BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Another Colo. Highway 141 Treasure: The Hanging Flume

The Denver Post on Saturday did a story about unlocking the mysteries of the Hanging Flume, a 19th Century wooden structure clinging to the sandstone walls of the Dolores River Canyon in far-western Colorado along Colo. Highway 141. Colorado tourism boosters call the region "Hanging Flume Country," a historic mining district amid Colorado Plateau red rock canyon country nearly spitting distance from the Utah state line. It's one of my favorite parts of Colorado, and certainly one of the least-known regions of the state. Here's what the Hanging Flume looks like from above:

A closer view:

Even closer:

The Hanging Flume was built between 1888 and 1891 as a means to send water to a gold mine in the Mesa Creek Flats area. The mine went bust, and the flume was left derelict on the canyon walls, where it remains, in a somewhat tattered state, today.

Highway 141 runs from Grand Junction to U.S. 491 northwest of Dove Creek, about 165 of the most stunning highway mileage in Colorado. It's far from everywhere, threading through some of the most amazing geology in the state: Unaweep Canyon, Gateway, the Dolores River Gorge, Big Gypsum Valley, Disappointment Valley and much more. If you've never driven the highway, it's a highlight of any western Colorado road trip.