Bureau of Land Management Road 1594 leads to the top of Duffy Mountain. Gina Robison, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office, recently completed the “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” self-guided driving tour, which covers the area southwest of Craig, including Duffy Mountain. Robison said the tour brochure offers insight into the history along the route.

Photo by Michelle Balleck

Bureau of Land Management Road 1594 leads to the top of Duffy Mountain. Gina Robison, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office, recently completed the “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” self-guided driving tour, which covers the area southwest of Craig, including Duffy Mountain. Robison said the tour brochure offers insight into the history along the route.

The road previously taken

‘Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles’ tour brings past to present

Advertisement

photo

Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

The “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” self-guided tour begins and ends in Craig and makes a loop that includes Colorado Highway 13, Moffat County Road 17, Bureau of Land Management Road 1594 and U.S. Highway 40.

Tips for the best experience on the “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” tour:

• Drive a high-clearance vehicle.

• Avoid the tour when the roads are muddy.

• Stay on the designated route.

• Allow four to five hours to complete the tour.

• Take time to explore.

Source: Gina Robison, Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office

Get a copy of the brochure

Copies of the “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” tour brochure are available at the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St. The brochure can also be downloaded directly below.

Quotable

“When I do this, it’s like looking at an area and appreciating what your community has to offer. There’s really more to it than people think.”

— Gina Robison, outdoor recreation planner for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office, on the “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles” self-guided tour

Gina Robison gazed out over the valley from a scenic trail on Duffy Mountain.

“Look at this,” Robison said Tuesday morning. “Can you see why I love this area? It’s just so primitive and peaceful.

“I want people to get outdoors and experience this.”

Count that as a top reason Robison, outdoor recreation planner for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office, has created a new project.

Robison released the self-guided tour, “Journey 65 Million Years in 65 Miles,” in recent weeks. The tour begins at the intersection of First Street and Colorado Highway 13 in Craig and heads south to Moffat County Road 17, which drivers take northwest through Axial Basin. The tour concludes by heading east on U.S. Highway 40 back to Craig.

The tour includes a drive to the top of Duffy Mountain in the summer, but stays the course of County Road 17 past the mountain in winter.

The original one-page project began as a way to showcase Duffy Mountain — an area Robison strives to promote for public use — but quickly grew as Robison discovered more information.

“When you start doing the research, it’s like, ‘Wow, this area has a lot of history,’” Robison said. “It just expanded into this whole tour.”

The self-guided tour, which took about two years to come to fruition, is now a 20-page brochure and will likely grow into a book and a downloadable audio tour, Robison said. Robison said the pared-down information in the brochure will be expanded with more photos to fill the book she’s planning.

“I think (knowing the history) makes any place you go a little more interesting,” she said. “Do the research … then you can appreciate it a lot better.”

Highlights from the tour include historic sites such as former bustling towns, bridges critical to supply transportation, livestock corrals, railroads and even a Ute tribe horse-racing track.

“During this tour, you really get a feel for the people who shaped Northwest Colorado,” Robison said. “It doesn’t look like much out here (southwest of Craig), but once you start looking around and exploring and seeing the houses and the history, you realize this was really busy once.”

And while recent history is evident, the tour gets its name from history much older than those attractions.

Robison said the area featured in the tour used to be underwater, part of the Western Interior Seaway that divided North America into two halves, more than 65 million years ago.

“Eventually it dried up,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons we have so many fossils here.”

Robison points to impressions in rocks on Duffy Mountain that provide evidence of either dinosaur tracks, fish nests or weathering. The mountain’s rocks also have markings of downed trees remaining.

In addition to the history that abounds on the tour, Robison said the route offers plenty of opportunity to view birds and wildlife, hike, photograph and camp.

Duffy Mountain especially, Robison said, offers a “one-stop shopping area” for recreation, from river access to off-highway vehicle riding to geocaching.

“If you’re a local, it’s a great place to come and get away for the weekend,” Robison said. “I really think it has everything you want.

“I just love it up here. There’s something about the scenery and what it has to offer.”

And while residents can learn about their backyards with the easy-to-follow directions, Robison said the brochure was designed for tourists.

The BLM partnered with Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Tourism, the Community Agricultural Alliance and the Museum of Northwest Colorado to create the “65 Million Years” tour.

“If you want to promote your town, I think this is a good way to do it — how did this place come to be here and what is this town all about?” Robison said.

She said the tour is a culmination of her passion for her job of sharing public lands, as well as her interest in researching the area’s history.

Robison said she hopes the project will raise awareness about the area’s recreational offerings as well as the beginnings of this piece of Northwest Colorado.

“When I do this, it’s like looking at an area and appreciating what your community has to offer,” Robison said. “There’s really more to it than people think.”

Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.

Comments

David Moore 3 years ago

As I was sitting in front of the computer reading this article, I realized that I had a free day with nothing to do, what an opportunity to do some exploring. I have been through this area a few times, but with a guided brochure telling the story along the way, I could not pass it up. I loaded up the truck with fuel and a lunch and set out on the journey of 65 million years in 65 miles. As I passed 1st street going south on 13, I hit the reset on the trip odometer, doing this will put me in the right places according to the mileages listed on the tour brochure. I encourage anyone who has not done this route to do so if you have a free afternoon. If I may I would like to offer some advice based on my trip: 1. The mileages listed started to become erroneous right about Empire energy, by the end of the trip it was about 6 miles off. I assume this has to do with tire sizes, maybe the author was in a little tiny truck with smaller tires than mine. My suggestion to the author would to have gone my landmark or mile markers instead. A little addition and subtraction kept me on course though, a co-pilot would have been nice to do this for me. 2. Duffy mountain is steep and rocky in some places, I do not recommend taking the family car on this portion. An SUV or pickup will do just fine. There is one water crossing just before hooking back up with CR 17 after descending Duffy...not more that 12" deep or so. 3. Do not attempt the Duffy portion while it is raining, the dirt there would create a muddy mess and you are sure to get stuck. I stopped by the old Juniper Springs and lo and behold, its open for swimming or soaking. There were people having a good time swimming. I found many of the places in the photos and had a great time. Round trip was about 4-1/2 hours and with the GPS location on my phone I did not have to drive down any roads to see where they ended up as some turns are unmarked. I downloaded the brochure and printed it off right from my computer via the link provided. Thanks to Gina Robison for putting this together, it eventually worked out well and I enjoyed my journey back 65 million years.

0

David Moore 3 years ago

And one more thing...why go to all the trouble to cut a tunnel 2,000 feet through solid rock when the cropland that is irrigated by it has a river running right through the middle of it? Seems like alot of wasted effort to me, but I'm not a farmer either.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.