Did you know that the largest oil field in the Rocky Mountains is located not far from Rangely?
Cowboys began driving thousands of cattle into the lower White River Valley in the late 1880s. Called the “Isolated Empire” the area remained virtually unknown until 1947 when a major oil discovery put Rangely on the map. Today the Rangely Oil Field is the largest oil-producing field in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Native Americans used oil seeping out of the ground for medicinal purposes and explorers encountered places where surface waters mixed with oil. Oil in the Rangely area was observed as early as 1876, but it was the early 1930s before the California Company, now Chevron, drilled through Weber Sandstone and into a vast pocket of crude. Drilled to a depth of 6,335 feet, this historic well, Raven A-1, went on line in 1933 and produced 230 barrels of oil per day. The Raven A-1 established the region as a major oilfield, which has produced over 815 million barrels of crude since its discovery.
Did you know that Rangely is at the heart of the Canyon Pintado National Historic District?
Located on the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway, in the valley of the White River, Rangely offers visitors an array of outdoor activities that include water sports hunting, golfing, exploring fossil beds, and canyons.
The Canyon Pintado Historic District comprises eight marked sites along Highway 139 and is home to the largest concentration of Fremont archaeological sites. Viewing the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs on the sheer sandstone walls is a unique way to experience many ancient cultures’ story. You can enjoy the solitude of nature, or the extreme sport of rock crawling—driving off-road at Colorado’s only sanctioned rock crawling park.
- From Denver: Take I-70 west toward Grand Junction, CO.
- Take Exit 90 for Colorado 13N toward Rifle, Meeker.
- At Meeker take CO 64 West to Rangely (approx. 55 miles)
- Road access is provided from the south (Grand Junction) by Highway 139, and from the east and west
by Highway 64, which is Rangely’s Main Street.
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE
- Rangely Museum: Featuring Native American and pioneer artifacts as well as exhibits about energy development. Website
CANYONS AND RIVERS JOURNEYS
- America’s Byways: Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway
- Journey Through Time
- Canyon Pintado Journey