Escape your life with a trip to a Garfield County public park |

Escape your life with a trip to a Garfield County public park

Rifle resident Cora Jolene Smith cools down on the Centennial Park splash pad in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Public parks are a great way for Jessica Leavitt and Grace Smith to keep their kids from driving them up a wall.

The two young mothers sought refuge underneath a tree’s shade at Centennial Park on a baking hot afternoon Wednesday. Rifle’s largest public park features a jungle gym, picnic areas and, conveniently, a splash pad.

The little ones escaped the heat by standing in the spurts of water, while Leavitt and Grace lounged on the grass 20 yards away.

“We needed to escape the house a little bit,” Smith said. “We had to come outside, so they’re less up in my business.”

More than 40 public parks are sprinkled throughout neighborhoods in Garfield County, and each day throughout spring and summer they’re being used as escapes.

Garfield County is full of fine parks perfect for whiling away a summer afternoon. 

Glenwood Springs public information officer Bryana Starbuck said many people walk to Two Rivers Park on their lunch breaks.

Parachute Town Manager Travis Elliot said dads fish the Parachute Ponds at Cottonwood Park while their kids play on the jungle gym. 

Rifle Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Austin Rickstrew said kids of all abilities can soon play on new and inclusive playground equipment at Centennial Park. The equipment is currently being installed, with a ribbon cutting slated for July 7.

But for people like Smith and Leavitt on a hot summer’s day, they focus keenly on Centennial Park’s splash pad.

“We’ve seen adults in there,” Leavitt said. “I’m half tempted to go run through it.”

Connectivity is one of the most convenient features of Garfield County parks. From Glenwood Springs to Rifle, many of these public places link to trails and paths that run miles throughout the community.

“A particularly special part of Two Rivers Park is how centrally connected it is,” Starbuck said. “It’s popular throughout the week. People walk there for a breather or use it for playing leagues or meeting up with friends, so it’s definitely at the center of Glenwood Springs’ outdoor recreation.”

In Rifle, a trail starts near the Colorado River at Brenden Rifle 7 Theaters, runs north through Centennial Park and eventually snakes its way more than two miles north to Deerfield Park.

Two people walk across a foot bridge to Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“When my folks were visiting last year, we did the trail that’s paved from up a ways and then stopped (at Centennial Park) for a little bit and then made our way back,” Smith said. “It was a nice afternoon.”

It’s a little tough to compare each Garfield County park with one another, however. Each one is as distinguishable as the last.

Down in Carbondale, people bring their kids to a jungle gym while they throw a few rounds of disc golf at Gianinetti Park. Anglers fish for rainbow trout at the Alder Park pond in New Castle. History lovers tour a 19th-century schoolhouse in Silt Historical Park. Skaters roll up a quarter pipe at the Two Rivers Park skatepark.

Rifle teen Brody Boebert lounged beside Leavitt and her kids Wednesday. He said he enjoys hopping in Rifle Creek on hot summer days.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s a good place to go hang out with friends.”

No matter what, activities are always plentiful in these places. Ride your bike, go on a jog, walk your dog, grill steaks on the public grills, go see a live performance when scheduled, play on the jungle gym, burn some calories, sunbathe and get some Vitamin D.

“Bring sunscreen, snacks, a change of clothes,” Smith said.


Try visiting one of these parks in Garfield County:


Park: Cottonwood Park, 100 LaPlata Circle

Top features: Open spaces, splash pad, fishing pond, jungle gym, teether ball, basketball courts and a shade pavilion for barbecues. Reservations must be made at in order to host parties at the pavilion.

Hours of operation: N/A


Park: Centennial Park, 300 W. Fifth St.

Top features: Two picnic shelters, amphitheater, Rifle history-themed central plaza, trails, splash pad, open spaces, parking area

Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Park: Silt Historical Park, 707 Orchard Ave.

Features: Entire village of historical buildings, nearby playing fields and skatepark, parking area

Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

New Castle
Park: Alder Park, 850 Alder Ave.

Features: Micro soccer fields, fishing pond, trails, barbecue grills, parking area

Hours of operation: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Glenwood Springs

Park: Two Rivers Park, 740 Devereux Road

Features: Playground area, band shell, skatepark, boat launch, baseball diamond, picnic areas, horseshoe pit, open spaces, parking area

Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Park: Gianinetti Park, Village Road

Features: Child and infant swings, picnic tables, basketball court, horseshoe pits, 9-hole disc golf course, playground

Hours of operation: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.