The name Boulder Mountain is commonly used to refer to the high plateau area, including the Aquarius Plateau, between Hwy. 24 (Loa/Torrey) and Hwy. 12 (Escalante/Bouder). It is one of two major high-elevation lake areas in Utah; the other is the Uinta Mountains, in northeastern Utah.

There are approximately 80 small lakes on Boulder Mountain (depending on how loosely you use the term "lake" – some are pretty small). Most waters are managed as fisheries. Several streams also contain significant fish populations and provide good angling opportunities.

Most of the high lake areas in the U.S. are located in the north and have harsh climates. Snow piles deep on Boulder Mountain, but it has a considerably longer fishing, hiking and camping season than the Uintas or Wyoming's Wind Rivers.

Much of the mountain is heavily forested and the land is managed by the Dixie National Forest.

There are countless roads on the mountain, providing direct vehicle access to many lakes. Of the lakes not accessible by vehicle, virtually all are within three miles of a road. (Check with the Forest Service, because there is a movement underway to close some unimproved roads, to prevent erosion and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.)

Most back roads are extremely rough (in harmony with the name Boulder Mountain), and can only be traveled using high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles.

Long backpack trips are possible on the mountain and lead through remarkable country with incredible scenery.


Details

Highest point: Bluebell Knoll, at 11,313 feet.

Largest lake: Blind Lake, covering 52 acres, with a maximum depth of 52 feet.

Key attractions: The east slope overlooks Capitol Reef National Park and the south slope overlooks the canyons of the Escalante River, both offering spectacular scenery. Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area is located on the southern edge. Powell Point, on the southwest edge, provides an amazing panoramic view. Small streams draining from the mountain into the Escalante (Boulder Creek, Calf Creek, Sand Creek and Pine Creek) offer good fishing in rugged canyons with classic red rock and sheer cliffs.

Best fishing: Flies and jigs in dark colors are usually productive. Small lures are also effective. We're often asked to list lakes that hold big fish. We choose not to do that because these lakes are fragile and we don't want them to be overrun. In general, lakes with fast fishing are full of small fish. Lakes with slow fishing may hold trophies.

Seasons: Highways 12 and 24 are kept open year-round, except during major storms. Backroads become snowpacked in late October or November. Roads on Boulder Top don't clear until early or mid-June. Most Boulder Mountain lakes are closed to fishing from Nov. 1 through April 23 (check the proclamation).

Information: Dixie National Forest, Teasdale District: (435) 425-3775; Escalante District: (435) 826-5400.

Guides and Outfitters

Escalante Canyon Outfitters: (435) 335-7311; (www.ecohike.com).

Outdoor Source: (435) 836-2372; www.outdoorsource.net.

Alpine Anglers: (801) 425-3660, (888) GUIDE31 (484-3331).

Lodging

Boulder Mountain Lodge: A modern, comfortable lodge in the town of Boulder. (800) 556-3446; www.boulder-utah.com.

Red River Lodge: Elegant yet rustic, this lodge also offers fishing along a private section of the Fremont River. Located in Teasdale. (800) 20-LODGE; www.redriverranch.com.

Road Creek Ranch: Excellent resort with lodging, restaurant, private fish ponds and bird hunting. Located in Loa, between Fish Lake and Boulder Mountain. (800) 388-7688.

Camping

More than a dozen public and private campgrounds are located around Boulder Mountain and in the surrounding towns. Private sites offer RV hookups, showers and laundry facilities in addition to tent sites and other accommodations.