Glenwood Springs: 11 Top Things to Do in Neighboring Rifle, Colorado
On your next visit to Glenwood Springs, check out nearby Rifle for lakes, waterfalls, golf and a surprisingly robust arts scene.Rifle is an easy drive from Glenwood Springs, just 27 miles west along Interstate-70.
The forebodingly named town attributes its moniker to an old cowboy land surveyor who left his gun, a rifle, leaning against a tree near a local creek. From then on he referred to the area as “Rifle” and the name stuck. These days Rifle offers day-trippers from Glenwood Springs a place to explore nature and even take in a show. After a day on the lake, putting the greens or exploring Rifle’s natural wonders, head back to Glenwood Springs for a soak or steam in the hot springs and memorable meal at one of Glenwood’s many restaurants.
Landmarks & Information
There’s a reason Rifle Falls is a choice location for professional photographers and Instagrammers. It’s spectacularly pretty! Three 70-foot waterfalls tumble and crash over a cliff amid moss covered rocks and swaying grasses. The mist from the falls adds an ethereal, photogenic quality.
While at Rifle Falls, take time to scout out the park’s limestone caves. Several trails lead to small, shallow caves that are safe and ideal for exploring with kids. Bring a flashlight to investigate a couple of the bigger ones.
Extend your playing season at Rifle Creek Golf Course, a warmer climate allows golfers to play earlier in the spring and longer into the fall. The 18-hole championship course features several distinctive holes that incorporate the geology of the Grand Hogback Range and extraordinary vistas of the Rifle Creek Valley.
Rifle’s two lakes—Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap—so named because they are both situated in the “gap” between mountains, attract paddlers of all kinds. Launch your canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard for a few hours of water-themed recreation.
You can swim in both lakes during the warmer months. Though no lifeguards are on duty, day-trippers can splash, play, swim and cool off on Colorado’s hottest summer days in designated roped-off areas.
Cast away for rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, yellow perch and bass in the waters of Rifle Gap. For crawfish, head to Harvey Gap where there’s a large population of the tasty freshwater crustaceans.
Ride miles of rolling two-lane blacktop along Rifle’s breathtaking back roads and byways. Along with a great workout, you’ll pedal past dramatic landscapes, scenic farms and pastoral sheep ranches.
With an unusually high concentration of climbing routes, Rifle Mountain Parkoffers some of the best limestone sport climbing in North America, attracting climbers from all over the globe. Favorite routes include The Wasteland, the towering Anti-Phil Wall and The Arsenal.
In addition to world-class rock climbing, Rifle is also a hub for cold-hardened winter climbers. Quality ice forms every year in the park’s narrow canyons, but due to temperature variations, conditions can be inconsistent. For safety, check with local guides before venturing out.
Nature is full of surprises, including the Rifle Arch Trail that’s an easy hike for the whole family. Just three miles round-trip, this hike to the stunning rock arch is perfect when you want a little exercise, fresh air and a picture-worthy destination.
The New Ute Theater in Rifle is a year-round hub for the arts. The beautifully restored venue hosts events that include concerts, dances, film festivals, seasonal craft fairs and comedy shows.