When you think of Rifle, a number of things might come to mind.
You might think about the world class rock climbing at Rifle Mountain Park or the wealth of activities available at the two nearby state parks: Rifle Gap and Rifle Falls.
Or it might be Shooters Grill, 129 E. Third St., which has been in the news because it allows employees and customers to open carry firearms.
But what about art? “There is so much here that people don’t know about,” said Genie Ulshoffer, with the information center at the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce.
For those interesting in seeing Rifle’s more artistic side, two places to check out are the Bookcliffs Arts Center and the Midland Arts Co. The Bookliffs Arts Center, 1100 E. 16th, offers gallery events for artists, workshops about a variety of art forms. It puts on the Hilltop Summer Music Series with free concerts by local musicians on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.
The center also hosts the Rifle Community Gardens and culinary classes. (bookcliffsartscenter.org) The Midland Arts Co., 11 E. Third St., is a gift shop that represents a number of Rifle and western Colorado artists and shows a variety of artwork. (midlandartscompany.com/) If history is more of your interest, Ulshoffer recommended stopping by the Rifle Creek Museum, 337 East Ave. (rhsi.org) This museum is open May through October, offering a history of the Rifle area, displaying heirlooms from various Rifle families and is a “walk through time, if you will,” Ulshoffer said.
Step out: The New Ute Theatre, 132 E. Fourth St., hosts a variety of events from concerts, films and performances to weddings receptions. Check utetheater.com to find out what’s going on.
In the gap: Boating, fishing, water skiing and camping are available at Rifle Gap State Park, which also happens to be hot spot for ice fishing during the wintertime. The park is about seven miles north of Rifle on Colorado Highway 325. (970-625-1607, cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/riflegap)
Climb out: Rifle Mountain Park may be well-known for its rock climbing, but it’s also a great area for camping, family renunions, exploring caverns and caves. (rifleco. org/index.aspx?NID=91)
Triple falls: The trio of 70-foot-tall waterfalls are the eye candy for Rifle Falls State Park, which also offers camping, hiking and limestone caves for exploration. (970-625-1607, cpw.state.co.us/ placestogo/parks/RifleFalls)