Rifle, Colorado

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City of Rifle, Colorado
Motto: Embracing our past,
shaking hands with our future
Location in Garfield County and the state of Colorado
Location in Garfield County and the state of Colorado
Coordinates: 39°32′13″N 107°46′58″W / 39.53694°N 107.78278°W / 39.53694; -107.78278Coordinates: 39°32′13″N 107°46′58″W / 39.53694°N 107.78278°W / 39.53694; -107.78278
Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County[1] Garfield County
Founded 1882[2]
Incorporated August 18, 1905[3]
Founded by Abram Maxfield
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
 • Mayor Randy Winkler
 • Mayor Pro Tem Jay Miller
 • Councilor Dirk Myers
 • Councilor Barbara Clifton
 • Councilor Rich Carter
 • Total 4.3 sq mi (11.2 km2)
 • Land 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation[4] 5,348 ft (1,630 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 9,172
 • Density 1,577.7/sq mi (605.7/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[5] 81650
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-64255
GNIS feature ID 0174045
Website City of Rifle

The City of Rifle is a Home Rule Municipality in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The population was 9,172 at the 2010 census.[6] Rifle is a regional center of the cattle ranching industry located along Interstate 70 and the Colorado River just east of the Roan Plateau, which dominates the western skyline of the town. The town was founded in 1882[2] by Abram Maxfield, and was incorporated in 1904 along Rifle Creek, near its mouth on the Colorado. Rifle Creek is named for an incident involving white trappers in the late 19th century. According to local lore, one of the trappers accidentally left his rifle along the creek, giving it its name.[7]


Rifle is located at 39°32′13″N 107°46′58″W / 39.53694°N 107.78278°W / 39.53694; -107.78278 (39.536992, -107.782709).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11 km2), of which, 4.3 square miles (11 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.92%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 273
1910 698 155.7%
1920 885 26.8%
1930 1,287 45.4%
1940 1,373 6.7%
1950 1,525 11.1%
1960 2,135 40.0%
1970 2,150 0.7%
1980 3,215 49.5%
1990 4,636 44.2%
2000 6,784 46.3%
2010 9,172 35.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 6,784 people, 2,493 households, and 1,710 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,581.1 people per square mile (610.6/km²). There were 2,586 housing units at an average density of 602.7 per square mile (232.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.54% White, 0.44% African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.75% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.26% of the population.

There were 2,493 households out of which 41.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.9% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 106.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,734, and the median income for a family was $48,714. Males had a median income of $36,517 versus $25,527 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,376. About 3.4% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Tourism and attractions[edit]

Rifle Mountain Park, located 12 miles north of Rifle, is maintained by the City of Rifle. It is popular with rock climbers.[10]

As of 2007, an organization called Campaign to Save Roan Plateau has been engaged in an effort to minimize oil and gas drilling on the top of the Roan Plateau, which locals call the Book Cliffs. The Roan Plateau is accessible from the JQS Trail, located 3 miles north of Rifle, or from the Piceance Creek road.[11]

In Summer of 2014, it became known for its support of "open carry" of handguns; in particular by employees at a popular local restaurant, who are encouraged, but not required, to do so by the owner.[12]

Popular culture[edit]

On August 10, 1972, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed the Valley Curtain project at Rifle Gap, a few miles north of the town of Rifle. The completed curtain hung for only 28 hours before it was ripped by a gust of wind.[13]

A portion of the film Vanishing Point was filmed in Rifle. Scenes include a shot of Kowalski's car crossing a white metal bridge and confronting Utah state patrol cars.

Rifle is also mentioned in Stephen King's The Stand.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b City of Rifle website
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JAVASCRIPT/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  6. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/0864255.html
  7. ^ Rifle Shots: The Story of Rifle, Colorado compiled by the Reading Club of Rifle, Colorado, 1973.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Mountain Project: Climbing Rifle Mountain Park." Mountain Project. 29 Oct 2001. 1 Dec 2007 <http://www.mountainproject.com/v/colorado/rifle/rifle_mountain_park/105744310>.
  11. ^ Save Roan Plateau. 1 Dec 2007<http://www.saveroanplateau.org/>.
  12. ^ http://www.aol.com/article/2014/07/02/shooters-restaurant-employees-carry-guns-in-rifle-co/20924283/
  13. ^ "Valley Curtain." Christo and Jeanne-Claude. 1 Dec 2007 <http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/vc.shtml>.

External links[edit]