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Pinedale Online > News > April 2006 > Boulder Lake current conditions

Boulder Lake. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Boulder Lake
View looking northeast from the lake outlet to the Wind River Mountain Range and Continental Divide.

Boating Boulder Lake. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Boating Boulder Lake
Fishermen head out on the lake to try their luck and enjoy the beautiful day.

Boulder Trailhead. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Boulder Trailhead
Trailhead parking area at the upper end of Boulder Lake.

Boulder Creek. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Boulder Creek
Boulder Creek tumbles past the National Forest Boulder Campground at the upper end of the lake.

Boulder Lake Lodge. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Boulder Lake Lodge
Boulder Lake Lodge is located at the upper end of Boulder Lake.

Stokes Crossing. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Stokes Crossing
Old historic crossing of Boulder Creek below the lake.

Turkey Vulture. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Turkey Vulture
This large bird is almost as big as an eagle. It's bald head, denude of feathers, allows it to more easily poke its head into the carcases of dead animals to feed.

Mule Deer. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Mule Deer

Pregnant Pronghorn. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Pregnant Pronghorn
These pronghorn antelope mothers will be having babies in about one month.
Boulder Lake current conditions
April 30, 2006

Last weekend, we scoped out Fremont and Half Moon Lakes and told you the boat ramps were free of ice, but there was nowhere to go with your boat because the lake surfaces were still frozen. Not true of Boulder Lake, just a few miles to the south (as the crow flies)! We checked out this area on Saturday, April 29, taking advantage of a beautiful, warm sunny day. The ice is completely off the lake and boaters have the entire lake for fishing and motor boating.

Boulder Lake
Boulder Lake is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Pinedale, accessed by gravel roads from US Hwy 191 or Boulder Highway 353. The lake is approximately four miles long and Ĺ mile wide. Its cradle was created by glaciers thousands of years ago as thick flows of ice carved a deep trench as they slowly drained out of the Wind River Mountain Range. The lake has roughly a northeasterly orientation, with half being in forest at the base of the Bridger Wilderness and the lower half in dry, open sagebrush hills.

The western and lower side of the lake and outlet stream are accessed via a gravel road which takes off from US Hwy 191 approximately a mile north of the town of Boulder. The eastern side of the lake is accessed from a gravel road which takes off from Highway 353 off of Hwy 191 at the tiny town of Boulder, which is 11 miles south of Pinedale.

This area doesnít see a lot of use and is a great place to go for a day to take the boat out for a spin on the lake and cast your line into the crystal clear water. The gravel access roads are all clear and dry with no problem for trucks, sedans or RVs being able to get in. Some portions of the road are a little bumpy due to washboards, but arenít a problem as long as you drive at a reasonable speed for the conditions. Watch out for trucks hauling boats in and out and kids on 4-wheelers on blind corners.

There are boat ramps at the lower (BLM) and upper (USFS) end of the lake. Spring melt should do a lot to bring the lake water level up. Right now the 2ater level is still low enough nothing is flowing over the overflow spill chute on the dam at the lower end. The upper end of the lake is forested and the lower end is in open sagebrush hills. For anyone who is a geology buff, this is a paradise for examples in glacial moraines and outwash. You can see lateral and terminal moraines, huge boulder remnants and kettle topography. Deer, antelope, elk and moose inhabit this area. We saw a large turkey vulture sitting on a fence post near the lake.

Boulder Creek
This is a good sized stream at both the inflow and outflow of the lake. Water is still running clear and fast. A fisherman told us he hasnít had much luck with the fishing in the creek downstream from the lake, however.

Boulder Lake Campground
There are two campgrounds on Boulder Lake and another small one at Stokes Crossing further downstream. The US Forest Service Boulder Lake Campground is at the upper end of the lake near the inlet in a forest setting. This campground is 25 miles from Pinedale, accessed by a good gravel road from the Boulder Lake Road off Boulder Highway 353. The campground has 20 units in mixed pine, aspen, willow forest. There is NO potable water at this campground, so bring your own! Restrooms are pit toilets. Because there are no services, there is no fee to stay at this campground. Stay limit is 10 days. There are pull in campsite units and pull-through units for RVs. All are first-come, first serve, none are reservable in advance. Elevation is 7300 feet.

Boulder Lake Trailhead-Wilderness Access
The trailhead is located not far from the National Forest Campground at the upper end of the lake. This trailhead offers access to the middle portion of the Bridger Wilderness and receives moderate hiker and stock use. There is a large parking lot with plenty of room for trucks pulling horse trailers. Facilities include several stock corrals, hitching posts and horse trailer loading ramp. There is a restroom and hiker check-in station at the trailhead by the corrals.

The first five miles of the trail to the wilderness is a gradual incline, then three miles of steep uphill trail with switchbacks. There are very limited camping places for the first 8 miles due to the topography. This area was burned in 1988 by a wildfire, so expect to see charred trees on this route. There is a large parking area near the trailhead with toilets and corrals. No drinking water available

Even though this is open, rocky sagebrush terrain, there are no rattlesnakes in our area of the Upper Green and in the high Wind River Range. You may see water snakes in the mountain lakes or streams, but they are not poisonous.

If you are out walking through the sagebrush, be sure to check yourself, the kids and the dog for ticks when you get home. These insects are extremely tiny and often not felt when walking across the skin as they look for a place to lodge and start sucking blood. Throw the clothes from the day into the laundry hamper and wash as soon as possible.

Stokes Crossing
Accessed by a primitive dirt-gravel road, Stokes Crossing is a historic stream crossing site on Boulder Creek, a few miles below the outlet of the lake. There are only remnants of the historic crossing structures across the stream. The BLM has made a little picnic area with four overnight camp spots. There is no drinking water or garbage service at this little site tucked in the sagebrush hills. There is a grove of fir and pine trees and willows line the stream bank. There are miles of two-track roads near by for 4-wheeling or mountain bike riding. Since there are no services, and you must bring your own drinking water, there is no cost to camp here. Stay limit is 14 days. A pit toilet building is on the site. There is a large grassy parking area and a couple of picnic tables and campfire pits. The area offers fishing, hiking, 4-wheeling, motor biking, mountain biking, photography and exploring.

Burnt and Meadow Lakes
The roads to Burnt and Meadow Lake were still gated off on Saturday due to wildlife closures around the elk feedground. The closure ends April 30th, and the roads open May 1st, so these back roads will be open by the time you read this story.

Boulder Lake Lodge
Boulder Lake Lodge is located on the east side of Boulder Lake, near the upper end summer homes. They offer lodging, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, boating, wilderness pack trips, hunting and more. www.boulderlakelodge.com

Photos and story by Dawn Ballou and Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online!



Related Links
  • Campground Info - Wind River Mountain area developed campgrounds
  • Trailhead Info - Wind River Mountain Trailheads
  • Boulder Trail Hike Photo Gallery - Dave Bell Photo Tour
  • Ticks - What they look like and how to remove them

  • Big Boulder. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
    Big Boulder
    This area has many BIG boulders strewn throughout the area. Thousands of years ago glaciers deposited these boulders upon the land.

    BLM boat launch area. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    BLM boat launch area
    Overlook view of the BLM boat launch area on the east side and lower end of Boulder Lake. There is lots of parking, restroom facilities, handicapp access and a cement boat ramp.

    Putting in. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Putting in
    BLM boat launch area on the lower end of Boulder Lake.

    Whirling Disease. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Whirling Disease
    Signs warning boaters about Whirling Disease are posted at the boat launch areas.

    BLM Restrooms. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    BLM Restrooms
    Handicap parking and accessible restrooms at the BLM boat access area on the lower end of the lake.

    Cloud Reflection in Lake. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
    Cloud Reflection in Lake
    Poofy white clouds are perfectly mirrored in the Boulder Lake reflection, a testiment to the calm winds this day.

    Boulder Lake Dam. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
    Boulder Lake Dam
    This dam is on the lower end of Boulder Lake.

    Bear Sign. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Bear Sign
    This is bear country.

    4-Wheeling and Fishing. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
    4-Wheeling and Fishing
    There are many miles of gravel road and 2-track roads that can be explored by 4-wheeler or mountain bike.

    Campground Bridge. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Campground Bridge
    Bridge over Boulder Creek leading into the Boulder Campground on the upper end of the lake.

    Pull-through camp spot. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Pull-through camp spot
    Camping spot in the Boulder Lake Campground. There is NO drinking water available here for people or stock. No fee is charged for overnight stays at the campground. Stay limit 10 days.

    Campground sign. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Campground sign
    Developed campground and recreation facilities on the eastern side of Boulder lake.

    Corrals at trailhead. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Corrals at trailhead
    Holding corrals for stock animals near the Boulder campground and trailhead.

    Campground sign. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Campground sign
    Sign leading into the Boulder campground, trailhead and stock staging area. Big boulders like this are scattered throughout the area, hence the name 'Boulder' Lake.

    Trailhead sign-in. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Trailhead sign-in
    Information sign and trailhead sign-in sheet for hikers at the Boulder Lake trailhead.

    Stokes Picnic Area. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Stokes Picnic Area
    Picnic area at Stoke's Crossing on Boulder Creek below the lake.

    Stokes picnic camp. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Stokes picnic camp
    Picnic area and two-track road at Stoke's Crossing. There is no potable water at this site, but there is a small restroom. Come prepared to dry camp and bring your own drinking water. There are miles of roads nearby for 4-wheeling and exploring.

    Green leaves. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Green leaves
    These are the first green leaves of the season!

    Boulder access road. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Boulder access road
    The access road into the western side of Boulder Lake goes through private property. Please stay on the main road.

    Moose poop. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Moose poop
    Moose poop, or "scat" as it is officially known, can be found all through the area. Droppings are large brownish pellets, about an inch in length, and are larger than deer or antelope droppings.

    Ticks are out. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Ticks are out
    Ticks are out. They'll attach to your clothing as your walk through the sagebrush.
    Pinedale Online > News > April 2006 > Boulder Lake current conditions

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