Bluebell Knoll doesn't sound like much until you see the elevation of the Knoll, well over eleven thousand feet, 11317 to be exact. Now with a name like Bluebell Knoll, you get this minds eye picture of a gentle rise located in the deep south of our country. It doesn't quite work when you look at the elevation and go "yikes, that baby is eleven thousand feet high" and that changes the "deep south" comparison. The air is thin enough to give most flatlanders a good headache if they try to exert themselves without a bit of acclimitization. Still, it is a simple stroll from your vehicle to the highest spot, a distance of less than a quarter mile and a mere 200 feet of elevation gain. Yet, at 11000 feet plus, a smart person will take their time in reaching the highpoint. Your summit to do list:
Check out the large cairn with a register, find the benchmark that is nearby, and take some time to sit down on a convenient nearby log and read the entries to see who else has made the pilgrimage to this relatively obscure place. Yup, almost all the signatures are those of county highpointers and locals. Still, a sharp looking craggy peak would be more fitting for this elevation but it is not to be so sit back, have a snack and enjoy the scenery as there are several lakes to peer down at.
What sets this Knoll apart is the fact that it is the highest point in Wayne County and sits as the crown jewel of the Aquarius Plateau which rises 6000 feet above the colorful canyon country of Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The extensive highlands of this plateau include rich forests of aspen, spruce, and fir as well as subalpine grasslands and scattered wet meadows. The plateau's northeastern corner, known as Boulder Top or Boulder Mountain, is a glaciated tableland above 11,000 feet dotted with numerous lakes.
The Aquarius Plateau is a region within Garfield and Wayne counties in south-central Utah. The plateau, an uplift on the much larger Colorado Plateau, is the highest in North America. It is over 900 square miles (2330 km²) of mostly forested highland, much of which is part of Dixie National Forest. (The source of this information)
The plateau includes Boulder Mountain which peaks at 11317 feet at Bluebell Knoll and has over 50,000 acres (200 km²) of rolling hilly terrain above 11,000 feet (3350 m). Scott Patterson wondered if this page could be titled Boulder Mountain/Bluebell Knoll so I have thought that point over and felt it important enough to put Boulder Mountain into the title of this page since BB Knoll sits atop the overall aspect of Boulder Mountain. The area is also referred to as just Boulder Top so it can get a little confusing. The locals call it Boulder Top (from my experience of asking about Bluebell Knoll while in Loa) but county highpointers really only know it as Bluebell Knoll. Whew, I bet that helped to make this nomenclature issue crystal clear.
The county seat is located at Loa, with a population of 525 people that represents 20 percent of the population when you consider that the whole population of Wayne county is a mere 2500 lucky souls. Lucky? Yes, lucky because this area is really a great area. The town of Torrey down the road is particularly outstanding in its proximity to some of the most scenic parts of Utah.
Getting ThereA long drive and a short stroll gets you to the top of this one.
From Bicknell,Utah, drive east on Utah Hwy. 24 for 2.5 miles, and then turn right on a paved road. Drive 3.8 miles to a junction where you will see signs about "Kings Ranch" and "Bouldertop." Turn right (may be signed as the Posey Lake Rd) toward Bouldertop. Go 3.6 miles to a road split, and take the left fork. Drive 0.7 mile, find FS Road 178 and follow it 12.8 miles to a gate and a sign about the road being closed from October 31 to June 15. Continue up onto the Aquarius Plateau for 3.2 more miles, and look for the typical brown and tan information signs indicating Bluebell Knoll. Park here at 11,177 feet. From the road, it is a short stroll to the summit area.
One quarter mile with less than 200 feet of elevation gain, not much of a work out but this county highpoint counts as much as Kings Peak does in the Utah scheme of things. You need to get them all if you want to complete the state. A rock cairn marks the spot as well as a Benchmark and a register. Some nice views of the surround area can be found
Red Tape/ WeatherNo red tape to access this peak. A vehicle with high clearance is a good idea however. In a heavy winter year, the roads to the Aquarius Plateau may not open until July. We were told that the roads were still blocked with snow as of July 1st but we opted to find out for ourselves and found the roads open. Still, it might be a good idea to call the ranger station at Loa.
Loa Ranger station
138 S Main St, Loa, UT
CampingThere are no campgrounds on the Aquarius Plateau but car camping is allowed with the leave no trace ethic to be followed along with common sense of camping in a fragile environment. I did note on the map I created from National Geographic topo, a campground listed just to the east of Bicknell. For those with a yen for a movie, check out this movie theatre that is in Bicknell.
Not bad for a town of 353 people but don't expect a McDonalds.
Loa Utah information about camping
Wayne CountyThis relatively unknown county is home to about 2500 people (2000 census)
The county seat is Loa. The name of Wayne County is believed to have derived from the following possibilities:
1. For Wayne Robinson, whose father Willis E. Robinson served in the Utah State legislature.
2. For American Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne.
Take your pick, it probably doesn't really matter. I personally would choose Wayne Robinson but then that is just me.
Cities and towns:
* Loa (county seat)
* Torrey (gateway to Capitol Reef)
County Highpointing LInksA tremendous resource to those interested in county highpointing can be found at www.cohp.org This is a huge help to those chasing the nations county highpoints.
High in Utah
Hiking Utah's Summits
Bluebell Knoll (Boulder Top) also ranks #74 on the top 100 Highest Utah peaks list.