Among the more remarkable remnants of America’s nineteenth-century gold rush is the Hanging Flume, a 21-kilometer track built along the walls of Colorado’s Dolores River Canyon that was used to transport more than 30 million liters of water a day for use in hydraulic gold mining. To construct the Hanging Flume, trestles were built over ditches while sections suspended over the river were attached to the sheer rock faces with the aid of cantilevered iron placements.
Shortly after the Montrose Placer Mining Company, which commissioned the flume, went bankrupt in the 1890s, it was abandoned. Over the years, local miners and scavengers have carried away its wooden elements for use in other projects, creating large gaps in the length of the structure. Stretches that have survived have been damaged by biological growth and erosion of the sandstone cliff face.
Last update: December 2010