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Absolutely amazing! My 1st solo hike - 26 pound pack to start. Went counter clockwise August 24-26 to make option to hike out 3rd day easier. Reflection of Snowmass lake in morning sun is breathtaking, do not miss! Found refreshing swimming hole and small falls about mile above big waterfall on 2nd day. Ended up hiking 14 miles 3rd day and exiting...love my new altra trail runners, no blisters and with lighter pack, was very doable and enjoyable. View after view will keep ya going. Would love to hike this again!!! Trail is well marked, met friendly trail runners and many helpful hikers and a resourceful ranger each day. Combine these with Alltrails app for navigation and a Spot devise for emergency rescue and you are good to go, safer than being in a city!

hiking
1 day ago

uphill climb, but rewarding

Hard hike but well worth the time. You leave the trail head and are constantly climbing to the destination. Make sure you have plenty of time for this hike it’s not one to do quickly. Someone that gets into a hurry could be easily injured.

Nice views of maroon bells. It is a steady up, and trail is rocky pretty much the whole way, but beautiful fall colors against the ‘maroon’ colored mountains. It does have a lot of people traffic

trail running
1 day ago

No better time of year than now. Stunning scenery with aspens turning and perfect weather.

hiking
2 days ago

PSA: the trail is closed September 17th - 22nd and October 15th - 17th for routine maintenance.

I did not get a chance to hike the trail but I’ve heard nothing but good things!

hiking
2 days ago

First Colorado hiking trail, excellent choice. Steady incline with beautiful bubbling creek sounds alongside trail. Lots of large stone & creek photo ops. Plenty of shaded & sunny sections.

Go figure .... flight from Denver is delayed by almost 2 hours to go home! Damn the luck
Happy birthday to me

Did this as a day hike (Sunday 9/17). A moderate trail, mostly gradual with a majority of the elevation gain during the last 2.5 miles. We showed up at the trailhead around 7:30 AM with 3-4 spots still available. Started hiking around 7:40 AM, arrived at the hot spring around 11:15 AM (about 3 hr 35 min with some food and photo breaks). Spent ~2 hours at the hot springs. Then took 3 hours to return to the trailhead. Would have probably taken up longer had been staying overnight and had more gear. We each carried about 2.5 L of water with us (probably drank about 2 L), and plenty of snacks. Wore long sleeve and pants for the morning, but changed to tank top and shorts returning to the car.

The views on the way in are fabulous, a lot of walking through aspen/pine forests and open meadows. The leaves have started changing with about 1/3 bright yellow and another 1/3 light green. The views while sitting in the hot spring itself (about 90-95 F when we were there) were even more incredible. We even had the spring to ourselves for a little while. We saw a lot of people coming down while we were going up though, so I’m sure Saturday was more crowded.

We recorded about 8.5 miles each way. You may add more mileage if there’s no parking at the conundrum trailhead (you cannot park on conundrum creek road!) or if you have to pit stop at a campsite (some are before and some are after the hot spring). Creek crossings were pretty dry when we went. The large ones have flattened logs going across. There’s one crossing that has a fallen wood sign before it that says “FORD”. Here, we actually found it easier to go to a path on the right instead and walk across some fallen trees/logs.

Definitely a long hike to do in a day (by the end you’re mentally willing the parking lot to be around the next bend), but doable and worth it. I haven’t tried camping overnight (the permits were all reserved), but I would assume we went a lot faster not having 2 days/1 night’s worth of stuff with us.

Also, for anyone with dogs - there’s a point at which dogs are no longer allowed past, which includes where the permitted campsites are and the hot spring itself. Not sure if anyone’s checking, but would be a bummer to get up there and not know ahead of time! We didn’t see any rangers (nor were we camping), but I’ve heard of rangers being there to check for permits and bear canisters so just be aware.

Wow, literally breathtaking all the way around! The views were above all expectations. The trail says it’s 29 miles, however my gps tracked it at 31.2 miles. There is a major drought issue here in aspen so I kept about 3 liters of water at all times. Make sure to do the same if you find water take advantage! I didn’t see any bear however I did see tons of chipmunks, marmots, mule deer, mountain goat, and sheep. Such a brutal trail, however it was so worth it! No pain no gain! The entire loop took 4 days 3 nights and I did it counterclockwise. The first night I arrived late and only got about 2 miles in, then it was starting to get dark so you gotta set up camp just before sunset because the wind is a beast! Couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. The highs were in the upper 80’s, lows around the upper 40’s low 50’s. I would absolutely do this hike again, maybe try doing it clockwise next time.

This was my husband and my 1st backpacking trip. It is not for the faint of heart and will challenge you physically and mentally if you are packing in gear. We came from 1700ft in elevation where we live, so the altitude definitely got to my husband. The views were tremendous and the trail was well marked. It is hard at the end, definitely felt like a "money pit" reference to people coming down, "1-2 miles" always. It took us 8 hours to climb up, and 4 1/2 to get down, many people passed us up. Everyone was super friendly and encouraging, loved hearing all of the different accents. We saw lots of squirrels and a few deer. Probably not the best for a 1st time backpacking trip but the aspens were turning and the scernary was stunning and the hot springs were not crowded and averaged around 100F.

Beautiful views of the Maroon Bells.

The trail is (very) narrow (in some parts), the distance hiked is 6300 feet one way. With an elevation gain of 1000 feet, it puts the average grade (incline) at 16%. Due to the volume of people (500 an hour, on the trail) You'll be pulling over a lot to give others the right of way, or they'll be doing the same.

This hike consists of a trail, with a creek rushing down the mountainside. 7 Small bridges will help you zigzag your way to the top, and although the distance is short (1.2 miles) to the top, the grade makes the hike a challenge. With large rock steps, loose dirt and pebbles. It should take about an hour or two to the top, and your descent will be twice as fast. Take time to enjoy the scenery, it's not a race. Don't kid yourself, take enough water as the natural water isn't pure, bacteria thrives in it.

Many people take an extended break at the top. The water is crystal clear, but not safe to drink. The waterfall hitting Hanging Lake makes this a National Landmark and a great place to zone out. Loved it, please don't damage it with graffiti or trash.

Round trip 19 miles! If you’re very fit, this isn’t hard. The springs are amazing!! 9.4 miles ONE WAY!

1st water crossing: 2.5/3 miles
2nd water crossing: 6 miles
3rd water crossing: 6.5/7 miles.

No wading! Tevas were nice for the springs. Watched the sunrise. Started hiking at 330, made it to springs at 730 (4 hours), chilled for an hour or so. Made it back to trailhead in 3 hours. Not for faint of heart, but not impossible!

The trail to the top is worth it, though it’s pretty short and soooo crowd. There is a few steep climbs along the way. I would go as early as possible and certainly not on the weekend. In may 2019, hikers will need a permit $ to hike this trail and moreover, they’ll have to take a shuttle to get to the trailhead.

My partner and I did this entire hike (round trip) in a day, and it was rough. I have a Suunto trail watch and I tracked the hike closer to 13 miles one way - I’m not sure who’s numbers are more accurate but my watch uses GPS and tends to be accurate on nearly all of the hikes I track.

That being said, this hike is beautiful. The elevation gain is gradual and the most intense at the end right before the hot spring.

You cross three man made LOG bridges before getting to the hot springs. There are multiple rock and downed tree crossings - these don’t count ;)

Wear sunscreen. Bring a first aid kit for blisters. But be prepared for a stunning visit at the top.

Do us all a favor and if you see people eating in the pool or leaving trash, speak up. There’s permits in place for a reason and we want to keep this place as beautiful as it has been for centuries. Some people just don’t get it.

Awesome trail. Rated moderate but still a good steady climb. Great scenes, lots of running water. At about 7,000, my wife and I took a quick break a few feet apart from one another...I was up trail when I heard a rustling in the brush on the upslope side and then thumping on the trail - turned to my right and saw a black bear cub, golden brown with a darker brown ruff around his neck...we saw each other at the same moment. The "little" critter did an about face and retraced his steps back from where he/she came...there were ar least two more, probably mom and a sibling judging from the sounds we heard. My wife never saw the bear - the whole incident occurred over maybe 3-4 seconds... We made some noise, carried on up trail without further incident. My only regret is not getting a once in a lifetime photo op...
This occurred last Monday, September 10. Lots of berries along the trail. Overall I'd rate this hiking trail a 10.

hiking
5 days ago

The trip to the top is worth it! The views to Spouting Rock are neat where water coming through the rocks. The Hanging Lake’s water is clear as I have every scene anything.

Bring water and a snack or two and you will be fine.

Lovely hike up. Weather perfect. Lake dry but colours in full swing

Love this hike. Arrive early to avoid the crowds. Change to reservation / shuttle system scheduled for May 2019 - limiting usage to 615 per day. A welcome change.

Check out spouting rock - unique and impressive - just a short additional distance.

on The Grottos Trail

hiking
7 days ago

It’s fine. Not a hike. A great spot to stop, have some lunch, and dip your toes in the refreshing mountain water. Very poorly marked trails, so you just kinda wander around.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
7 days ago

Great views of the aspens and scree throughout this short and sweet hike. The lake at the end is very dry, but it’s a fun new view of the Bells. Given that this is the only hike greater than a mile but less than 20 miles at the Bells, it’s worth doing.

This trail was absolutely stunning! The hike itself is long though. It is closer to 10 miles in each direction so be prepared for a long day if you aren’t planning on backpacking. Definitely worth the trip though!

We did not hike the entire trail, but look forward to that in the future. We did a day hike to the log jam out and back which measured 15 miles on our GPS. The trail was beautiful and the valley is gorgeous. This would be the clockwise direction. The trail was pretty easy going most of the way. At the beginning you pass through some private property which is clearly marked, but there are cows present and occasionally on the trail. They were not a problem. Thoroughly enjoyed the hike and look forward to backpacking the entire loop next time. I did fish the creek and had a blast!

Beautiful colors throughout the hike up and back. We had a warm sunny day, Crater lake is a little dried up but the views with the Aspen color changes were worth the hike up.

Hard climb if not used to altitude. Take an oxygen can and you’ll make it. One of the most beautiful places on Earth

10/10 would hike again

nice and easy hike along the river with easy access

Spectacular! Counterclockwise, four days. I hike with a pup that’s hit or miss with other dogs and was so happy to see most dogs were on leash on the loop.

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