The Highest Timbered Plateau in North America: Boulder Mountain

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Do yourself a favor and stop off Highway 12 when traveling from Torrey to Boulder to visit one of the many high-alpine lakes the area has to offer. On Boulder Mountain, which sprawls over an expansive 50,00 acres and is the highest timbered plateau in North America, you’ll have more than 80 lakes and ponds from which to choose. Many can be accessed via well-maintained dirt and gravel roads or are just a mere hike from the road via rolling forest and meadowlands. In addition to its many lakes, Boulder Mountain is also approximately one half of the Aquarius Plateau in Wayne and Garfield counties.

What Makes it Great

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The possibilities are endless for adventure on Boulder Mountain.

Whether you are in for a hike along the Great Western Trail, an ATV ride, or camping at Fish Creek Reservoir, the scenery is epic. And Fish Creek is just one of the many lakes on the mountain. The fishing in said lakes can’t be beat when compared to other destinations in Utah. They are easily accessible and filled with hungry fish, typically brook trout, but you might also angle for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, tiger trout, splake, and grayling.

Bluebird Knoll is the mountain’s—and the area’s—highest peak; it rests at 11,313 feet above sea level. Blind Lake is the mountain’s largest lake, covering 52 acres, with a maximum depth of 52 feet.

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A popular lake for families is Lower Bowns Reservoir, a 125-acre lake (when full) easily accessed with passenger vehicles down a dirt and gravel road. It’s located several miles off of Highway 12 on the east side of Boulder Mountain, and affords incredible views of the desert and the Henry Mountains. Pit toilets and a number of primitive campsites with fire pits and benches are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Plus, the fishing is killer here as well.

What You’ll Remember

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The smell of pine as you wrangle a big brookey. A picturesque sunset over a lake brimming with wildlife. And the vantage you have of Capitol Reef to the north and the Grand Escalante National Monument to the south.

Who is Going to Love It

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Fishermen fond of reeling in big brook trout and camping in one of the most pristine high-elevation forests in Utah. Also, anyone who likes clear, crisp air, and bountiful options for day hikes. So, basically, everyone.

GPS Coordinates, Parking and Regulations

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Lower Bowns Reservoir: 38.106952, -111.271465
Fish Creek Resevoir: 38.163968, -111.438441

Boulder Mountain can be accessed year-round, except right after big storms in the winter. For fishermen, the highest likelihood of catching something is in the fall, but it’s generally pretty great from spring to late fall as well. The elevation, ranging from 7,000 to 11,000 feet, is perfect for cooler temps during summer months, but storms occur frequently in the afternoon.

Dogs are allowed off-leash on most trails and campsites. Fees are not required to enjoy nature at Boulder Mountain.

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