Sunday, April 18, 2010

Can Do Trail Ancestral Pueblo Ruins

The Can Do Trail leads 0.5 miles from the McPhee Recreation Complex mesa top campground to the Ridge Point Lookout then continues another 0.5 miles down the cliff face to the boat ramp area.

McPhee Reservoir is centered on the Big Bend of the Dolores River in southwest Colorado. I started at the Ridge Point Lookout and descended most of the way, stopping to avoid the mud from the last of the melting snow. 

The area to the right of the boat ramp is the site of the former busy lumber town of McPhee which from 1924 to 1948 was the busiest lumber town in Colorado. The best views on the Can Do Trail are along the segment that descends toward the boat ramp.

The mesa top segment was designed as a no barriers trail and has benches every 300 yards. The trail segment leading to the campground area has a bench that is close to the cliffs. This area of forest is mostly Pinon Pines and Utah Junipers. I noticed that most of the rocks along the trail are rounded, as if this area was once a stream bed. There are small patches of sagebrush interspersed among the forested areas.

Among the highlights of the Can Do Trail is a small Ancestral Pueblo ruins site. This site is in the trail segment between the campground and Ridge Point. There is an interpretive sign indicating that this site has a circular tower and several room blocks and dates from around 970 AD.

The circular tower is clear but the room blocks are mostly unexposed. The sign also says this site was visited by pot hunters before it was studied by archaeologists. I spent about 1:00 hour for about 2 miles on a 60 F degree mid April day.