time it was a pleasure to spend some time with and learn from Lyman. Alan and I loaded our motorcycles into his van the previous evening and then left Price early the next morning and met up with some others at Wade’s house in Ferron. We staged near the Aquarius Guard Station at the base of Boulder Mountain where we met Lyman and Josh. We got rolling at about 9:45 and headed generally south until picking up a road that led east onto Boulder Top. There were a few interesting stops along the way, including one by me when I dropped my motorcycle while trying to climb out of a rut in the road. Luckily it was my only major mishap of the trip.

Staging area near the Aquarius Guard Station
Staging area near the Aquarius Guard Station

Cabin at the bottom of the Miller Creek Trail
Cabin at the bottom of the Miller Creek Trail

Dark Valley
Dark Valley

Half-Track at Row Lakes
Half-Track at Row Lakes

Field of dandelions
Field of dandelions

This trip was actually supposed to happen the previous weekend but the Forest Service hadn’t yet opened the gates onto Boulder Top due to snow drifts. The one-week delay made a big difference and we climbed up onto the plateau without encountering any snow on the road. We lunched at Spectacle Lake and then continued across Boulder Top on the way to Bown’s Point. One part of the road along the way crossed through Bakeskillet Lake. Wade braved through it first and then everyone followed. At the next major road junction we ran into a couple of vehicles, one of which was piloted by a good friend of Josh–another one of those “small world” moments.

Sign at Boulder Top near South Point
Sign at Boulder Top near South Point

Cabin at Spectacle Lake
Cabin at Spectacle Lake

One of several beetles that landed on me
One of several beetles that landed on me

Spectacle Lake
Spectacle Lake

Alan and Paul riding through Bakeskillet Lake
Alan and Paul riding through Bakeskillet Lake

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things is not like the others

Talking to some of Josh’s friends that we bumped into
Talking to some of Josh's friends that we bumped into

Stink Draw
Stink Draw

Pot leaf carving
Pot leaf carving

Cabin near Oak Draw
Cabin near Oak Draw

Mosquito feeding on me
Mosquito feeding on me

Nearing Bown’s Point
Nearing Bown's Point

The view east from Boulder Mountain is unparallelled. You can get a good taste of it from Highway 12 on the eastern flank of Boulder Mountain, but that’s 1,500 to 2,000 feet below where we stood. From Bown’s Point we could see Capitol Reef and the Henry Mountains and beyond. Almost every color imaginable is visible in the vegetation and geology for as far as one can see. To get a better view to the north we hiked the Great Western Trail for a short distance.

Top of stock trail at Bown’s Point
Top of stock trail at Bown's Point

View across Capitol Reef toward the Henry Mountains
View across Capitol Reef toward the Henry Mountains

Capitol Reef in the foreground and the San Rafael Reef faintly visible in the distance
Capitol Reef in the foreground and the San Rafael Reef faintly visible in the distance

Lower Bown’s Reservoir
Lower Bown's Reservoir

Trail sign
Trail sign

Long Lake
Long Lake

Blazed tree along the Great Western Trail
Blazed tree along the Great Western Trail

It took some backtracking to the northwest until we hit another road leading east to Chokecherry (Tantalus) Point. It rained for much of that part of the ride, and I think the thunder had at least a few of us worried. The rain eased as we stopped for another hike along the Rim Trail to Chokecherry Point. At the point was a visitor register in a tea tin, but historically there was a different register that was visited by explorers, hunters, sheep and cattle herders, and other pioneers. The view from Chokecherry Point was much the same as from Bown’s Point, except one could see farther north from Chokecherry.

Road across a meadow at Oak Draw
Road across a meadow at Oak Draw

Road across Oak Draw
Road across Oak Draw

Intersection at Stink Flats
Intersection at Stink Flats

Road near Chokecherry Point
Road near Chokecherry Point

Rim Trail leading to Chokecherry Point
Rim Trail leading to Chokecherry Point

Visitor register at Chokecherry Point
Visitor register at Chokecherry Point

Cluster of Asteraceae growing in basalt rocks
Cluster of Asteraceae growing in basalt rocks

Part of the survey tower from 1934
Part of the survey tower from 1934

Fins in Capitol Reef
Fins in Capitol Reef

Jorgenson Flat
Jorgenson Flat

We took a more direct route back to our vehicles, with a quick stop to hike Bluebell Knoll, the highest point in Wayne County at 11,317′ in elevation. It turned out to be my 10th county high point in Utah–only 19 left to go! The mosquitoes were at their worst on Bluebell Knoll, and I’m glad it was late enough in the day that nobody wanted to spend much time there. :) It was an easy gravel road from there back to our vehicles, but we’d seen a huge variety of road conditions during the day. From gravel, dirt, mud, snow, and rocks, we’d seen just about everything except sand and ice. My previous motorcycle experience hadn’t prepared me at all for this trip. At the beginning I felt uneasy and always on the edge of control, but by the end of the trip I was cruising easily and feeling completely comfortable on the rough, rocky roads.

Beef Meadows
Beef Meadows

Group photo at the Bluebell Knoll sign
Group photo at the Bluebell Knoll sign

Gentle uphill climb to Bluebell Knoll
Gentle uphill climb to Bluebell Knoll

Geocache at Bluebell Knoll
Geocache at Bluebell Knoll

Pond southeast of Bluebell Knoll
Pond southeast of Bluebell Knoll

Mosquitoes attacking
Mosquitoes attacking

View southwest off Boulder Mountain
View southwest off Boulder Mountain

GPS at the end of the ride
GPS at the end of the ride


Photo Gallery: Boulder Mountain
GPS Track and Photo Waypoints:
[Google Earth KMZ] [Gmap4 Satellite] [Gmap4 Topo]