You’re fully immersed in red rock now, and the massive butte looming over the town (it’s called The Palisade) confirms it. From here, the Byway shadows the Dolores River as it heads southeast, mirroring its every twist and turn. This body of water has way more spirit and drama than mellow East Creek, especially when gaining elevation. If the sheer scenic overload—thousand-foot-tall striated cliffs, endless streams, Montana-grade skies—doesn’t get you, you’re not paying attention. You’ll want to pull over at the Hanging Flume—a 7-mile long wooden aqueduct attached to the side of the canyon. The project was completed in 1891, and carried 23 million gallons of water a day to a mining site. You have to wonder how the heck they built it, and that the wooden structure still exists at all.