Rifle Ranger District

Rifle Ranger District  Photo

The Rifle Ranger District is rich with cultural history and amazing outdoor recreational opportunities.

Cultural History - The first human use probably occurred from 5,000 to 10, 000 years ago. The Ute Indians were the last Native American Tribe to inhabit the area. The Ute trail from Meeker to Dotsero was a frequently traveled route for these Native Americans. Signs of the early uses of the land by European settlers can still be seen in abandoned mines, wagon roads, and cabins. If you come across these artifacts in your travels, please leave them for future visitors to appreciate.

Forest Service History- The Rifle Ranger District is home to one of the oldest Forest Service ranger stations in the nation, the Cayton Ranger Station in West Divide Creek, south of Silt.  Named after pioneer Forest Ranger James G Cayton, the historic cabin was built during the dawn of the Forest Service by James G. Cayton himself with the help of his wife “Birdie.” The Cayton Cabin was recently restored, with the help of the Cayton Ranger Station Foundation, and the site is available for special recreation activities during the summer.  If interested, call the Rifle Ranger District at 970-625-2371. 

Recreation- Hunting, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, and hiking are available throughout the district with plenty of areas for dispersed camping. Winter brings snow and a variety of cross-country and snowmobile trails with it. Though known for many outdoor activities, it should be noted that the local rock climbing is amazing particularly at Rifle Mountain Park.

Climate- Climatic conditions in Colorado should be taken seriously throughout the state. Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from mid-October through late April. In the summer months snow is still possible but less common, especially at higher elevations. Varying conditions throughout a given day can be expected throughout the year so plan accordingly. 

For trail/road conditions please visit the Rifle Ranger District's Road and Trail Conditions page.

Rifle Ranger District Recreation Information