Explore earth's wonders in Rangely

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Would you like to visit somewhere that you can see Earth tell her history? Experience high desert sunsets? Be where native peoples cooked more then 12,000 years ago? Gaze on herds of wild horses? Ride four-wheelers and dirt bikes from daylight to dark? Float on the White River to the confluence of the Green?

If so, then plan to use Rangely as your high desert headquarters.

Rangely is secluded between Douglas Pass on the south and Dinosaur National Monument 20 miles to the north. The town is on the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric National Scenic Byway.

No matter what way you travel to get to Rangely, you will see every kind of wilderness and odds are you will see deer, elk, antelope and eagles. Modern explorers will find archaeological, historical, and recreational wonders like none other. The town is surrounded by public lands, which are great places for ATV's and dirt bikes.

Rangely is in the center of one of the last areas of the West explored by European settlers. The early pioneers called it the "isolated empire."

Rangely has plenty of recreation for the entire family. Kenney Reservoir is a great place to spend the day playing in the water and is just five miles east of town on Colorado Highway 64. There are several overnight campsites as well as a day park. For information on canoeing and other river activities go to the Web site at www.rangely.com/white_river.

Tee-up at the nine-hole Cedar Ridge Golf course just two miles east of town or soak in the pool at the recreation center. And be sure to visit the Rangely Museum with many displays that accurately depict the history of the region.

Put a tour of the Canyon Pintado National Historic District sites on your to do list. These short walks feature petroglyphs and pictographs left by the native Utes and Freemonts.

There are several RV parks within the city limits as well as motels. For those who are looking for secluded camping, there is access to thousands of acres of BLM land with two-track roads, hiking trails, mountain bike paths and open land through canyons, high desert plateaus and mountains. Enjoy clear nights with very little light pollution.

If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking the Raven Rims has much to offer. Some of the best spots are relatively close to town. A favorite local starting point is the corral at Chase Draw.

Your travels might take you to the ghost town of Dragon and the abandoned Uintah Railroad that once hauled gilsonite over Baxter Pass or to the top of Cathedral Bluffs along an old Ute Indian trail leading to the present day city of Rifle.

The canyon entrance of Dinosaur National Monument is just 20 miles south of Rangely and just east of the town of Dinosaur. Be sure to stop at the visitor's center for useful information about the park and the region.

From the bone quarry to the canyons, there is 150 million years of geological history in the park to see. The 31-mile scenic drive to Harper's Corner introduces you to the other side of the park ------ the canyon country of the Yampa and Green rivers. You should allow two hours for a trip there and back and another 2 and 1/2 hours if you plan to walk to Plug Hat and Harper's Corner trail. Be sure to check your vehicle for gas and fluids and take plenty of water and snacks.

Each year there is a Fourth of July celebration with a fireworks display at Kenney Reservoir. Another great time to visit is the Septemberfest Celebration on Labor Day. There is a real homemade ice cream social where locals compete for best ice cream maker of the year. There are a number of events including a car show, kids events and music for the whole weekend. n

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