Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 19; Colorado State Route 139 over Douglas Pass and the Book Cliffs

After descending Harper's Corner Drive through Dinosaur National Monument to US Route 40 I began a southward course towards Grand Junction.  My route south took me over Colorado State Route 64 where I connected to Colorado State Route 139.  CO 139 south was my route over the Book Cliffs via Douglas Pass.


This blog serves as Part 19 of the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series, Part 18 can be found below:

2016 Summter Mountain Trip Part 18; Harper's Corner Drive to Dinosaur National Monument

CO 139 is an approximately 72 mile north/south state highway connecting from CO 64 in Rangely to I-70 near Loma.  CO 139 through its course travels through rural regions of Rio Blanco County, Garfield County and Mesa County.  CO 139 south of Rangely follows Douglas Creek and the surrounding canyons on a somewhat rugged trek towards Douglas Pass in Garfield County.  Douglas Pass is relatively low by Colorado standards at 8,268 feet above sea level but is one of the few good roads over the Book Cliffs. The Book Cliffs are a long series of desert mountains mostly made of sandstone which lie in western Colorado and eastern Utah.  The actual "cliff" part of the Book Cliffs largely lie at the edge of the Tavaputs Plateau.

The entirety of CO 139 was built during the 1920s and it can be seen on this 1938 Colorado State Highway Map.

1938 Colorado State Highway Map

CO 139 was apparently deleted as a State Highway in 1954.  CO 139 was partially reactivated in 1964 from Loma to Douglas Pass.  By 1975 the remainder of CO 139 to CO 64 was reactivated.

The view below is from side of CO 139 from the top of Douglas Pass looking southward over the Book Cliffs.  The southward descent on CO 139 from Douglas Pass follows a relatively steep 7% grade.


Part 20 of the 2016 Summer Mountain Series can be found below:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series Part 20; Colorado National Monument and Rim Rock Drive

Comments

KC said…
Apologies if I'm mistaken, but you indicate that the Book Cliffs are in "eastern Colorado and western Utah," but these are two non-contiguous areas. Do you mean western Colorado and eastern Utah?
Challenger Tom said…
I did, that was just a typo.

Popular posts from this blog

Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge - Maine

  Spanning over the Ossipee River on the border between Porter in Oxford County, Maine and Parsonsfield in York County, Maine is the 152 foot long Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge. The Porter-Parsonsfield Bridge is built in a Paddleford truss design, which is commonly found among covered bridges in the New England states. The covered bridge is the third bridge located at this site, with the first two bridges built in 1800 and 1808. However, there seems to be some dispute for when the covered bridge was built. There is a plaque on the bridge that states that the bridge may have been built in 1876, but in my research, I have found that this bridge may have been built in 1859 instead. That may check out since a number of covered bridges in northern New England were built or replaced around 1859 after a really icy winter. The year that the Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge was built was not the only controversy surrounding its construction. There was a dispute over building and maintain

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1

US Route 299 and modern California State Route 299

US Route 299 connected US Route 101 near Arcata of Humboldt County east across the northern mountain ranges of California to US Route 395 in Alturas of Modoc County.  US Route 299 was the longest child route of US Route 99 and is the only major east/west highway across the northern counties of California.  US Route 299 was conceptualized as the earliest iteration of what is known as the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.  The legacy of US Route 299 lives on today in the form of the 307 mile long California State Route 299.   Featured as the cover of this blog is the interchange of US Route 101 and US Route 299 north of Arcata which was completed as a segment of the Burns Freeway during 1956.   Part 1; the history of US Route 299 and California State Route 299 The development of the State Highways which comprised US Route 299 ("US 299") and later California State Route 299 ("CA 299") began with 1903 Legislative Chapter 366 which defined the general corridor of the Trinit