|Rifle Gap reservoir and the town of Rifle Gap in the distance.|
In our quest to be outdoors and away from people (don’t worry the scars are healing), we stumbled upon Rifle Mountain Park which happens to be a rock climbing destination known world-wide (or so some rock climber dude told us). As we looked up from the bottom of the gulch, there were little dots hanging on the sides of the mountains that turned out to be buff daredevils that looked like climbing spiders. My brother and his oldest son are avid rock climbers but we just don’t get it; it looks scary and painful.
|The buff daredevil is at the bottom center of the picture in black pants. She still has a long way up to go.|
|The beautiful, interesting drive through Rifle Mountain Park.|
|Of course, there has to be a Spirit picture. She wears a bell now to warn bears.|
Another day and we were off to Rifle Falls State Park just a few miles up the road. The small park entertains visitors with its mysterious caves and rushing triple waterfall. The East Rifle Creek sprays over the limestone cliffs and provided a much needed mist on a warm summer day. The area was first populated by ranchers but soon the attractive falls led to the construction of cabins and opened as a tourist attraction. The town of Rifle built a hydroelectric plant which changed the creek’s natural flow and created the three distinct falls. Camping, hiking, and fishing are popular activities at this small, but very lovely, 100-acre park.
|There is a great view of the falls and creek from the top.|
|The limestone caves were started as tiny holes|
that slowly grew into large caverns as water
dissolved the rocks.
|The short trail leads you around the base of the falls, |
through the caverns and then around the top of the falls.
|Even Spirit ventured in. |
|The caves were really interesting to explore.|
While exploring downtown Rifle we visited Centennial Park. The park tells the history of Rifle from its founding in 1905 to 2005 and exhibits along the hiking trails guide you through the years. Like so many towns Rifle grew out of the mining industry. Vandium was prized for its ability to harden steel thus in the 1920's the industrial revolution made this mineral in constant demand. One of the focal points of the park is the statue "Over the Rainbow" which is a cowboy riding a rainbow trout. The statue combines the Colorado cowboy history and the famed rainbow trout fishing in the area. Betsy loved this statue in particular.