The trail head is 4 miles west from Highway 491, along County Road R from the small town of Cahone, Colorado. This canyon area is part of the Cahone Canyon Wilderness Study Area.
Three deeply cut washes join at this point with a small flow of water at the bottom. I chose to hike south and followed cow trails down into and across the wash over to the west side. About 0.3 miles south there is a short side canyon on the west that seemed to offer the cliffs and large boulder foundations often associated with Ancestral Pueblo ruins sites.
At the upper end of the side canyon I descended down the rocky wash and returned to the bottom. Scanning again with binoculars I saw a wall section under a rocky overhang nearly all the way to the rim. So I had to climb up a second time.
I spent about 3:30 hours hiking and climbing to find this site though the distance was only about 2 miles. The return hike took 1:15 hours for a total hike of 4:45 hours for about 4 miles. It was a 65 F degree mid October day and I carried 3 liters of water. There are many more locations to explore in this area, both up and down Cross Canyon.
I thought it odd at the time, but there are initials “JW” inscribed on the back wall of this site. This is a remote, hard to find site so why would there be graffiti here? After viewing a similar “JW” on the right end the well known Spruce Tree House ruin at Mesa Verde, it occurred to me that JW could be John Wetherill, one of the famous Wetherills that were instrumental in the development of Mesa Verde and other Four Corners ruins sites as places of major interest.
So John Wetherill may have visited this otherwise obscure site and left an historic inscription. Besides exploring the Cahone Trail, John Wetherill established trading posts in southeast Utah and led expeditions into the backcountry near Navajo National Monument, Monument Valley and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. I didn’t see a year carved here but one could guess around 1890.