On Utah Scenic Byway 12 is located the small community of Boulder, 32 miles north of the town of Escalante, and 40 miles south of Torrey. Boulder takes its name from nearby Boulder Mountain, a vast timbered plateau of the Dixie National Forest that rises to 11,316 feet.
According to the town, it was the last in the nation to receive mail by mule train, changed only by the completion of a year-round road in 1939.
The Boulder population today totals about 180 residents.
The community is a popular jumping off destination for road trips along Utah Scenic Byway 12 and the Hogsback, the Hell's Backbone Scenic Road, the Cottonwood Canyon Road Scenic Backway, Hole-in-the-Rock Scenic Backway and the Bull Trail Scenic Backway.
The area offers bountiful camping, off-roading, hiking and other outdoor activities and options.
Also popular with tourists is the Anasazi State Park, which includes a museum displaying ancient Anasazi artifacts, ruined walls, and other structures from an ancient Native American village.
The Burr Trail, which begins at Boulder, and ends at Bullfrog, is one of our favorite back roads in the country. We have driven it several times, sometimes in a 4x4 Jeep, other times in a 2WD Toyota 4Runner. It is typically quiet, with little or no traffic. In earlier years the entire length of the road was dirt; today parts are paved. The drive and views are stunning! The switchbacks are breathtaking!
The road which connects Boulder with Bullfrog passes through the painted rock country of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Driving time from Bullfrog Visitor Center to Boulder is about 2 hours, while continuing on to the Escalante Visitor Center will make the total trip about 3 hours. The trip can take longer depending on how many stops are made along the way. Part of the trail is paved, the unpaved part is accessible via a typical passenger car most times of the year. One way mileage is approximately 67 miles. About 30 miles are paved.
We have stayed at the Boulder Mountain Lodge during our trips to the area. It offers a variety of rooms and suites, on two floors. It is located at the head of the Burr Trail, at 20 North Highway 12 in Boulder. Phone 435.335.7460. On the beautiful grounds is a pond, the well known and highly respected Hell's Backbone Grill, and an excellent gift shop.
On other trips to Boulder we have stayed at Pole's Place Motel located at 465 North Highway 12, across from Anasazi State Park. It was founded by Eugene Napoleon "Pole" Griffin, and is today owned by a fourth-generation Boulder family. The motel is small, clean and quiet, with free parking right outside your door. Phone 435.335.7422.
Other lodging and B&Bs are also available in the area. Several dining options are available including the Burr Trail Grill, Burr Trail Outpost, Hell's Backbone Grill and others.
The Boulder Mountain Lodge on Utah Scenic Byway 12
View from our suite on the grounds of the The Boulder Mountain Lodge in Utah
Scenic pond at the The Boulder Mountain Lodge
Hell's Backbone Grill at the Boulder Mountain Lodge ... good food, and a good time dining there!
Utah Scenic Byway 12 ... All-American Road
Utah Scenic Byway 12 between Escalante and Boulder, Utah
Burr Trail in Utah ... 11 Miles to Capitol Reef, 52 Miles to Bullfrog Marina
Still on the paved section of Burr Trail in Utah
Entering Capitol Reef National Park in Utah
Brilliant blue skies as a backdrop to the red cliffs along the Burr Trail
Driving the dirt and gravel section of the Burr Trail, experiencing some washboarding, on the way to the switchbacks
The 4x4 got dirty that day on the Burr Trail ... what fun it was!
Getting ready to drive the rapid descent on the switchbacks on the Burr Trail in Utah
We've prepared this short, 4-minute video about the Burr Trail ... sit back and enjoy ... and turn up your volume for some easy-listening music!
Like all YouTube videos, you can click to run it full screen, and mute the music if you like.