Guffey Gorge, also known as Paradise Cove, is a popular swimming hole located just outside Guffey, Colorado. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) - Royal Gorge Field Office. About 10 years ago, this area was popularized through the internet and word of mouth. What was once a recreation area known only by a few hundred users each year has become a summer destination for over 40,000 visitors each year. Several resource management issues, including litter and trail damage, have resulted from increased user traffic and lack of enforcement presence. Injuries from cliff jumping and motor vehicle congestion on Teller County Road 102 are additional management challenges originating from the popularity of Guffey Gorge.
To address these issues, the BLM has implemented a day-use fee along with the construction of a formal parking lot, informational kiosks, and vault toilets. Other regulations to minimize trash and injuries at the swimming hole, including prohibiting alcohol and glass bottles, are being enforced by the BLM. Educational signage warning swimmers of the risks associated with cliff jumping are also posted around the Cove. Additional improvements are also planned in the coming months and years.
Although the BLM and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) have completed many trail maintenance projects over the past decade, the increased use of the area is exacerbating natural resource degradation and impacts. Users are cutting switchbacks and avoiding durable trail features, which has resulted in trail braiding and the creation of rogue, fall line paths. These paths are eroding quickly, compounding the natural resource damage occurring at Guffey Gorge.
We recognize the following nations, whose traditional territory we work on in Guffey Gorge:
- Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute)
- Improve trail access to Paradise Cove through trail delineation, trail hardening, and grade control.
- Increase user awareness regarding site regulations. Special emphasis on Leave No Trace ethics.
PROJECT PARTNERS & FUNDERS
- Bureau of Land Management - Royal Gorge Field Office