Unaweep / Tabeguache Byway, Colorado
At Gateway, CO Hwy. 141 meets up with the Dolores River, and turns south.
The Dolores River is much more dramatic than East Creek, especially when the road gains altitude. Several turnouts provide views of the valley around Mile Marker 81.
There are a couple of turnouts. I stopped at the first one--an unofficial parking area, which provided a nice view of the river and canyon walls. But I didn't notice the area's famous historic relic, Hanging Flume, until I stopped at the second, official, parking area.
Hanging Flume is a 7-mile long wooden aqueduct attached to the side of the canyon. The three year project was completed in 1891, and carried water to a nearby hydraulic mining site. The flume carried 23 million gallons of water a day, and even though it's no longer functional, it's amazing that after a century, much of the wooden structure still exists.
Keep an eye out for birds catching updrafts, as wind rises from the canyon.
While CO Rte. 141 circles around the Uncompahgre Plateau, many BLM-managed dirt roads criss-cross it. These roads are open for ATV's and 4wd vehicles, mountain biking and hiking. For bikers, there's also the 142-mile Tabeguache Mountain Bike Trail, that winds from Montrose to Grand Junction.
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