Saturday, June 6, 2009

Squaw Point Trail

The Squaw Point Trail is a steep rough 4WD road that climbs out of Cross Canyon to the west of McLean Basin close to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument along the Utah and Colorado border. This trail is on the Utah side of the border but still BLM land.

The Cross Canyon access road is 2.7 miles northeast of the turnoff to the headquarters of Hovenweep National Monument along paved County Road 10. The access road descends steeply for 2.3 miles down into Cross Canyon and crosses a creek. Just past the creek there is a right turn that enters Cross Canyon and heads toward McLean Basin and the Cross Canyon Wilderness Study Area.

The trail I followed is about 1.2 miles up this road on the left. It is clearly visible while descending into the canyon. This rough uphill road connects to other roads on top of Squaw Point.

This is a view toward the Squaw Point Trail from a cairn on top of Ruins Point.

As the trail climbs there are increasingly better views of the west side of McLean Basin. After about 0.5 miles the trail levels out briefly and turns away from Cross Canyon. I turned off the trail and climbed toward a fence to get the highest possible view of the area below.

From this high view point I scanned the area below for ruins sites. I could see two that I have visited before that are below the Pedro Point Pueblo ruins site, but didn’t clearly see any others.

To the north along the fence line there was a jumble of very large boulders that looked like a possible foundation for an Ancestral Pueblo Ruins site. There were many nooks and sheltered areas that looked promising. I walked completely through the boulder area without seeing anything and turned back, and then spotted a small sheltered area with some rubble piles and some small wall sections still holding together.
It was an 85 F early June day and the biting gnats that prevail in June in the canyon areas were torturing me. This was only about a 1 mile hike and I spent 1:30 hours enjoying the views and searching for the ruins site.

Below the Squaw Point Trail to the east there is hilly area that the map calls Ruins Point. On another day in late June I hiked up onto Ruins Point hoping to find more ruins. I started this hike from the overlook point before the Cross Canyon access road begins to descend steeply and hiked down the road until I was below the steep cliffs.

Leaving the road I descended cross country past an area of large boulders and climbed the Ruins Point hills from the northeast side where the slope was gradual. There are a series of high points on Ruins Point that looked like they would make good building sites, but all I found was two rock cairns. There are good views from the hilltops but I didn’t find any Ancestral Pueblo Ruins.

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