As I may have mentioned previously, we bought a camping trailer earlier this year. So since camping is now a lot more comfortable for us than it used to be, we’ve been taking advantage of it to spend time in a lot of places we’ve not been to before. So it was that we spent a weekend in Rifle Gap State Park, on the west side of Colorado.
We honestly didn’t go into this trip knowing a lot about the park — we primarily thought it’d be a nice, quiet place to spend an otherwise hot August weekend. The camp site itself was clean and well-maintained, if lacking in trees to slow the wind. But not that far away from the Rifle Gap campsites is their sister park, Rifle Falls State Park — a real hidden gem of the Colorado State Park system.
The falls are a beautiful oddity. Located at the head of a slim, green valley that’s in the middle of a relatively dry area, they make for an unexpected oasis. At one time, they were a single wide waterfall — then in 1910, the town of Rifle built a hydroelectric plant at the falls, splitting them into three. The hydroelectric works have long been torn out, but their foundations remain as a monument to local history.
Meanwhile, the falls’ beauty doesn’t seem to suffer much from its century-old modification. Particularly nice is the trail that loops around the falls — you can view them from the bottom, side, or top. Oh, and while you’re hiking, check out the caves at the base of the limestone cliff that forms the falls — lots of fun to explore for kids of all ages.