Rifle Falls State Park is a small but visually stunning state park in Colorado. Located in the Northwest part of the state, Rifle Falls State Park is the only 80-foot triple waterfall in Colorado. It is a stunning waterfall, but what amazed us was everything else we got to see there. It ended up being a great in and out stop as were driving through.
Our visit took place in October and we basically had the whole place to ourselves. I imagine it would be packed during the summertime. There were a few campers there and two people fishing but the day use parking area was completely empty. We were traveling from Grand Junction area east to Denver so we limited on our time at the park. Knowing what we know now we would have set some more time aside for the remarkable Rifle Falls State Park.
There are much bigger parks in the state, but the fact that Rifle Falls State Park is so small is one of its great features. We got to see a lot of scenery in its small space. Besides the quick walk to the waterfall from the parking lot there are 3 hiking trails all under 2 miles. Make sure you take the Bobcat Trail that leads up to Rifle Falls State Fish Hatchery. It follows East Rifle Creek through a forest and meadows. Here you will pass several smaller cascades.
We actually spent more time at the waterfall at the fish hatchery than we did at Rifle Falls. My wife Karen remarked several times about how lush and green the area was. Our three-year-old loved being near the running water. She would just throw leaves in and watch them float on by. I will say the scenery was impressive throughout the area. We even enjoyed the ride north from the town of Rifle which goes by a very scenic reservoir.
Of course we went to look at the waterfall. However, we got to see so much more. In just a short time we saw several species of wildlife. There was a mule deer that we saw on our hike, a Steller’s jay working on picking up pine needles for its nest, and a flock of turkeys going down the road. It was great to see some wildlife.
As someone who enjoys photography I found the area to be loaded with possibility. I just wish I had more time to fully check out the area. Hopefully we get a chance to go back to Rifle Falls State Park because the whole family enjoyed the spot. Walking away Karen and I talked about next time trying some camping or RVing in one of their twenty campsites. We believe that making at least a whole day out of it would be the best way to experience the park.
Rifle Falls State Park
Location On Highway 325 North of the town of Rifle
Hours of Operation 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. campers have access 24 hours
Cost as of this Posting $7.00 for a Daily
For more information visit their website at http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/RifleFalls
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