Conundrum Hot Springs

OutAndBack • 18 mi • 3000 ft

A secluded collection of pools in a beautiful wilderness location. Essentially undeveloped, wilderness location. Conundrum is one of Colorado’s most exquisite settings, and if you pick your time carefully, your visit there can be an outstanding, secluded experience. The pools vary in size and temperature, but the larger pools average about 102 degrees F, depending on the season. Some small pools are fed by a length of plastic pipe from higher sources, and they are cooler. The pools are craters of rock hewn into their present shape over years of visitation, and they make for great soaking. The larger pools are more than 3 feet deep and have room for several people, if need be. No matter which pool you fancy or which direction you face, you will have superb views of the surrounding rocky spires and alpine terrain. Steep avalanche chutes and pockets of snow that almost never leave, waterfalls, and the bright greens and flowers of short-life-span plants are all around you. If you feel that you are on top of the world, its because you nearly are, at nearly 12,000 feet in elevation. Look down the long valley you have just ascended and marvel at the clear view and the expanse of beauty while you soak in your little hot pot high in the wilderness. It’s the same view that early miners and native Indians savored for generations. If you stay for the night and are blessed with clear skies, you may be dazzled by the sight of more stars than you ever thought existed, seemingly so close you can reach out and take one to guide your way back to the tent. You might ask yourself if life could get any better. Savor the pure pleasure of clear, high mountain air and the tingle in your toes that says you have earned this view and the soothing warmth of water nearly perfect in temperature.
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Activity Type: Hot Springs
Nearby City: Aspen
Length: 18 total miles
Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Water Temp: Moderate and variable from about 100 to 105 F.
Season: Summer and early fall
Trailhead Elevation: 9,000 feet
Local Contacts: Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Maroon Bells, Hayden Peak; White River National Forest; San Isabel National Forest; Gunnison National Forest
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Recent Trail Reviews

7/13/2011

Just made it home from a great two day trip. The hot springs are warm and clean. The locals are well lets just say they were friendly. This was a very fair trail and probably the easiest 3000ft elevation gain I have ever made. The wildflowers are in full bloom and the Columbines are everywhere. The water crossings are all easy with good foot bridges in place. Except the last one at about 6.5 miles in! There is no foot bridge and the beavers have made the trail a marshy mess. Be prepared to wade at least to your knees at this crossing. For a short 2 day trip this trail had all of the elements of a great backpacking wilderness experience.

10/5/2009

My girlfriend and I did this hike as a day trip- we moved swiftly and it took us about 3h 15min each way. The trail is in great condition, the views are fantastic, and the springs were clean. We passed three parties hiking out that camped Sunday night; all said it was a cold, snowy night. There was about 3-4 inches of fresh snow in the last 3 miles. We had the springs to ourselves and the temp was fantastic. I have done this hike as an overnighter last June and I have to say that the day hike was much more enjoyable. Although it is a long day of hiking, there is plenty of time to soak and relax at the springs if you chose to do this as a day hike. There is one addition I would make to the trail description. As you approach the 2nd bridge, the trail forks- the left fork takes you immediately to the bridge and the right fork is a well established trail that eventually ends. I made the mistake taking the right fork, which made a long day of backpacking even longer.

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