The clean, clear waters of Rifle Gap State Park’s 350-acre reservoir provide some of the best boating, fishing, swimming, water-skiing and windsurfing in Colorado.
The long, narrow reservoir is inviting to water-skiers, jet-skiers and power boaters. Rifle Gap often has good conditions for sailing and windsurfing. The beach on the west side of the reservoir is popular for its swimming Rifle Gap anglers catch rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow perch.
In the summer, the crystal clear water of Rifle Gap Reservoir is a haven for water enthusiasts. The long, narrow reservoir is inviting to water-skiers, jet-skiers, and boaters and, often has great conditions for sailing.
Rifle Gap has one boat ramp on the north side of the lake. The beach on the west side of the reservoir is popular for its swimming, and picnic sites.
Rifle Gap State Park has 89 campsites that can accommodate tents, small trailers, pickup campers and RV's. Some pull-through campsites for larger units are available.
Several electric sites and basic sites are open to campers throughout the winter. Rifle Gap is close to many ski areas and 40 miles from Glenwood Springs’ famous hot springs.
Cross-country skiing is permitted but there are not any groomed trails in the park. If you feel adventuresome, you may make your own!
Dogs are welcome in the park as long as:
they are on a six foot or shorter leash at all times
their waste is properly disposed of
they are not left unattended even in the campgrounds
Anglers enjoy catching rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow perch all seasons of the year.
Rifle Gap is widely known as one of Colorado’s premier ice fishing locations. Rifle Gap has one boat ramp on the north side of the lake. Pike can be caught throughout the year. Trout are always catchable with CPW stocking the lake every few months.
There are no designated hiking trails located within the park. However, it is possible to walk the perimeter of the lake. Adjacent to the park is BLM land which offers a multitude of dirt roads that you can hike.
Excellent deer hunting and fair elk hunting areas are located adjacent to the park. Several hunting groups set up base camps in the campgrounds at Rifle Gap.
Always use caution when fishing on the ice and be sure to fish with a buddy. Ice fishing on the lake can be tricky here at Rifle Gap. Ice thicknesses vary across the reservoir as a whole, and can vary significantly even a few yards away. Ice rescue stations are located at popular areas around the lake, but nothing can provide for your safety like taking proper precautions and planning and preparing for the unexpected. Recommended items to bring along are ice awls, a life jacket, rope and a fishing buddy.
Jet skiing is becoming an increasingly more popular sport at the reservoir. Be familiar with no-wake zones and no-boat areas. Be alert for waterskiers, and fisherman and keep your distance. Please check with the visitor center for life-jackets if you do not have them for each person riding the jet skies. Jet skis will need to be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species before launch.
Picnickers can enjoy a spacious setting for their outdoor meals. Rifle Gap offers multiple sites and beautiful views. Sites are available on first come, first serve basis.
In the winter months adjacent BLM land offers almost endless trails for snowmobile use. Rifle Creek Trailhead is the closest area for snowmobiles, located in Rifle Mountain park approximately 10 miles from Rifle Gap State Park. Riders make sure to register your machine before leaving the trailhead.
Snowshoeing allows you to navigate a multitude of terrain, and with adjacent BLM lands, you could wander around for days never tracking the same area twice.
The reservoir no longer has an area designated exclusively for swimming. Instead, swimming will be allowed in any of the wakeless areas. Check the conditions page for updated water temperatures.
Water skiing is permitted on the west side of the lake only. Skiing must be counter-clockwise around the lake, and all state safety regulations must be followed.
Rifle Gap’s 350-acre reservoir is widely known as one of Colorado’s premier ice fishing locations. Bundled-up anglers can catch rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow perch. Cold-weather buffs can also cross-country ski and snowshoe in the park. Rifle Gap’s electric and basic camp sites are open to campers throughout the winter. Rifle Gap is close to many ski areas and 40 miles from Glenwood Springs’ famous hot springs.
Camping is available year round in Cottonwood, Cedar, Pinion and Sage Campgrounds. Lakeview campground, which has full hookup sites, is closed from November 1st through May 1st. Electric sites are available year round, but water is shut off November 1 through mid April.