Backpack to Conundrum Hot Springs

Aspen, Colorado

4.3/5
based on 9 reviews

Details

Distance

18 miles

Elevation Gain

2500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Kyle Frost

The reward for this 18 mile (round-trip) hike in Maroon Bells-Snowmass is two beautiful hot spring pools with incredible views.

After picking up your required overnight permit, start your morning with a coffee in Aspen, then drive out 15 min to the trailhead at the end of Conundrum Creek road. The trail is a straight shot 9 miles up the valley, through expansive meadows and an always incredible view of the mountains and aspens that cover the slopes.

There are 16 campsites in the area of the hot springs, varying in protection from the elements and distance from the springs. Choose wisely based on weather conditions and how far you'd like to walk after getting out from a long soak.

The springs themselves are spectacular. The upper pool can hold a LOT of people, if you're all really friendly, as we found out. There is also a slightly smaller, cooler pool just downstream. If bringing kids, be aware that the upper pools is often clothing optional.

If you're looking to hang out for a few days, you can tackle the nearby Triangle pass or Conundrum Peak.

NOTE: Beginning April 2018, Conundrum Hot Springs will be transitioning to an overnight permit/reservation system.

All overnight users to this area will be required to purchase a permit prior to their visit, which can be purchased at recreation.gov.

You can find additional information here, or get in touch with the White River National Forest at (970) 963-2266.

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Features

Chillin
Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Groups
Hot Springs
River
Scenic

Reviews

This was such a rewarding gorgeous hike the whole way through! It's a bit longer but the increase in elevation is gradual throughout the whole hike so it is very manageable. One things that is good to know is campsites 1-8 as well as 12-14 are pretty close to the hot springs, short walk, busier and potentially louder. Sites 9-11 & 15-20 (17-20 are a bit further away but are the closest destinations on the way in) are a good 1/2 mile hike across the river to access the hot springs, although these locations are more private and spacious campsites so depending on what you prefer in your site, it is something to consider.

Not hot enough to stay warm when it’s cold below 50degrees outside or raining or snowing

I was rewarded for this 18 mile (round-trip) hike in Maroon Bells-Snowmass with a beautiful hot spring pool with incredible views.

wowowowow this was such an amazing hike!! so worth it as you go back and forth across giant meadows and then back through the forest. there are creeks you have to cross and always an interesting crowd once you get to the top. highest hot spring in america and it is definitely one of my favorites!!

We had two groups- one hiked in from Aspen, the other came from Crested Butte. We met at the hot springs, camped for the night, traded car keys, and completed our respective through hikes. The springs are great, more people than I would generally camp around, but everyone was friendly. Great views, several Aspen groves, lots of flowers, I really enjoyed it!

Every hike is rewarding, but this has an extra treat at the end. Unlike other intermediate backpacking trips, you have the hot springs to look forward to at the end of a long day of hiking. Once you make it to the top and set up camp, getting in the hot springs is one of the best feelings there is. Be warned that it is not uncommon for people to go nude into the hot springs. This is a great spot to train for a longer backpacking trip as it has a solid length (18 miles) and moderately challenging elevation gain. A must do if you find yourself in western Colorado!

Solid beta. Should be noted that if you want to avoid the frat-party scene at the hot springs, try to head up during the week (if you can).

I generally prefer solitude on my backpacking trips, but I knew this was going to be busy so I just embraced it and made some new friends. The entire hike is absolutely gorgeous and nothing beats starting your morning with the view from those hot springs. There is a ranger presence but as long as you adhere to the rules and leave no trace (which you should be doing anyway) you won't have a problem. Enjoy! :)

It is gorgeous up at the springs, but super busy and somewhat polluted with waste. Also make sure not to bring dogs. I got kicked out and fined. The ranger presence is heavy up by the springs, and they will fine you for not following rules! Make sure to also bring a bear canister or you can get fined. Going on a week day would be best, otherwise I would suggest starting super early to make sure you can get a camp spot near the springs. The hike is pretty easy just long, and the wild flowers are prime. We also saw a moose family, and a bear on the trail and near it. As long as you aren't searching for solitude, you should enjoy this trip.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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