Kaplan-Hoover Bison Bone Bed
The Kaplan-Hoover Bone Bed site is located near the Poudre Trail and features an extensive archaeological site. More than 2,700 years ago, Archaic-era people of the region directed bison into the creek, or arroyo, where they were trapped, killed, and butchered. The site is remarkable as the largest bison kill site from the Archaic era in Colorado (8000 to 2000 BC).
Accidentally uncovered after construction grading unveiled the bone bed in late summer of 1997, the Colorado State University Anthropology Department was brought in to investigate. After 97 charcoal samples from the site were recovered and radiocarbon dated, archeologists determined the event occurred around 800 BC. To date, approximately 4,000 bison bones have been recovered with an estimated 200 animals at this site, representing one of the largest single event arroyo kills documented.
Archeological investigations concluded in 1999 and the site was covered over. The Kaplan-Hoover Bone Bed was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In 2004, the site was purchased with private and public funds to ensure preservation. It is now part of the River West subdivision.
While the site is located on private property, visitors today can view the site from the Poudre River Trail. Standing at the wayside sign, visitors can look across the Jodee Reservoir to view the site. Unfortunately, the housing development obscures the natural topography. However, by looking just to the north of the houses, visitors can see an undeveloped area where the cliff of the arroyo recalls the natural feature of the landscape used by the Archaic-era people to trap the bison.
Private property - view from trail.
From the Poudre River Trailhead located at 32554 CR 13 in Windsor, head west on the trail for approximately 2/3 mile for an interpretive wayside for the Kaplan-Hoover Bison Bone Bed.