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.


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 66 said…
I did, that was just a typo.

Popular posts from this blog

Old California State Route 140 and California State Route 120 entrances to Yosemite National Park

This past October I sought out the original Yosemite National Park entrance alignments of California State Route 140 and California State Route 120.


Presently CA 120 enters Yosemite National Park in Tuolumne County via the modern Big Oak Flat Road.  Originally CA 120 entered Yosemite National Park via the Old Tioga Pass Road and CA 140 a entered via the Old Big Oak Flat Road.  Previously the history of the Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Pass Road were discussed on Gribblenation.  Articles pertaining to the Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Pass Road within the boundary of Yosemite National Park can be found below.

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park) 

The Tioga Pass Road


Part 1; early highways into Yosemite and Legislative Route 40

The Big Oak Flat Road is the second oldest highway into Yosemite just behind the Old Coulterville Road  Much of the alignment of CA 120 is presently incorporated by the path set out by the Big Oak Flat Road.  The history of the Big Oak Flat Road …

Box Canyon Road (former US 60, US 70 and the second California State Route 195)

This past month while visiting Riverside County I drove Box Canyon Road from Interstate 10 near Chiriaco Summit southwest to Mecca in Coachella Valley.  Box Canyon Road is mostly known for being the original alignment of US 60/70 when they were expanded into California.


Box Canyon Road is an approximately 15.8 mile road between I-10/Cottonwood Springs Road near Chiriaco Summit which travels southwest through the Mecca Hills to Coachella Valley where it becomes 66th Avenue. 


Box Canyon Road follows a naturally cut wash through the terrain of the Mecca Hills.  The path of Box Canyon Road has been a known route of travel from Coachella Valley to the Colorado River and eastern Sonoran Desert for centuries.  During the California Gold Rush a wagon route known as the Bradshaw Trail was plotted through the Sonoran Desert by William D. Bradshaw.  The Bradshaw Trail was plotted in 1862 through the Sonoran Desert east over the Colorado River to a new mining strike found in La Paz, Arizona.  B…

The original alignment of US Route 40 over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and Carquinez Scenic Drive

This past November I took a day trip out to the Carquinez Straights to explore the original alignment of US Route 40 over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and Carquinez Scenic Drive.



Part 1; the history of road bound travel over the Carquinez Straights

The Martinez-Benicia Ferry began operation in 1847 and is the second oldest ferry in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Martinez-Benicia Ferry shuttled traffic across the Carquinez Strait long before a bridge was present in the area.   The Martinez-Benicia Ferry was founded by Dr. Robert Semple and was taken over by Oliver Coffin (interesting last name) who built the Ferry Street Wharf in 1850.  The Martinez-Benicia Ferry can be observed even vintage maps such as the 1857 Britton & Rey's Road Map of California.


By 1915 a steam ferry known as the City of Seattle was the first to carry automotive traffic across the Carquinez Strait.  Access to the Martinez-Benicia Ferry was by way of Legislative Route 14 and Legislative Route 7.  LRN…