Welcome, to our Explore Rifle, CO page!

This page is intended to help anyone (Citizens, Visitors, Businesses, or Developers) effectively explore, navigate, and appreciate the full scope of the Greater Rifle Community and its many offerings.

  • This page's upper section consists of a menu of organized web links for connecting users to noteworthy non-City services & resources.
  • This page's lower section is a “Community Profile” meant to provide an overview of various topics, ranging from the local Scenery to Lifestyle, to the Economy.

NOTE: To access the City of Rifle's Services & Government, please use the site’s navigation menu above or under the menu icon.

Rifle, CO — Community Profile


The below Community Profile is intended to provide you with the information needed to start getting to know the Rifle Community.  Use the links provided here to jump to specific segments of the article.

Article Index:



★ Bookcliffs & Roan Plateau

Surrounding by striking alluvial mesas in the beautiful Colorado River Valley, the City of Rifle sits at the base of the extraordinary "Bookcliffs" (named for lines of sediment & shale that resemble the pages of a book). The Bookcliffs ridge powerfully dominates the western skyline from almost anywhere in town and features the distinct image of west & east Anvil Points. Beyond the Bookcliffs sits the massive (roughly 70 square miles) scenic terrain of the Roan Plateau. A magical place of dramatic canyons, refreshing streams & waterfalls, and expansive meadows. The plateau is home to a mix of arid desert scrublands, aspen groves, spruce forests, and diverse wildlife. Access to the Roan Plateau starts just 2.5 miles north of town (just past MM 4 on HY 13) using the adventurous & sometimes heart-pumping JQS Trail (Road). Or, for a less dramatic route to the Roan Plateau, check out Cow Creek Road.

★ Hubbard Mesa

Near the south edge of the JQS Trail is the desert scrub of the Hubbard Mesa area. A 2,460-acre BLM area for Off-Highway-Vehicles (OHVs) use, miles of single track, ATV & Jeep trails, and target shooting. Users can enjoy a variety of terrain and difficulty levels within the designated OHV area. (Hubbard Mesa is accessed from Fravert Reservoir road/CR244 off the Rifle/Highway 13 bypass.)

★ Rifle Arch & Grand Hogback Trail System

Farther north up the road (at mile maker 7 on Highway 13) is the Grand Hogback Trail System and the Rifle Arch Area. The trail system currently features 7.5 miles of purpose-built hiking & biking trails (with another 10 miles planned), highlighting the stunning 60ft high & 150ft wide sandstone arch formation at the culmination of the original hiking route. Hikers who choose to make the ascent into the arch will be treated to breathtaking views of the valley, the east face of the Roan Plateau, and the Mamm Peaks.

★ The Rifle Creek Valley

Traveling northeast away from town (along CO-325 and then CO-217) is the Rifle Creek Valley, with abundant recreational opportunities awaiting true voyagers (including 6 formally established destinations). Spilling out of the Flat Tops and into the ranchlands below, this trip highlights the best of "Rifle", illustrated by the forthcoming naming theme. We'll kick off with our three State Parks. First, Rifle Gap State Park is a 350-acre reservoir with some of Colorado's best boating, fishing, swimming, water-skiing & windsurfing. Next, Rifle Falls State Park is a 70-feet high picturesque triple waterfall (accessible via an ADA-accessible paved trail) with lush areas of trees & greenery, mysterious limestone caves, and a 1.5-mile loop hiking trail (Coyote trail). And last, Harvey Gap State Park is a charming fishing getaway nestled inside the Grand Hogback mountains. Moving on from the State Parks, the Rifle Creek Valley also has Rifle Mountain Park, a City-owned property known for its world-class rock climbing hiding inside a supernatural narrow canyon. But honestly, there is much more to RMP than just mountain climbing. For instance, the 1.85-mile Kopers Trail provides a diversified terrain, runs by the pristine waters of East Rifle Creek, and passes through not one but two Ice Caves. Or the quiet (primitive style) Camp Sites and enchanting day-use Picnic Areas. Or the Community House and Group Area for all kinds of social gatherings (reservations required). Now, suppose you're looking for something more spacious & developed. In that case, the valley has the Rifle Creek Golf Course with two distinct 9-hole tracks, practice facilities, a clubhouse, and more. Finally, the (Rifle) Riparian Zone is the hidden gem on this list (& on the Western Slope as a whole) and a local favorite. We won't say much more, as not to spoil the surprise, other than its worth turning left up the hill after walking across the raised walkway/bridge that travels near the base of the lush green & sparkling cascading waterfalls (oops, did we say too much?). And if, for some reason, all this isn't enough for you, there are the endless unspoiled BLM and Forest Service lands as the valley climbs to the Flat Tops. When it comes to the Rifle Creek Valley, you can spend a weekend or a lifetime revving up, pumping up, and huffing & puffing up trails, lakes, rocks, and mountains. And all within a few miles.

★ The Colorado River

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Rifle Island Park
Rifle Boat Ramp
Boat Ramp Trails
Lions Pond
Rest Area / River Stop

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