Friday, November 5, 2010

Woods Canyon Square Tower

There is an old road that provides an easy descent down into Woods Canyon in the Canyons of the Ancients in southwest Colorado. The access is at the corner of County Roads U and 14, west of the community of Yellowjacket, northwest of Cortez, CO along Highway 491.

There is some parking along the road across from one of the carbon dioxide plants in the area. The south leg of the trail leads to a large Ancestral Pueblo ruins site after about 0:45 minutes of hiking.

I continued on the trail past the Woods Canyon Pueblo for another 0:40 minutes until the route seemed to fizzle out in a thick sagebrush field. In the fall, the creek at the bottom of Woods Canyon had a healthy flow of water. The northwest canyon slope appeared easy to climb at this point, so I decided to walk up hill to get a better view. I didn’t realize it, but the mouth of a side canyon was only a short distance ahead.

At the hill top, I had a good view into the side canyon and noticed a square tower perched on the west side cliffs, below the rim. From the distance, I couldn’t see any other structures nearby. This location made it appear that the tower kept a watch on the side canyon entrance. The area below the tower appeared to be steep and I decided just to view the tower from the distance. I was 1:50 hours into my hike at this view point.
I turned back north along the east rim of this side canyon, expecting to see more ruins sites, but didn’t notice anything. I made my way back to the main Woods Canyon and descended back to the canyon floor trail in the vicinity of the Woods Canyon Pueblo. My total hike took 5:30 hours for seven or eight miles. It was a 60 F early November day and I carried 3 liters of water.

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