Bolton Creek is a waterway managed by the BLM near the small town of Alcova in the state of Wyoming. The creek runs its course between the Laramie Mountains to the east and the North Platte River to the west. The creek is in a remote but reasonably accessible area and is an ideal place to get away from it all for an outback picnic or some quiet fishing. While it is the perfect spot to enjoy some quiet outdoor time, if you're looking for exciting activities, you'll find plenty of those nearby in Alcova and Casper.
Alcova may be a small town with an estimated population of less than one hundred, but what it lacks in size and people, it makes up for with incredible scenery. Lake Alcova, to the north-east of Bolton Creek and to the south of the town, is a stunning two-and-a-half thousand-acre reservoir surrounded by dramatic red cliffs. At and around the lake there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation from kayaking down the incredible Fremont Canyon, to lounging on a white sand beach or hiking interpreted trails. While you can't pitch up in your RV at Bolton Creek, you can in any one of six campgrounds at Lake Alcova.
After spending time in the tranquillity of Bolton Creek or exhausting all the recreational activities in Alcova, including the Alcova Dinosaur Trail, head over to Casper and you'll find more than enough to keep you entertained. From historic military forts to geological or art museums to a planetarium, and if you're there in the winter, a ski resort with more than twenty-five slopes to test your skills on.
Whether you're traveling to Bolton Creek from the north, south, east or west, the best place to head for first is Casper. From Casper, you can join the WY 220 westbound to Alcova. About halfway to Alcova, you'll find the junction for County Road 404 – Bolton Creek Road which leads to the creek area. The 404 is a well-maintained and regularly used roadway, particularly during the summertime. The area around Bolton Creek is a veritable maze of county roads, but only the 404 heads to the creek so take care to stay on course.
From the north of Wyoming, after RV camping in the Bighorn National Forest, you'll be able to hit the I 25 southbound near Sheridan. It's a two hundred and fifty mile trip that will take you through Casper, and you'll be behind the wheel for just over four hours. If you're heading into Wyoming after spending time in Nebraska at the Nebraska National Forest, you'll have a relatively easy run along the I 20 westbound which will take you about four hours to complete.
From the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, you can motor north from Laramie on the US 287 and the WY 487 straight to Alcova. You'll have great views of the Laramie Mountains after you've been on the road for an hour. The journey all told shouldn't take longer than two and a half hours.
There is a small parking facility at Bolton Creek. It is for the parking of vehicles only and not for overnight camping.
There's a great choice of campgrounds at Lake Alcova or Alcova Reservoir as it's sometimes known. They are the closest campgrounds to Bolton Creek. All are open for twelve months of the year and operate on a first-come-first-served basis with fees being payable at the entrance kiosks. County roads into all of the campgrounds are asphalted and kept in good condition. There is no length limit for RVs.
The Fremont Canyon Campground at Alcova Lake offers RV campers a choice of campsites distributed around a small peninsula on the south-west shore of the reservoir with great lake views. The gravel-surfaced pitches are separated by trees to add an element of privacy. If you're planning on navigating the canyon or fishing from a boat, you'll find two boat ramps at this campground. There are no utility hook-ups or on-site amenities. The campground can be accessed via County Road 406 which is an asphalted two-lane road leading off the WY 220 about three miles west of Alcova.
Black Beach Campground is a small site on the south-east shore of Lake Alcova. It has a limited number of pitches spread out around a double loop system. The campground is accessed along County Road 407 directly from the town of Alcova. The lakeside pitches are grass-covered and quite rough so level parking can be a problem here. The majority of the campsites are furnished with sheltered picnic tables and a paved area with a fire ring and grill. There are no utility hook-ups at any of the campsites or on the campground though one block of restrooms has been installed. Black Beach Campground has two boat ramps and an ADA accessible fishing pier.
The Westside Campground at Alcova Reservoir, as its name suggests, is on the western shore of the lake. The campground is accessed along County Road 406 off the WT 220 just outside of Alcova. If you want to swim or enjoy some water sports, this is a good choice of campground to pitch up at as there is a beach. The campsites are surfaced with a combination of dirt and grass and face onto the lake with views of the red cliffs. There are no utility hook-ups at any of the pitches or amenities on on-site.
The area around Bolton Creek is flat and grassy. While not the best of surfaces for hiking over, it is possible to explore on foot. Stroll along the creekside then find a comfortable spot to enjoy a picnic in the open countryside with views of the mountains in the distance.
For a hike with a difference, try the Alcova Dinosaur Trail. The mile-long interpreted loop trail runs through a landscape full of dinosaur fossils and alongside Cottonwood Creek. The slight elevation gain on the trek means there are good views of the lake too. The trailhead is adjacent to the Cottonwood Beach Campground at Lake Alcova.
One of the most exciting and scenic places to go kayaking, canoeing or boating in Wyoming is located just north-west of Bolton Creek. Fremont Canyon is a three and a half-mile long flooded canyon which leads off from the southern shore of Lake Alcova.
It's wide enough and deep enough to be able to navigate it in a motorized craft as well as by canoe or kayak. Lined by steep cliffs either side, there are lots of unusual rock formations, forested slopes and caves to spot along the way.
There's plenty of good fishing both in and around Bolton Creek. At the creek, it's bank or fly fishing only as the creek isn't large enough for floating a craft. Another two great locations for casting hook and line are Lake Alcova and the North Platte River.
Whichever you fish, you could be reeling in some trout, bass, channel catfish or crappies. From the lake, you may well land yourself a kokanee salmon or walleye, both of which will make a tasty grilled dinner when you get back to your RV at night.
The area surrounding Bolton Creek is one that's rich in both minerals and fossils. Find out what's been unearthed there at the Tate Geological Museum in Casper. The museum is located on the college campus and houses extensive collections of fossils including a complete mammoth skeleton.
There are also vast exhibits of minerals, dinosaur fossils and a fascinating reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The museum is a paradise for anyone even slightly interested in geology and paleontology.
The Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge is a seventeen-thousand-acre conservation area to the west of Bolton Creek. The wildlife refuge incorporates several different habitats to provide breeding grounds for many birds and mammals. On the grounds of the refuge, you can spot more than a hundred species of birds including avocets, redheads, and golden eagles. The wetlands also attract large flocks of migrating birds which makes it the ideal place for some serious bird watching.
Just forty-five minutes drive north of Bolton Creek is the Hogodon Basin Ski Area. It's one of Wyoming's top spots for winter sports. The ski area is located on Casper Mountain and has a selection of runs for all skill levels.
There are two ski lifts to carry you up to the top so you can slide your way down through the sixty acres of snowy trails. There are groomed trails for cross country skiing too and as long as there's a decent snowfall, you'll be in for some exciting wintertime fun.