In June, I went on a road trip (social distancing style) from Las Vegas to Michigan. The first waterfall stop on the trip was Lower Calf Creek Falls. The next stop was in Colorado. The waterfalls we visited had to be easy to get to from the main freeways and also had to be shorter hikes. Rifle Falls fits into both of those categories.
From the parking area, it was an easy hike to Rifle Falls, a fascinating waterfall. A sign near the falls says the waterfall likely formed when minerals built up around a beaver dam (or something of that sort). I don’t know if I’ve stopped at any other falls that may have been formed that way. At the falls, there are multiple different viewpoints. It is one of those that definitely changes as you’re looking at it from the sides versus head-on, and that makes it fun to photograph. It’s definitely a waterfall that’s worth a stop if you’re along I-70 in Colorado.
We were headed east through Colorado along I-70 and took exit 87 before Rifle.
We then turned left onto US-6, which follows I-70 into Rifle. Before entering Rifle, we turned left onto CO-13.
CO-13 skirts Rifle and then just north of Rifle, we turned right onto CO-325 heading north.
Rifle Falls State Park is on CO-325, but you veer right and then left before arriving. When you reach the Rifle Gap Reservoir, you veer right, and then when CO-325 splits with Road 226, you veer left again. It’s pretty hard to miss Rifle Falls State Park if you stay on CO-325.
From the parking area, you head north to see Rifle Falls.
In the past week, my boyfriend and I have been traveling from Las Vegas to Michigan. I took this as an opportunity to find some waterfalls that I had been wanting to visit, but were a bit out-of-the-way. One of these is Lower Calf Creek Falls, which is in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Nevada. It is a bit out of the way, and yet still surprisingly well visited.
Lower Calf Creek Falls flows pretty well in many months, which isn’t always the case for many waterfalls in the desert. This probably explains why it is a bit more popular than the average waterfall. It also helps that the hike and the waterfall are both wonderful.
The hike is not particularly difficult, but it is a 6 mile round-trip hike. I have to admit it did feel a bit longer than 6 miles round-trip, but it was still enjoyable. We showed up at 4 pm in early June, and that was honestly the perfect time to start the hike. It was still warm outside, but the hike was mostly shaded, and it cooled down on the return. During the middle of the day, the hike could have been a bit less enjoyable. During other times of the year, you would likely want to get an earlier start.
There aren’t many options to get to the falls. You have to drive on UT-12, either south from Torrey or northwest from Bryce. (Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and/or Capitol Reef National Park at the same time would definitely be an option.)
The Calf Creek Campground is the starting point for the hike. You follow the trail to the falls…
Accessibility: 7/10 (moderate) Height: 126′ Length of Hike: 6 miles round-trip