The small town of Austin once stood where Rifle Gap sits today. Austin was an area used primarily for cattle ranching during the late 1800s until 1958 when the town was relocated once the US Bureau of Reclamation drew up plans for the Rifle Gap reservoir to be completed in 1968. The main purpose of the reservoir was irrigation for the farmers and ranchers in the Rifle area. Water was drawn from the reservoir in 1969.
By this time, Rifle Gap State Park was officially a new park for the state to enjoy, and the reservoir added to the park’s features. The clean, clear waters of this 350-acre reservoir afford some of the best boating, swimming, water-skiing and windsurfing in Colorado. Camping, hiking and picnicking opportunities at this 1,305-acre park also await the Rifle Gap State Park visitor.