Boulder, Utah, has been considered the most isolated community in the United States–the only one to which the mail was still brought on pack mules, as late as 1940. Situated as it is on the southeast slope of the Great Divide and lying among the gulches and canyons tributary to the Colorado River, it has no natural outlet to other settled communities.
Travel was on horseback and pack mule. Disassembled farm machinery, sewing machines, in fact, almost everything used in the home or on the farm or the range found its way to Boulder by means of the faithful mule or wagon over roads that were hardly more than dangerous trails. If the mountain roads were made safe, residents felt Boulder would quickly become a regular route for tourists, since travelers agree that for rugged, varied, and colorful scenery, the Boulder country is unsurpassed.
During the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corp workers built a road to Boulder. Besides that road, they also built a lower road, a direct route to Escalante, through sand and ledges. This road, hewn into the rock along sheer sides of canyons, provides delight to tourists.
Cattle was a big industry for Boulder, Utah. “I should estimate,” said John King, “that Boulder cattle at that time (1890 to 1900) numbered around 12,000 head. We drove about 1500 steers out to sell every fall. Of course in those days, we kept the beef steers until they were three, four, and five years old.” Cattle ranged on the mountain slopes and open flats during the summer months and then were moved to the “Lower Country” for the winter. This lower country, viewed from the mountain above, is a picturesque expanse of twisted canyons and gorges, inter-spaced by unbelievably colorful flats and mesas. The mesas and canyon afford good pasture, and there are small streams of drinking water and sandrock holes on the high places that, when filled with rain water or melting snow, make ideal drinking troughs.
Striking names were given to places in this country by early stockmen–Wolverine, Silver Falls, Circle Cliffs, Brigham Tea, Rattlesnake, besides the more prosaic ones such as Long Canyon, Horse Canyon, Wide Mouth, King Bench, Bowns Bench, Moody, and Wagon Box Mesa.
(John King on the Cheese Factory Hill)