Rifle State Park, the pink marker on the map, is a very unique area. It is made up of three state parks each with its own ecosystem to explore.
Rifle Gap is the largest park and is closest to the town of Rifle, Colorado. The complex is made up of the White River Plateau in the western part of the state.
The other two parks, Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap are located behind a row of ridges called the Grand Hogback.
Rifle and Harvey Gap are mostly forest with grasslands around the perimeter.
Juniper, pinon, and pine trees are abundant, while sagebrush, horse brush and Indian rice grass are the ground cover.
A spectacular waterfall, called Rifle Falls, is created by Rifle Creek flowing over the limestone of the White River Plateau.
Strange thing about the falls, the spray has created a sort of tropical climate along the creek where cottonwoods, birch and ash trees flourish.
The ledge the creek flows over also contains hanging plants and other dense vegetation like you would find in the tropics.
There are many caves below the falls which can be explored. Be careful of the bats that inhabit the caves. They don't like to be disturbed.
State Parks Pass is required. The visitor's center at Rifle Gap will have these available for purchase. Camping is allowed, toilets and water are provided.
The park was established in 1966 and contains 2,100 acres. Elevation varies from 6,000-6,500 feet.
There are only 2 miles of hiking trails and pets must be kept on a leash. These three parks incorporate the sights and sounds of all of the Colorado State Parks.
From the town of Rifle, take CO13 for about 4 miles. On CO325, turn right for 6 miles to the entrance to the Rifle Gap State Park visitor's center. It is also the center for Harvey and Rifle Gap State Parks.