Conundrum Hot Springs – Aspen, CO

Nestled deep within the picturesque Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest, the Conundrum Hot Springs is a hidden gem that’s just waiting to be explored.

A favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, this natural wonder presents a unique and unforgettable experience for anyone willing to brave the journey. So, strap on your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and join us as we venture into the heart of Aspen’s beautiful backcountry.

Conundrum Hot Springs
Conundrum Hot Springs Photo: Wikipedia

As one of the highest hot springs in North America, Conundrum Hot Springs sits at a staggering 11,200 feet above sea level, offering jaw-dropping views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

The steaming, 103-degree water provides a soothing oasis amidst the rugged wilderness, and the alpine pool’s edge overlooks an awe-inspiring deep gorge. It’s no wonder that thousands of visitors flock to this incredible spot each year.

Offering therapeutic bathing in natural surroundings, they boast several pools in different sizes and temperatures; most being around three feet deep and reaching an average of 100° F while the smaller ones tending to be slightly cooler.

Marvelous views such as snow patches and avalanche chutes can be seen around the scenic waters, flowers and waterfalls as you bathe. Overnight camping is available but not right by the springs – it’s best to get there early to grab your spot and pack a flashlight for easy navigation. Late spring to mid-fall is thought of as optimal times to visit once winter snow has melted away.

Getting There

Camp, Hike and Soak at Conundrum Hot Springs
Camp, Hike and Soak at Conundrum Hot Springs

Your journey begins at the Conundrum Creek Trailhead, located off Castle Creek Road, just a mile west of Highway 82. After turning onto Conundrum Creek Road, follow the dirt road for about half a mile until you reach ample parking.

The Conundrum Creek Trail then winds for 8.5 miles through the pristine wilderness, crossing well-constructed wooden bridges and navigating challenging creek crossings. It’s a strenuous hike, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Things You Need to Know

Among the wild at Conundrum Hot Springs. Photo: Jack Brauer
Among the wild at Conundrum Hot Springs. Photo: Jack Brauer

Before setting off on this unforgettable adventure, there are a few crucial details to keep in mind.

First, be prepared for the altitude – the high elevation can cause altitude sickness, so take it slow and stay hydrated.

Second, bear canisters are required for all overnight visitors, so make sure to pack one to keep your food safe from curious critters.

Lastly, practice Leave No Trace principles, like packing out poop bags and leaving the wilderness better than you found it.

Permit & Season Information

The beauty of Conundrum Hot Springs in different seasons
The beauty of Conundrum Hot Springs in different seasons

Due to the popularity of Conundrum Hot Springs, the U.S. Forest Service has implemented a permit-only system for overnight stays. Between April 1st and November 30th, permits are required for all overnight visitors, with a limit of 20 permits per person per night.

Update: Permit-holders (and their group) must book an area within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness for every night of their trip. It is best to explore these areas from July – September, as many trails, passes, and campsites are snowed in or otherwise inaccessible outside this time frame. When staying in either the Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, or Capitol Lake zones, one must camp in the designated site they booked. Other zones require 70 steps away from water sources and trails for camping; pre-established sites should be used for this purpose.

Visit the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District website for more information and to make a reservation.

Latest in Conundrum Hot Springs

In recent years, the Forest Service has increased its ranger presence in the area to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all. This includes educating visitors on proper wilderness etiquette and enforcing permit regulations. So, rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands while you soak in the soothing hot spring water.

Things To Do

Hiking, camping, soaking and swimming are popular activities near Conundrum Hot Springs
Hiking, camping, soaking and swimming are popular activities near Conundrum Hot Springs

The Conundrum Hot Springs experience isn’t just limited to the hot springs themselves. With miles of picturesque trails to explore, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try extending your trip to Crested Butte via Triangle Pass for a true backcountry bonding experience.

How to Camp

After a long day of hiking, there’s nothing better than setting up camp under the stars. Campsites near Conundrum Hot Springs are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to arrive early to secure your spot. Remember to choose a flat spot at least 100 feet from the water and use a bear-resistant container to store your food.

How to Hike

Conundrum Creek Trail offers a challenging yet rewarding hike, with a consistent elevation gain of 2,500 feet over 8.5 miles. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots, pack plenty of water and snacks, and take breaks along the way to enjoy the stunning views. And don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture the memories of this amazing hike.

How to Soak

Once you’ve reached the hot springs, it’s time to strip down and soak up the healing mineral waters. While it’s not uncommon to see folks enjoying a naked soak, it’s also perfectly acceptable to wear a swimsuit if that’s more your style. Just remember, you’re sharing this natural wonder with others, so be respectful and enjoy the experience together.

Bottom Line

A trip to Conundrum Hot Springs is undoubtedly a cool, social experience that you’ll cherish for years to come. From the invigorating hike through the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness to the soothing soak in the natural hot springs, you’re sure to leave with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and wonder of Colorado’s great outdoors. So, gather a couple of friends, pack your bags, and set off on an adventure that you won’t soon forget.

Weather Forecast for Next 5 Days

Local Information

Nearby Town: Aspen, Colorado
GPS: 39.012471,-106.891154
Season: June – October
Type: Primitive; Hike access
Hike: 8.5 miles (one way)
Price: Free
Clothing: Optional


More Hot Springs Near Gunninson

If you’re looking for hot springs near Gunninson, CO, then you’re in luck! We’ve listed the springs in order of proximity – just follow the link above to read a short summary and our recommendations. For more detail, click on each individual thumbnail below and you’ll be taken to our reviews of each location. It’s easy to find the perfect hot spring for your needs. Enjoy!



Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.