The Falls Creek Archaeological Area is a 1500 acre section of the San Juan National Forest in a hidden valley on the northwest side of Durango in southwest Colorado. The trail head is in the Junction Creek area, reached by a west turn at 25th Street off of Highway 550. After the road name changes to Junction St, there is a north turn on County Road 205. At the north turn, there is a sign pointing out Falls Creek.
Many artifacts from the shelters were found during excavation, but it isn’t mentioned where these artifacts are now. It is mentioned that the rock shelters have pictographs on the back walls.
While hiking, near the wetlands, I could hear the continuous croaking of frogs, but didn’t see any ducks. There would have been Pinon nuts and acorns to find here. Native grasses and Yucca fibers were used to manufacture baskets, rope, sandals and bags.
The sites were excavated by Dr. Earl Morris in 1940. Dr. Morris is also known for work around Mesa Verde and the Ute Mountain Park area. One of the hikes offered at Ute Mountain visits the Morris 3 site.
The people here were identified as from the Basketmaker II era and evidence of house construction was uncovered. The house description sounds like the interpreted early pit houses that are on display on the Mesa Top Tour at Mesa Verde.
These imported materials were often used in making beads and pendants for personal use. These personal artifacts were considered important as giving clues to the spiritual and emotional life of the residents.
My hike from the introductory sign to beyond Falls Creek lasted for 2:00 hours on a 70 F degree early May day. I saw one other hiker and several mountain bikers during my hike.