Friday, October 5, 2012

Dolores River at House Creek

The House Creek Recreation Complex is a 65 site campground and 4 lane boat ramp site on the McPhee Reservoir of the Dolores River. This facility is in the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado. It is located 13 miles northwest of the town of Dolores using Forest Road 526 with a left turn on Forest Road 528.

House Creek is one of the flooded tributaries of the Dolores River about 5 miles upstream of the McPhee Dam. Before arriving at the Recreation Complex, there are 3 pull over bank fishing sites along House Creek with short trails leading toward the water.

There aren't any official hiking trails in the House Creek Complex, but there is room to walk along the shore and the park roads. In the fall, the McPhee Reservoir level may be low enough to expose Ancestral Pueblo ruins sites that were flooded by the reservoir project.

It looks like there is a ruins site on the cliffs near the mouth of the flooded House Creek. This site isn't very far below the high water line. I saw one piece of pottery associated with this circular pile of rubble.

Part of the exposed lake bed is easy to walk on and other parts are steep but with ledges. On the south end of the Complex there is a section of forest above the high water line.

In this forested area that would have had a high view of the Dolores River there is a vague rubble pile that could be a ruins site.

Associated with the rubble pile were several pottery shards and what looked like a set of grinding stones. There are some unofficial trails leading to this forest area from the group site at the south end of the complex. I continued a short distance further south to a flooded side canyon and then returned along the complex roadways. My total walk around the House Creek area took 2:00 hours on an early October day.

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