To find Boulder Canyon Trail from the Boulder Lake trailhead parking area, stay on the road towards the campground. After crossing Boulder Creek, look for the trailhead sign on the right.
Starting off in the high flats and brush of the land west of the Wind Rivers, for the first five miles Boulder Canyon Trail climbs very gradually as it follows Boulder Creek upstream. Within the first mile, Boulder Creek is crossed twice to end up on the north side of the creek, where it remains. At about the 1.5 mile mark the trail moves away from the creek, and passes a long, wet, marshy area on the left.
After passing the wet marshy area, Boulder Canyon Trail returns to the creek at about the 2.5 mile mark. Now in more wooded and hilly terrain, the steep hillsides of the creek valley start to close in as one is now in Boulder Creek Canyon. Here, the trail runs close to the creek for the next two and a half miles.
At the 5.0 mile mark, Boulder Canyon Trail veers north to follow another creek - Boulder Creek North Fork. Following this new creek, the trail climbs steeply up to the shelf where the Lake Ethel Trail #7164
junction is found at the 6.3 mile mark, as Boulder Creek North Fork cascades down mini-falls to the right of the trail, to empty into Boulder Creek. Boulder Creek North Fork is the outlet creek of Lake Ethel that is just beyond the trail junction if one goes left onto Lake Ethel Trail #7164
. To continue on Boulder Canyon Trail, go right at this trail junction.
Leaving the Lake Ethel Trail #7164
trail junction behind, Boulder Canyon Trail is temporarily flat as it crosses the cascades of Boulder Creek North Fork on a sturdy bridge. A small lake, Dugway Lake, is passed on the left and the trail begins to climb again. The terrain is more open and barren from here until the end of the trail. As the trail climbs, the Boulder Creek North Fork valley, with Lake Ethel in it, is below, to the left, and the rocky hillsides rise to the right.
At the 8.0 mile mark, Boulder Canyon Trail, veers right to climb over a ridge. After about a half mile, the Pipestone Creek valley appears below. Pipestone Creek is another Boulder Creek tributary. Here, at the 8.5 mile mark, the trail veers left, and high above Pipestone Creek, continuing to climb in the open rocky terrain, the trail follows Pipestone Creek upstream.
Pipestone Creek is the outlet creek of Lake Vera, a tiny lake where Boulder Canyon Trail ends at a trail junction with Highline Trail #7094 .
Low brush at the beginning. Then thin mixed forest and some recovering burn areas. Rocks.