Bluebell Knoll • Highpoint: Wayne County
• Range Highpoint: Aquarius Plateau

Boulder Top Mountain
from the forest road

On top the plateau,
here's Bluebell Knoll

The knoll as I started the hike

Raft Lake as seen from the knoll

The forest service sign

On the descent, near Cook Lake,
I saw this smoke plume from
a nearby forest fire

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Date: July 15, 2006 • Elevation: 11,328 feet • Prominence: 2,900 feet • Distance: 0.5 mile • Time: 20 minutes hike • Gain: 150 feet • Conditions: Lovely, but with thunderheads in the distance

Bluebell Knoll is a gentle hill on top of a large plateau called Boulder Top Mountain, in the hinterlands of south-central Utah. It was on my agenda, as the first of a set of five or six county highpoints I had planned for a few days here in Utah. A couple weeks earlier Beth and I were in Hawaii, and in a week or so, we'd be back east in Virginia. I had a week open and decided to seek out these various peaks, while Beth stayed back at the house in Arizona.

I made the gigantic drive to Boulder Top Mountain in one long push, leaving our house at 4 a.m., in ungodly hot conditions. Our thermometer read 98 degrees, and later, I would learn from Beth that the low in Phoenix had been 96, the high 118, setting records for the day in general, and highest overnight low for all time in Phoenix. I was too happy not to be there.

I followed Interstate-17 to Flagstaff, then US-89 to Page, Kanab, Panguitch, Circleville and Koosharem, finally rolling into the lovely little burg of Loa around 1 p.m., in pleasant weather. Wayne County has more scenery per square yard than most places in the world, with Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks within its boundaries, and endless gorgeous high-desert sandstone bluffs and forest everywhere else. Even the ugly parts of Wayne County are stunning. Loa is the county seat.

I drove south out of Loa into the community of Bicknell, then following a series of local paved and BLM dirt roads before meeting up with the Dixie National Forest Road. The roads were gravel and pretty good, except for some washboarding. About 20 miles later, the road makes a final steep push up to the plateauís top, then bumps and grinds its way another three miles to Bluebell Knoll. I parked at a junction to the southeast of the knoll.

The hike went very quickly and easily: I didnít even change out of my Teva sandals. In about 10 minutes I had walked the quarter-mile and 150 feet of gain to the broad top, where I found a cairn, post and big rock nearby, plus a register. The views were very nice, including a nice view of Raft Lake to the northeast. I spent a few minutes on top, then walked back to my truck, where I brought out the camp chair and had a nice lunch. I was in no hurry. Soon, though, I got moving.

The drive down went well, and I decided to follow a different road out, directly back to Loa and avoiding Bicknell and some road construction along the way. In Loa I stopped at the food mart, where my cell phone pooped out on me, and the pay phone was not working either (I wanted to call my wife), so the nice ladies in the market let use the storeís phone. That was sweet! So, in return, Iíll put in a good word for the Loa Food Mart. Stop in, say hi, and get your supplies there.

The highpoint of Sevier County, Fishlake Hightop, is just a few miles up the road, northwest from Loa. I drove some good gravel roads and found a nice camp space, setting myself up for a hike of that peak the next morning.

(c) 2006, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.