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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.

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