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A few weeks ago I and three buddies I go to college with hiked the Conundrum Creek Trail to the Conundrum Hot Springs and camped overnight. A permit is required for overnight stays. The second day we hiked back in the late afternoon. It is a 17-mile hike round trip. There was clear sunny weather both days. The trail is in pretty good shape. It was a bit muddy in a few areas. A good pair of hiking shoes is essential. There were few others at the campsite overnight. We had the hot springs to ourselves that night. The second day we hiked a bit further south and then returned to hit the hot springs again before descending. The only people we ran into that day were an older couple on the trail passing by while we were in the hot springs and a guy and his two teenage sons who joined us in the hot springs.

I read a review that talks about people being "inconsiderate" because they were naked in the hot springs. Please note: These hot springs have traditionally been a place where people are naked. There is nothing inherently inconsiderate about this. My friends and I enjoyed being naked in the hot springs on our trip. Nothing more. Nothing less. The older couple passing by seemed shocked and shook their heads at us. The wife muttered under her breath that we could cover up when people pass by. By contrast, the father and his sons decided to join us naked in the springs and everyone had a pleasant time hanging out. Clearly the main difference between the two groups of people we met while we were in the hot springs had to do with their differing attitudes towards nudity. Please, either respect the right of others to enjoy being naked in nature or avoid the hot springs, however, do not expect others to stop enjoying this traditionally nude area because you have a problem with simple nudity!

hiking
1 month ago

Climbed this one today. And when I say climbed, that's no lie. 95% of the trail is snow covered, with the last 1,000 feet requiring some basic mountaineering skills. Post holing, searching for different routes from the trail (it's disappeared under the snow and you have to post hole all the way up), thigh-deep snow in certain areas. Don't get me wrong - it's breathtaking at the top, but it took some effort to get there. My companion said this was Mt Rainier summit day minus ice axes and crevasses. Spikes, gaiters all recommended. Snow shoes might even come in handy if you're willing to bring them. But I loved it. So, the work aside, it's worth the hike.

The popularity of this trail has completely destroyed the area, there's poop everywhere along the trail & around the campsites. This place has transformed into a rocky mountain national park or emerald bay of tahoe lake situation. Aholes that don't respect anything go & pollute so the forest service now requires reservations to camp in the middle of the wilderness. Thanks people!! Crappy fake casual outdoors people ruined it for absolutely everyone, great job!!!!

What an adventure! This trail was 9.6 miles to and from the hot springs so 19.2 miles round trip according to my iPhone health app. It was very muddy and there was lots of snow especially the higher up you go so make sure to bring reliable warming and waterproof gear. The trail was really easy to follow and the bridges were fun to cross (3 bridges total) but the altitude is something to watch out for going up. It’s true what everyone say the hike down is a cake walk. It took us 6-7 hours to get up and 4 hours to get down.

The BEST hike, I did it in July in 3 days and it was the hardest but most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.

Get a good water filter, tent, rain gear (a must), the usual. We had to have a beat canister when we went and it was SO heavy, and doesnt get much lighter throughout the trip due to "bring it in bring it out." Next time we will use those bear bag type deals, much lighter and you're still able to rent those.

Its amazing, I am not in the best shape but not in bad shape and it was hard but not discouraging by any means! Have fun!!!

Beautiful views wherever you go! Challenging backpacking!

I’m new to backpacking with this being my second trip ever. My son is an experienced hiker and he is the reason I got into doing these types of trips. We like the ease of hiking loops from a logistical standpoint so when we found this one, it was a no brained that we had to give it a go.

This trail was very difficult for me. I am not in the best physical shape but I am mentally strong which I believe is a good part of being able to successfully complete a hike like this one. There is thin air, cold, rain, hail and tough elevation changes. This can all beat you down if you can’t handle the mental aspect.

We completed the hike in 4 days in early August. Other than the rain on a couple days and the hail coming up over the passes, the weather was ok. I’m not sure there would have been a better time to hike this.

Would I do it again? Not sure. It took my knees a couple of weeks to recover from the beating they took going down the passes. The views were breathtaking and as is usually the case, pictures just don’t do it justice.

Gorgeous hike with great vista views of lakes, and a small town on the main highway—both from way above when you are above tree line. Hiked this with my friend on September 26, 2018 and there was only a trace of snow showing anywhere at that time. There is a nice protective moderate size rock hut at the summit. Christians will appreciate the view of Mount of the Holy Cross, a 14’er, which is viewed across the valley once you reach the summit of Notch Mountain. The snowfield in the colour (rock crevices) is visible certain months, and it forms a gigantic cross. I believe it was in the 1940s that many Christians hiked this for a pilgrimage to see the cross. Check a Google search for the story. Note that if you prefer to hike the 14er, Mt of the Holy Cross itself, you probably won’t get much if any view of the cross. Check guides to see. I’ve hiked about 25 hikes in Colorado and this is one of my top two favorite hikes! It was exactly 10 miles round trip with elevation gain if 2857 feet. There is a water source about 40% of the way up.

Beautiful hike! The hike was actually 18.5 miles round trip from the parking lot to the springs. One of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve been on. People aren’t very considerate of others presence; we had a large group of 5 men and 1 woman all get completely naked and get in the springs while there were others in it. Do everyone a favor and pack a swimsuit and towel, because no one wants to see you naked in the springs while trying to relax. Only thing that put a damper on this otherwise beautiful hike!

Absolutely stunning and worth every step! Took us 4 hours to get up with our packs and 3 hours to get down. The springs were beautiful and the sunrise was amazing! Definitely possible to do it as a day hike but do yourself a favor and reserve a campsite!

Short off road ride to the mouth of the trail. Was a nice sneaky road to the trail. We took our stock Jeep Wrangler to the mouth of the trail with no problem.

The spring and scenery are worth the challenging climb. I was surprised that I finished it, coming from New Orleans at sea level. Make sure to bring extremely warm clothes, because we did freeze our butts off at night (late September)

backpacking
2 months ago

WARNING - DO NOT DEPEND ON WAG BAGS AT TRAILHEAD - BRING A SHOVEL!! We were expecting to find the advertised free WAG bags at the trailhead, but the box was empty. From the number of day trip permits piled up in the box, it had been a while since a ranger had been up. Luckily we always carry a shovel anyway, but it would have sucked to be digging an 8-inch hole with a stick up there in the rocky soil.

This was an amazing trail. My daughter and I have been backpacking together since she was 9, and 12 years later this trip was definitely the most incredible one so far. Our campsite was clean, our fellow campers/soakers were sweet and considerate (no late loud parties in the pool), and the views were mind blowingly beautiful. We spent 2 nights, which gave us a nice lazy day of hot springs time before heading back down.

It took us 6 hours to hike up, but the second half of that hike was in steady cold rain (the trail gets slippery). On a clear day it would have easily been 5 hours. We took a leisurely 4 hours to hike down, could’ve done it in 3 if we’d been motivated.

If you’re thinking about it, just get the permit and do it. You won’t be disappointed!

Challenging trail over the passes, but the amazing scenery makes it well worth the effort!

Completed the loop in 3 days/2 nights Sep 4-6, hiking counter-clockwise. Camped at Snowmass Lake the 1st night (~9 miles) and just above the large waterfall in Fravert Basin the 2nd night (~7.5 miles). Total distance logged on my gps watch was 29.4 miles, so that left about 13 miles on the last day over Frigid Air & West Maroon Passes. A storm on day 2 forced us to hike over Trail Rider Pass in snow/sleet, which made the trail muddy and extremely slippery. A good set of hiking/trekking poles is highly recommended!

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!

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.

Good trail. Did this for my first backpacking trip and had a great time. Being from the Midwest, it took me some time to adjust to the altitude, which made the hike a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. The first 1.5 miles on the Salmon Lake trail is grueling, particularly after we had hiked close to 8 miles before (we did a portion of the Rock Creek trail in the morning). Found a few great campsites toward the top with views of distant peaks and closer ones. Great for the sunset and sunrise. We even had a moose walk through our campsite. The views at the top are breathtaking and well worth the hike.

There is a point about mile 5 where you are walking in a blown out area filled with dead and fallen trees. The trail remained very clear (had to climb over a few) but I would be wary of doing this section on a windy day for fear of falling trees.

In all, a great experience.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

We hiked this to flattop mountain on a day hike. A little longer then we expected and then further got delayed by having a bull moose on the trail who would run at us when we tried to pass, ended up waiting 30 minutes for him to move on. Lots of wildlife 2 bull moose, elk, mule deer, beautiful views and lots of water. 22 miles total for us in 10 hours. Not to bad

Excellent views and a great workout! we did the loop in a 3 days. Be warned the weather is very unpredictable. we got caught on Trail Rider Pass in a freak thunderstorm. Great fishing if you bring a rod.

Done this past weekend. Absolute blast. Beautiful scenery and awesome trail.

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