Are you using a screen reader? Click here to view the navigation links for this site as a bulleted list.

Partner logos: BLM, FWS, FS, NPS, University of Montana Logo
Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage
Text size: A | A | A  [Print]

Boulder River Wilderness

General Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws
Photograph taken in  the Boulder River Wilderness
Forest Service


The United States Congress designated the Boulder River Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 49,444 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Washington and is managed by the Forest Service.


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.

Planning to Visit the Boulder River Wilderness?

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.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

Give us your feedback