Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rifle Falls State Park

North of the town of Rifle, along Rifle Creek, a number of miles upstream from the Rifle Gap, is Rifle Falls, within its namesake state park.  The park also includes campsites, hiking trails, and several small caves near the falls.  It was pretty crowded, with its regular parking spaces filled, but the two rangers on duty allowed other visitors such as myself to park our cars on the shoulder of the park's road.  I even got some help from another visitor, who used hand signals to help me position my car in front of his.  From there, it was only a short walk to the falls.

This is the second time I have visited the park.  While staying near Vail in 2004, I took a day trip, going to Rifle Falls and further west.  Back then, I didn't have a digital camera or a blog, but this time, I get to record my visit online.

The falls consists of three streams that go over a cliff, hit some rocks below, and then gather into a common pool.  The left stream appears to be further divided into one part that shoots outward and another that goes more straight down.

From this angle, we can see a large alcove to the left of the falls.  The man standing in it provides some size perspective.

I took the next shot from a position near the right stream, which shows the subdivided left stream and the central stream.  A woman is now in the alcove, just in front of a cave.  In the top foreground are some tree branches.  In the upper left is a projecting metal balcony.

Naturally, I then climbed up to the alcove and took a pic from there.

The Coyote Trail led upwards from the right side of the falls and past several caves.  Upstream from the falls is this pond.

The trail continued just above the top of the falls, from where we could see the stream below.

I continued over to the above-mentioned projecting balcony and took this picture.

At the parking area near the falls, I found the Squirrel Trail, which led over Rifle Creek and then southward along an artificial channel.  This picture looks back to the north.

The trail eventually separated from the channel and went downhill, passing near this boulder surrounded by trees and grass.

The trail would go back over Rifle Creek and led past some campsites.  I followed a gravel road back to the park entrance and then back to my car.  After I drove away from the park, I stopped to see Rifle Gap Reservoir, used for boating and fishing at nearby Rifle Gap State Park.

This last picture shows a parking area on the north side of the reservoir.

More about Rifle Falls State Park can be found at The American Southwest.

I know the time of post will be around 11:30 p.m., but out here in Mountain Time, it's only about 9:30.

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