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Located near Guffey, Colorado, about a two-hour drive from Front Range residents, Guffey Gorge is a popular summertime destination for locals and travelers alike. Also known as Paradise Cove, the idyllic site is nestled among pastures and granite rock formations that have been shaped by the creek over time into a natural pool.

Visitation to the small site has increased enormously over the past ten years, and the area now hosts more than 25,000 visitors each year. Guffey is a short but sometimes steep half-mile trail that leads visitors from the parking area directly to Paradise Cove, where a small waterfall expels cool, crisp water over high cliffs surrounded by thick forest.

This not-so-secret cove allows visitors a chance to unwind from hectic workdays amongst beautiful scenery, but because of the increased load of visitors, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Royal Gorge Field Office that manages Guffey Gorge, is charging a day-use fee of $6.00 per vehicle from May 15 to September 30 to help maintain the site and improve facilities. A digital payment option is now available through Recreation.gov at this popular scenic swimming destination.

“The Guffey Gorge fee program has been highly successful, helping us to provide for sanitation and facilities that improve visitors’ experiences and safety,” said Keith Berger, Field Manager for the Royal Gorge Field Office. “We’re modernizing the fee collection program, which makes it easier for visitors, as well as improving the security of fees and fee collection staff. In addition to using cash, visitors can “Scan and Pay” after downloading the Recreation.gov app on their mobile phones.”  Further information specific to Guffey Gorge is here.

“The app must be downloaded prior to visitors’ arrival at Guffey Gorge, due to the limited cell phone service for downloading the app at the site,” added Berger. “The fee program helps maintain and improve access to public lands and supports BLM Colorado’s priority to conserve and create resilient landscapes.”

Visitors should be aware of the following rules:

  • Alcohol, glass bottles, camping, and amplified music are prohibited to better maintain a safe and family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Parking is only allowed in the developed lots – parking along the road is illegal.
  • Please remember to Leave No Trace and be a good neighbor. The trail has steep sections with loose rock to reach the pool (the restroom and parking area are accessible to people with disabilities – the trail to the site is not). Appropriate footwear for hiking over steep terrain is highly encouraged.

Featured image: Guffey Gorge photo courtesy of UncoverColorado.com