Friday, November 4, 2011

Hawkins Preserve in Cortez

The Hawkins Preserve is a 122 acre site on the southwest side of Cortez in southwest Colorado. It was donated by Jack Hawkins in the 1990s to the Cortez Cultural Center, and though private is open to the public. The parking area can be found with a west turn on to Verde Vu off of South Oak Street and then following the signs along a gravel drive. There is a small sign at the turnoff.

In the parking area there is an information kiosk with a map showing the network of trails. A paved trail runs west along the north edge of the preserve. I followed the Slickrock Trail that starts at the northeast corner and travels southwest.
The Slickrock Trail is listed as 0.33 miles and then transitions to the Rim Route that is listed as 0.52 miles.
At the start of the Slickrock Trail there is an outdoor work of art that is the logo of the Hawkins Preserve.

These short trails visit several habitat areas including sagebrush fields, Pinon Pine and Juniper forest, and sandstone outcrops with potholes, before arriving at the canyon rim overlooking McElmo Creek.

At the rim, there are views toward Mesa Verde and the LaPlata Mountains in addition to the riparian habitat along McElmo Creek. Hiking is restricted below the rim except with a special permit. There are two log benches at the spot along the rim rock named Patrick’s Point.

Looping back away from the canyon rim back to the north, the Hawkins Pueblo is protected under a large roof. This site is described as from the Pueblo II period and was occupied for 350 years from 900 to 1250 AD.
A visitor can view the outlines of several room blocks. There are other small archaeology sites on the preserve, but I didn’t notice any of these during my hike.

 There are some unexcavated rubble piles nearby that are not under the protective roof. There may be some small alcove sites below the rim that can’t be viewed without the special permit.

On the return hike along the paved segment of trail there is another trail side work of art representing a buried and decorated pottery bowl. My hike at the Hawkins Preserve was for about 1.8 miles in 1:20 hours on a 56 F degree early November day. I didn’t see any other visitors during my hike.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog and pictures.