Connects: Rifle Falls State Park, Bobcat Trail
Rifle, CO – Waterfall
The Rifle Cascades (6,820 ft) are a series of rocks with flowing water on East Rifle Creek at the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery near Rifle Falls State Park. This is a site northeast of Rifle, CO.
More information about the Cascades can be found at:
Colorado Parks & Wildlife – Rifle Falls
Another area with the same name can be found near Independence Pass. More information on that site can be found at Cascades (Grottos).
You are entering a “RIPARIAN ZONE”, the most valuable of all habitat types for both wildlife and mankind. HABITAT is a term used to describe the arrangement of food, water, cover (or shelter), and space needed for all creatures to survive.
The latin term “Riparian” means adjacent to, or living on the bank of the stream. Riparian habitat, then, is streamside habitat.
RIPARIAN HABITAT COMPREISES LESS THAN THREE PERCENT OF COLORADO’S TOTAL LAND ACREAGE, YET IT IS USED BY 90 PERCENT OF ALL WILDLIFE.
Of all habitat types, riparian habitats contain the greatest number and different kinds of plants.”
Vegetation in riparian areas performs the following functions:
1. Removes debris, sediment, and pollutants bonded to sediment, i.e. salt, heavy metals. It’s a natural filtration system;
2. Acts as a natural flood control system;
3. Retains and recharges the water table;
4. Reduces soil erosion;
5. Reduces evaporation loss from stream;
6. Contributes to maintenance of stable water temperatures for aquatic life forms;
7. Provides a medium for food (insects) utilized by fish;
8. Maintains a dynamic nature of the river (hydrologic function);
9. Provides extremely valuable habitat for numerous wildlife species including several threatened and endangered species.”
Riparian areas provide wildlife with water, food, thermal cover, breeding areas, nesting areas, nursery areas, resting areas, except cover, and movement corridors… all of which are important to their existence. Some species such as the bald eagle, great blue heron and Canada goose are dependent on riparian areas for survival during a portion of their life cycle or for the perpetuation of the species. Other wildlife such as deer may utilize this area but are not dependent on this habitat for their ultimate survival.
Other animals you may find here are the golden mantle ground squirrel, raccoon, skunk, rabbit, weasel, piñon bluejay and elk.”