Rifle Falls Bobcat Trail

Round Trip Distance: 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 6511 - 6717 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Rifle Falls
Fee: $15/vehicle
Attractions: Waterfalls, limestone caves, wildflowers, fishing, picnic

The Bobcat Trail is located in Rifle Falls State Park about 12 miles north of Rifle, Colorado. The beautiful falls are a popular site for weddings and photographers alike. From the roar of the cascading water to the coolness of its limestone caves Rifle Falls is a favorite location for local family picnics. The Bobcat trail stretches between Rifle Falls and the Rifle Creek Fish Hatchery, the largest rainbow trout hatchery in the world.

Starting at Rifle Falls State Park the hike begins by following the Coyote Trail for about a quarter mile to the Bobcat Trail trailhead. The Coyote Trail begins on the east side of the creek below the falls.

It's hard to walk by the falls without taking a picture.

After following the Coyote Trail past the falls, around the limestone cliffs and up the hill you come to the trailhead for the Bobcat Trail.

The trail is concealed by thick vegetation including oak brush for most of the distance.

There are a couple of spots where the trail climbs up the side of the hillside but the slope is fairly gentle and requires only a moderate effort.

Other sections of the trail are more open and flat as though following an old road bed.

There is easy access to Rifle Creek where fishing is allowed. All of the ponds are part of the fish hatchery and are, of course, closed to fishing.

There is a fork in the trail very near the northern most end. The left fork leads over towards the fish hatchery and does not provide easy access back to the falls unless you were to walk along side of the highway. If you continue straight ahead  the trail loops back toward the falls within about 50-100 yards. You could simply turn around at this point and return the way you came but the loop isn't a bad way to go.

As the trail loops back it seems to be following another old road. Looking down you can see that you are only 20 feet or so above the other trail. The loop is pretty short and reconnects with the main trail right when it starts getting interesting. From there it is simply retracing your steps back to the falls. The lush vegetation provides a nice variety of wildflowers and all. There are spots that are thick with Oregon or Holly Grapes and chokecherries. Rifle Creek is always a good place to get into some poison ivy but it wasn't a problem on the trail itself.

Like I said, it's hard to go by the falls without taking a picture.

The Bobcat Trail is like an added amenity if you happen to be camping at Rifle Falls. Sooner or later you will tire of exploring the caves and getting sprayed with the cool mist before you start looking for something else to do. A person may as well hike up to the fish hatchery and drool over all of the fish. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.