Many are the mysteries of the Boulder River Wilderness. Less than 25 miles from Puget Sound, as the marbled murrellet flies, rise the crags and soggy forests of this wilderness. With elevations ranging from 700 feet to nearly 7,000 feet these mountains are the initial wringers to wet winter storms blasting through the Straits of Juan de Fuca from the North Pacific. The hills have been sliced by glaciers past, vigorous streams continue to cut the mountains down to size. Creeks tumbling thousands of feet from the glaciers of Whitehorse and Three Fingers create scenic waterfalls into the dense woods of hemlock, Douglas Fir and cedar. Feature Show Falls along the Boulder River Trail may be the most accessible and best known; it drops 200 feet from the base of Mt. Ditney directly into the Boulder River. Steep granite walls, a veritable little Yosemite, are tucked among the ridges on the east side of the wilderness provide some of the finest rock climbing in the Cascades, for those in the know. Wildlife, while shy of humans, is common in the area. Mountain goats and black bear can be seen on the slopes of Whitehorse Mountain for those who patiently watch. Black Swifts, kestrels, and larger hawks patrol the skies searching for a size appropriate meal. While Three Fingers Mountain is prominent on the skyline from Interstate 5, remains elusive. Difficult road and trail access makes it a stiff 2 day hike to the lookout cabin on its summit. The historic lookout was built in 1932 after the summit spire was levelled by former Ranger Harold Engles. Volunteers now maintain the historic building which has a vertiginous series of ladders ascending rock cliffs on the west and a 4,000 foot cliff out the back window of the lookout to the valley of Clear Creek far below.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Boulder River Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Washington State Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-339 (7/3/1984) To designate certain National Forest System lands in the State of Washington for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and for other purposes.