Photo Essay: Rifle’s frozen gem

Mother Nature turns the caves tucked into Rifle Mountain Park into 
winter wonders shaped by 
layer upon layer of ice

Large icicles hang from the ceiling of the lower ice cave, also known as the Ice Palace, dwarf a a visitor to Rifle Mountain Park last weekend north of Rifle.
Visitors to Rifle Mountain Park are greeted by towering walls of limestone. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
FIle/Post Independent
Koper’s Trail leads visitors to Rifle Mountain Park to the Ice Cave’s which form along the steep canyon walls every winter north of Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Visitors to the Ice Caves can navigate one of the many wood bridges to cross the crisp clear waters of East Rifle Creek. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Large icicles hang from the ceiling of the lower ice cave, also known as the Ice Palace, dwarf a a visitor to Rifle Mountain Park last weekend north of Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
With the bitter cold winter temperatures the water the flows down the limestone has turned to ice creating the outter walls of the lower ice cave along Koper’s Trail. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
A couple walks into the ice filled upper cave, also known as the Final Curtain, at Rifle Mountain Park last Saturday. The ices gives of a blue hue because it absorbs all colors of the spectrum except blue. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Scott Muller, of Broomfield and Meghan Perkins, of Boulder, satnd on the ice floor of the upper cave as they take pictures. The couple from the front range had heard about the caves and decided to make the trip over to celebrate Perkins’ birthday last Saturday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
With the warm afternoon temperatures last weekend the ice covered floor of the upper cave is beginning to show signs of melting. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
The upper ice cave is nearly closed off by the the ice formation except for an entrance on the north and south side of the cave. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Small icicles form on the the ceiling of the upper cave where water seeps through the porous limestone. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Curtains of ice form every year in the lower ice cave filtering out the harsh afternoon sun on an unseasonably warm Colorado winter day. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
A pair of hikers climb the steep snow covered canyon wall to access the frozen waterfalls above the ice caves. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

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