The Cahone Canyon WSA contains a magnificent confluence of three canyon systems-Cahone, Cross, and Dove Creek-that have been cut by intermittent, fluvial erosion into the Morrison Formation and Dakota Sandstone. The stratigraphy is exposed within this area, revealing the historic-geologic processes of portions of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods; the Morrison Formation is rich in fossil plants and vertebrates.
The steep canyon walls consist of shallow, rocky soils, numerous rock outcrops, and talus slopes, while sandstone cliffs and ledges line the canyon rims. The overall ruggedness of the terrain, with its deep, winding canyons, numerous rock outcrops, and boulder-strewn slopes, provides excellent topographic screening, which creates a strong sense of solitude.
The archaeological resources in this WSA also include lithic sites, masonry dwellings and food storage structures dating from the Anasazi culture.
Total Area: 9,189 acres
Elevation Range: ~5,900 to ~6,600 feet
BLM Field Office: Tres Rios
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The Cahone Canyon WSA is located in Dolores and Montezuma counties, approximately four miles west of Cahone; 30 miles northwest of Cortez. It is also associated with and in close proximity to the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, cottonwood, boxelder, Russian olive, willow, tamarisk, and various shrubs. Fauna includes deer, beaver, badger, mountain lion, bobcat, red fox, great horned owls, bald eagles, and various raptors. Ecologically, the Cahone Canyon WSA serves as a natural refuge for native flora and fauna that have been displaced from surrounding areas by agriculture and other human activity.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in WSAs, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.
Click here for additional information about the Cahone Canyon WSA from the Tres Rios Field Office.
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Tres Rios Field Office | (970) 882-7296 | 29211 Hwy 184, Dolores, CO 81323