RIFLE IN THE

Summer is hands down the most popular season for tourists to visit the Rifle area.

Whether you’re coming in from the front range or out-of-state, Rifle is the ideal destination for those looking for a fun getaway on Colorado’s Western Slope.

The most popular recreational activities to indulge in throughout the summer months are rock climbing at the World Famous Rifle Mountain Park, boating on Rifle Gap Reservoir, rafting on the mighty Colorado River (or nearby Rivers), OHV’s, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and camping.   

Boating on Rifle Gap Reservoir

One of the main attractions to the Rifle area in the summer months is Rifle Gap Reservoir, which provides boating opportunities, water skiing & wakeboarding, fishing, canoeing, SUPing, and a swim beach.  With high temperatures in July averaging 90 degrees, the reservoir is a popular destination for both residents and tourists alike to escape the summer heat.  The reservoir is 359 acres in size and is the only reservoir within a 70-mile radius that allows boats with large motors.  There are 89 campsites available year-round, many of which offer RV hookups.  Rifle Gap Reservoir provides anglers with a variety of fish to catch including rainbow and brown trout, walleye, northern pike, perch, and smallmouth and largemouth bass.    

OHV Paradise

Rifle and the surrounding area provide endless trails for those looking to take their OHVs for the ultimate joyride.  Don’t own your own OHV?  No worries!  There are many companies in and around Rifle that provide daily/weekly OHV rentals.

Just a few miles north of town is Hubbard Mesa, which provides users with a variety of terrain and difficulty levels within the designated OHV area. The BLM has partnered with many entities to make the experience at Hubbard Mesa very enjoyable, with restrooms at the main parking area, a shade shelter, and a kids’ training course.

Hubbard Mesa Map: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/hubbard-mesa-highway-vehicle-area-map

The Flat Tops area is 235,214 acres of some of the most beautiful terrain in Colorado and provides many miles of trails for those looking for 4WD adventures.  With meadows, mountains, and over 100 lakes, there are endless opportunities to explore the Flat Tops with OHVs.

OHV trail maps can be accessed on the following link:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/whiteriver/recreation/ohv/?recid=40405&actid=93

One of the hidden gems of Colorado is the Battlement Reservoirs, located about 20 miles from Rifle just south of the Town of Parachute.  The designated OHV trail provides 8-miles of nail-biting rock crawling opportunities that end at the picturesque 7-chain lakes of the Battlement Reservoirs.  The Town of Parachute provides OHV and trailer rentals year-round for visitors to explore the Battlement Reservoirs or anywhere else their heart’s desire, head to TOPAdventures.co for rental information.

The Grand Mesa, located a little less than an hour from Rifle, is the largest Flat Top Mountain in the World and is known by motorheads as one of the top OHV locations in the state.  The 150 miles of OHV trails on the Grand Mesa offer a variety of adventures that travel through meadows, dense forests of aspen, douglas fir and spruce trees, and provide a great way to explore the 300+ fishable lakes on the mesa.  

Grand Mesa OVH Trail Map:  https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Vega/Documents/GrandMesaMap.pdf

Rafting the Mighty Colorado River

White water rafting in Colorado is considered to be the best of the best.  With miles upon miles of golden waters to back it up, the rivers of Colorado can go from calm and easy to difficult and scary in the blink of an eye. Visitors to Rifle can enjoy the epic sections of the Colorado River from Grizzly Creek just east of Glenwood Springs to Parachute 15 miles west of town on their watercraft or with one of the many guide companies in the area.  Rifle has a boat ramp that provides opportunities for those looking to put-in or take-out in town.

Rock Climbing

Rifle Mountain Park is considered by many as the best limestone sport climbing destination in the country, providing over 400 sport climbing routes that cater to climbers with expert to elite ability levels, with it’s 5.12 and higher grades.  The park is a sight to be seen throughout the summer months with climbers scattered all throughout the canyon walls during the busy summer months. 

Fishing

Rifle is located in the center of the bulls-eye for the best fishing in the country with the Colorado River flowing directly through town, in addition to other rivers, lakes, creeks, ponds, and reservoirs that are home to very large fish.  Rifle is also close to the Roaring Fork River, Fryingpan River, Eagle River & Crystal Rivers… all Gold & Blue Medal Waters that are within a 30-60 minute drive from town.  The trout-filled waters of the White River, 300 lakes on the Grand Mesa and 100 lakes on the Flat Tops make Rifle and the surrounding area a fisherman’s paradise throughout the summer. 

Mountain Biking

When the heat of summer makes desert rides less appealing, high country alternates are less than half an hour away. Three Forks / 2150 follows the headwaters of Rifle creek through spruce trees, aspen groves, and wildflower meadows. The trail is not particularly technical, but the deep grass and dense foliage reduce it to a narrow, at times nearly invisible thread of dirt below summertime wildflowers grazing your handlebars. Further east, the West Elk collection of trails provides a more extensive menu of options. Cherry Creek is an excellent shuttle run, or challenging climb to loop Mansfield Ditch; Clark Ridge provides an additional extension.  Rifle also has mountain biking trails in town (Highland Trail, completed in 2018) with the first phase of the Grand Hogback Trail coming in spring 2021.