travel tuesday: hanging out at rifle mountain park

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Did you know that Rifle Mountain Park offers some of the best limestone climbing in the world? You do now! It’s a quick drive from our house, so we took the Jeep there when we had some free time over the weekend.

On the way to the park, you’ll pass Rifle Gap State Park, which boasts a 350-acre reservoir that’s popular for fishing, paddle boarding and boating. Plus, the Gap is where artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Valley Curtain was briefly hung in 1972. Past that, it’s a beautiful drive up to Rifle Falls State Park, which features beautiful caves and a breathtaking, cascading triple waterfall. Next up, the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery that’s linked to the park via hiking trails.

This photo gives you a better perspective on the scale of these cliffs.

Finally, you’ll enter Rifle Mountain Park Now, which is owned and operated by the city of Rifle, Colorado. With its steep, tight walls, a babbling creek and an elevation of 6,500′, it attracts climbers from around the world. There are 250 routes offered in the park with permanently bolted pitons in place for technical climbers to attach their equipment to. You’ll want to grab a Day Pass for $5 as you enter so that you can pull into one of the parking or picnic sites, hike a little and watch the climbers…or do some climbing yourself. (These are very technical climbs, not for beginners.)

There are campgrounds at Rifle Gap State Park, Rifle Falls State Park and a few small sites within Rifle Mountain Park. Plan ahead, they fill up quickly. Both require Day Passes if you plan on entering the parks versus driving by.

Visiting in the winter is just as awesome. There’s ice fishing on Rifle Gap Reservoir; the waterfalls at Rifle Falls State Park freeze and create amazing ice caves; and ice climbers flock to Rifle Mountain Park. You can also snowshoe on the trails!

Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest. © All rights reserved.

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