The Front Range and plains of Colorado were fertile hunting grounds for the people who lived here in the Neolithic age. To the east of the mountain range runs a sandstone rock system called the Dakota Hogback. This odd formation carved a valley between the mountains and the plains, which gave people cover from the elements and also created a funnel for prey.
Around 9,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Native Americans began hunting in the area now known as Ken Caryl Ranch, taking shelter in the Bradford House II rock formation. Artifacts dating back 5,000 years were found at the site during excavation in the 1970s, including arrowheads, pottery shards, drilling pieces, and stone scrapers.
What’s odd is that this prehistoric rock shelter is in the middle of a suburban Denver neighborhood. It is quite an interesting juxtaposition of new and old, modern and ancient. It’s a stark reminder of the harsh conditions that the ancestors of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute endured in order to make a life for themselves and build a foundation for future generations.
The sandstone absorbs enough sunlight to keep the rock formation and its inhabitants warm even in cold weather. When you visit on a sunny day, you can feel the warmth when you touch the rocks. You can also see how the angled rocks and narrow passageways protect you from the wind. If you face west, you will have a beautiful view of the Front Range.