This year when my husband asked where I’d like to go to brunch for Mother’s Day, I paused and thought about it. I told him that I’d like to take a family hike with no complaining. Even though he agreed, I wasn’t quite sure the kids would cooperate once we got going. I did a little research and learned of Rifle Falls State Park. It sounded perfect for young kids. Our youngest is 4-years-old, and I can’t imagine would get far yet on a tough hike. With three trails that loop 1 to 1.5 miles through waterfalls, limestone caves and ponds Rifle Falls sounded perfect. Well it was.
We had breakfast at home, packed our Camelbacks and snacks and picked up sandwiches on the way. I would say that getting out somewhat early was key. It is about an hour to an hour and a half from Eagle so a bit of a drive with kiddos. But it is a beautiful drive with unexpected surprises the closer we got to the park. After you turn off of I-70 and go a ways through town and beyond there is a nice little golf course, and then you see a dam and as you come over it, a beautiful reservoir with boaters out enjoying the water.
There was a small entry fee of $7. Parking at the park is limited and we managed to get there after the lot had filled to get the first parking spot on the road. We would have been bummed if we would have been turned away, which I am sure many were.
The 4-year old at first tried to get daddy and then mommy to carry him, but as soon as we reached the falls which were only steps away from the parking lot he showed a little more enthusiasm to climb the steps up to the top of the falls and then on to exploring the limestone caves.
Randomly enough one of his best friends happened to be there at the same time we were. So he really became enthusiastic as he and one of his besties ran back and forth on the trail, into caves and up to ponds. They possibly may have done the loop twice. It was not quite as vigorous a workout as I like to get on hikes but that was more than made up for by the fact that our entire family really enjoyed themselves. It was beautiful and there was so much for the kids to explore and see. We did spot a wild turkey and a Goose with her babies. We stayed clear of them.
There are plenty of picnic tables at the base to relax and enjoy lunch or a snack after the hike, which we did as we talked about how it is the perfect spot to bring our siblings and their young children when they come to visit. I suspect we make make it back out to Rifle Falls a couple more times this summer.