The Anasazi (now often known by the more politically correct term Ancient Puebloans) were the ancient inhabitants of the 4 corners area. The Fremont were the ancient inhabitants of the northern Colorado Plateau. Boulder is in the gray area where they both met. The small pueblo excavated and recreated at the museum is one of the furthest north Anasazi settlements found. It is far from other more populated settlements, though appears to have been abandoned on purpose about the same time as the other ancient settlers left their larger area in the mid 1300's.
The extent of the anasazi dwellings throughout Utah is finally beginning to be understood in the wider population, though their life, beliefs, and disappearance continue to be debated.
This small museum has some nice finds including a clovis point from the earliest inhabitants of North America. There is also a short film, a small display of a pueblo, interesting contrasts of pottery between the Fremont and Anasazi. Out back is the replica pueblo and excavated pueblo with a small kiva.
Combine a visit here with a visit to the Fremont Indian Museum state park near Richfield and the Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding for a more complete understanding of the ancient people who inhabited what is now Utah.
One of the wonderful side trips from Boulder is to travel the Burr Trail. The Burr trail was first built by John Atlantic Burr an early settler who needed a way to move his cattle between winter and summer ranges as well as to market. One early traveler, Josephine Catherine Chatterly Wood, wrote: 30 October 1882, "It is the most God-forsaken and wild looking country that was ever traveled. . . . It is mostly uphill and sandy knee and then sheets of solid rock for the poor animals to pull over and slide down. I never saw the poor horses pull and paw as they done today."
The road begins in the small town of Boulder heads cross country through the Gulch and Long Canyon out past the Circle Cliffs across the White Flats and down the Waterpocket fold switchbacks before heading south following the Bullfrog wash to what was then the Colorado River and is now Lake Powell.
Up until 1994-5 the entire road was dirt, subject to muddy conditions, wash outs and legal hassles over who had the right to pave it. Garfield County wanted to pave it in order to bring in tourists and business. Environmentalists argued that paving it would destroy the wilderness quality with more off road vehicles tearing up the pristine land. Eventually Garfield County won...at least to the border of Capitol Reef National Park. William Penn Mott, Jr., then director of the National Park Service, toured the trail and eventually recommended that it become an all-weather, low-speed national scenic route. His plan did not find support and it remains a dirt road through the park.
To travel the entire 68 mile route is a marvelous experience. This is some of the wildest and scenic country in the states. The switchbacks down the Water pocket fold are impressive. Imagine driving cattle down them! At the bottom of the switchbacks the road connects to the Notom Road coming south along the eastern side of the park. It too is unpaved. Both roads when in good condition are fine for regular passenger cars. But there can be rock falls, washouts, muddy roads, and the clay is especially bad when wet.
If all you can do is drive part of the way, then go the first 16-17 miles all the way through Long Canyon. You'll want to stop in Long Canyon and explore the short crevasse that some call a slot canyon. There are hikes that head out in both directions from the Gulch where there is also off road camping.
Situated on an overlook of the Escalante River valley, this place has Location written all over it.
But not only that, the vision of the builder was to weld the building into the location. It was built lovingly over many years in the spirit of a Kiva with natural materials gleaned slowly.
Coming from the south you'll hit the unassuming parking lot first and wonder if you believe the sign that this is it... It is. Turn off the road and park and walk down the steps to the entrance.
The food is simple and good and filling and served with heart.
Favorite Dish: They also have two rooms for rent. They share the wonderful view if you are lucky enough to find them available.
Again, I have yet to eat here as they are closed for lunch when we are usually in the area.
However, ever since they first opened with the idea for fresh and local ingredients they have made a culinary impact felt far beyond the limited local population. Accolades come from far and near and one day I will stay the night in Boulder so I can eat at this famed restaurant.
Getting to Boulder is worth the drive all by itself. Coming from Torrey in the north over Boulder Mountain and the Aquarius plateau you get wonderful views of the Waterpocket fold of Capitol Reef, golden Aspen in the fall, campgrounds, waterfalls, and numerous backroads leading to lakes with great fishing. This road was only paved in the late 1980's leaving Boulder before that on a dead end road from Escalante.
From Escalante in the south you'll be driving a road not completed until 1971. Once you drive it you'll understand why as the rough rock over which it was built consists of gullies, and hogbacks, steep canyons and white slickrock. It offers uncomparable views of a wild and unforgiving land.
Bring a camera and take your time.
The old road from Escalante to Boulder had to go around the white rock Escalante wilderness and the Death Hollow and Sand Creek canyons up 9000 ft into the mountains. Until it was built in the '30's by the Civilian Conservation Corps mules had to bring the mail to Boulder.
It is still unpaved, though the old bridge has been replaced with one more likely to last when a car goes over it.
We tried to finally take it this last time down for a visit, but it snowed a foot the day we were going to do it and I just didn't feel like driving in the snow through the mountains.
When you stop at one of the many Scenic Views look around, but also down there might be some squirells walking around...and if you are lucky the eat right out of your hand..