Trail level: easy
Round trip distance: 1 mile
By Liz Simpson
UPDATED INFO AS OF 7/23/18:
Guffey Gorge (Paradise Cove) now has a $6 per vehicle day use fee.
THERE ARE ALSO NEW RULES: no alcohol, no amplified music, and dogs must be on a leash or attached to a fixed object. These are on top of our old rules: no overnight camping, no target shooting, no glass, and no campfires or open flames.
When the warm weather rolls back around and families start to get restless for the beach, Colorado Springs’ residents don’t have a ton of options for water relaxation. Many nearby lakes and reservoirs provide drinking water for local municipalities, so people and pets aren’t allowed in the water. Fortunately, the perfect solution is tucked into the mountains just west of Pikes Peak. Located about an hour from Colorado Springs outside Cripple Creek, the short hike to Paradise Cove is the best not-so-secret secret for summer leisure.
With a parking lot and outhouse, Paradise Cove is an easy stop for a family. The trail is instantly beautiful, following a creek through tall grass and wildflowers that wave in the summer breeze as the sun gently bakes the rocks. The hike is less than a mile long, but the last portion is rather steep and rocky, and hikers must cross the creek via logs or rocks. A family can easily make the hike, but be prepared for a couple of small challenges.
After summiting the short hill at the end of the trail, hikers peer down at the cove–a picture-perfect series of pools for wading and rocks for leaping. On the day we visited, Paradise Cove was hoppin’–dogs, kids, teenagers, and families jumped, splashed, and sun bathed. Be prepared for an exciting time, as you and your family probably won’t have much space to yourselves on a busy day. If your dog isn’t friendly, you’ll likely have a challenge keeping him separate from the fun.
Paradise Cove offers shallow wading areas and a pool deep enough for swimming… but careful where you paddle: jumping from the rocks above is the real excitement of the cove! All ages enjoy the challenge and thrill of leaping off the boulders above to plunge into the cool depths.
Paradise Cove is a foolproof family summer adventure. Pack some towels, bring the pooch, and plan to spend the day enjoying the rays and the water.