Rangely is a town of 2,096 people (as of 2000) located near the western border of Colorado. It sits next to the bottoms of the White River, and at the south edge of the Coal-Oil Basin, so named because of the large energy resources of the area. Beyond the river bottoms the area is hilly and arid. The barren colors of earth are exposed, with occasional rocky outcroppings. Southward the hills are more rugged, rising gradually for many miles to reach impressive peaks. This area is carved up by long canyons running north and south.
The White River flows out of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the east, continuing westward past Rangely to join the Green River. The river bottoms are an oasis in the desert lined with trees and grassland. Rangely sits on the southern banks of the White River and extends up onto the hills.
Energy is the industry that fuels the economy at Rangely and the many wells and facilities of the companies that harvest these resources dot the country surrounding the town.
State Highway 64 approaches Rangely from the northwest where it connects to Dinosaur and U.S. Highway 40, reaches the White River at Rangely, and follows it eastward to Meeker. State Highway 139 begins just east of Rangely and follows Douglas Creek southward to Douglas Pass and Grand Valley. The elevation at Rangely is 5,200 feet near the river, and houses reach up the hill to around 5,300 feet. The Northwestern Community College overlooks Rangely from the hills to the southeast.