On our way from Vail to Montrose, we spent a night in Rifle, CO. I knew next to nothing about it, other than it was roughly halfway down the road. We spent our first night in a Walmart parking lot, which was actually far more pleasant than I was expecting.
The next day while Nik worked, I took Cheat to Rifle Falls State Park and did a short hike to and around the triple drop.
This hike had a LOT of bang for your buck! The path to view the 70 foot waterfalls is accessible. The full hike up and over the falls was short (around 2 miles) and not too technical, while still being more challenging than your average “nature trail.” It was perfect for novice hikers, kids, dogs, and people recovering from injuries (hi!) or with other physical limitations. Or just for a quick after-work hike. 😉
Apparently it does get very crowded there in the summer, so plan accordingly and try to avoid peak times. The parking lot was fairly small (maybe 15 spots?) and they apparently turn people away when it fills up. It was pretty quiet when I was there midday on a Wednesday.
I kinda wished I had had a headlamp with me, because one of the coolest parts of the hike were all the limestone caves! It was so nice and cool in there. Most were small and would be perfect for kids to explore, but there was one 90 sq. ft. room, which was neat. You could also hike more or less behind the falls, which was refreshing on a hot day. I also wished I’d remembered a battery for my DSLR camera so I didn’t have to rely on my phone, but that is beside the point.
They have camping, but it looked sort of small and crowded (and no cell signal). I’d definitely recommend the hike though- and so does Cheat. 🙂