Conundrum Creek Trail to Conundrum Hot Springs

HARD 77 reviews

Conundrum Creek Trail to Conundrum Hot Springs is a 16.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September.

DISTANCE
16.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3044 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

fly fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

hot springs

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

muddy

rocky

no dogs

Conundrum Hot Springs/Conundrum Creek Trail is great for backpacking and normally takes a full day each way. It takes about 5-8 hours to hike in and 3-6 hours to hike out, on average. The trail is at high elevation, beginning at about 8,000 feet and ending at about 11,200 feet. The hike in is almost entirely uphill, at a fairly easy grade. The hike out is almost all downhill. The trail can be rocky and muddy but it is easy to follow and rated somewhere between moderate and difficult. The trail starts out at the trailhead where you will find parking for about 25 cars. However, because this trail gets so popular in late summer you may want to arrive early to ensure you get a spot. You will also need a bear canister for your food and scented products. Nearby retailers rent out these canisters. You may want to bring an extra pair of shoes because your feet are going to get wet. The hike begins with a mild grade through meadows, along Conundrum Creek, and through stands of aspen trees. There are lots of wildflowers and epic views of the snowy mountains in the distance. At about 2.5 miles you will come to your first major creek crossing, where there is a nice, wide, wooden bridge. From there the trail continues along the water and through more meadows. You will also pass a few ponds, and begin to see more pine trees. At mile 6 there is another major creek crossing with a wide wooden bridge. At 6.5 miles there is another creek crossing, this time with no bridge. You will see a sign directing you to a rope that you can hold onto while you cross the creek. The water may be deep and it is very cold, so use caution when making this crossing. From there, the last few miles of this trail are a bit steeper and may still have snow on them, especially if you are making this trip in June. At mile 8 you will see a cabin and a sign pointing you to campsites and the springs. The final hour or so of this hike involves many small creek crossings and your feet are likely to get wet. The springs are located above most of the campsites and are easy to find. There is one main hot springs pool that fits about 15 people and is about 102 degrees. Please note that you cannot have campfires in the upper campgrounds, and you will need to camp in designated spaces only. Rangers do patrol this hike and because of it's popularity, please be mindful to keep this area pristine. Please pack out all trash and follow all rules.

2 hours ago

backpacking
3 days ago

backpacking
4 days ago

Okay, WOW, where do I begin? First off, if you are planning on backpacking, this is not an 'easy or moderate' hike by any means. 7.5 miles with a full backpack is DIFFICULT no matter what terrain you are going up. However, if you are not carrying an overnight backpack, then I could see this being a moderate hike. The uphill is not too bad, it's just very long.

The hike itself was my favorite part. The views are absolutely unbeatable and the obstacles you have to go through make it such a fun and exciting hike.

Beware - we got to the parking lot at 9:15 on Saturday morning (had to rent a bear canister in town, store didn't open till 9 :x (don't overlook this!!)) and we got one of the last spots. I would not recommend starting this hike any later than 9:30 on a weekend as you will likely not get a parking spot or a camping spot.

We got one of the last camping spots as well. If you can get to the top early, I would definitely hike to the very top where the hot springs are and camp up there.

The hot springs were awesome. Such a cool and unique experience. There were a lot of people up there when we went as it was late in the summer and a weekend, however, it was by no means 'out of control, or too rowdy' as some reviews (mostly on other sites) claim. I would recommend bringing some flip flops or sandals to wear to the springs and also to cross the river (on the hike) with.

backpacking
5 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

20 days ago

The Hike, as many said before, is moderate with planning. Wish I had water proof hiking boots. My feet were soaked on regular trail before and after the ford; however wool socks kept me moderately comfortable. Take the advice someone mentioned below on the second pair of shoes to ford river, or at least to walk around in at the springs/campsite. I was happy I had them. After the ford there can be little bit of bouldering if you zig off the trail. Stick to the left and go across a "pond" with makeshift bridge with logs and rocks if bouldering is not for you.

1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. Gradual climb that was hard but never overwhelming. AND THE HOT SPRINGS!!! WHAT A TREAT! We started the hike on a Tuesday and I'm so glad we did. We only had to share the hot springs with a few other people, parking wasn't an issue, and we had no problems getting a designated campsite (we managed to fit 4 tents in site 4A). Wish we would have stayed an extra day at the top and done the triangle pass hike as a day hike.
Insta: @kcluvskc

1 month ago

1 month ago

Great hike (7/8-7/9)! The hot springs and beautiful views make the difficulty of the trek completely worth it. A blowdown leveled a groove of trees blocking the trail in the last stretch of the hike but the forest service built a trail around it, to the right. Bring water shoes to cross the creeks (my Chacos worked fine). Most of the hike is through meadows with gorgeous wildflowers so reapply sunscreen often! Let's keep this place pristine, wild and accessible in the future: Use a bear canister for your food, pack out your waste (human solid waste included, pick up bags with wipes and TP courtesy of the forest service at the trailhead) leave your dog home (no dogs allowed past a certain point on the tail), and no fires! We can preserve this incredible place together.

backpacking
1 month ago

The hot springs and views at the top are worth every bit of effort you put in. Trail is pretty constant gain the entire hike up, but never to steep. We hiked it a couple weeks ago and a few of the campsites were covered in snow. We saw a lot of people camping outside of designated sites and a few groups with dogs. Please, for the sake of the entire community, follow the rules so that others can enjoy the hot springs after you.

1 month ago

The trip was great. There was very little snow on the trail. There was a section of trees knocked over from an avalanche that took a bit of navigating, otherwise the trail was perfect. A few of the camping sites were still snowed in, but nothing a week more of warm weather won't fix. From reading reports the springs would be crowded and messy. I didn't experience any of that.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! We did it in mid May and because of the snow it took us longer than expected but I loved the challenge and all the vegetation.

2 months ago

Don't start past 1. It's a true 5-6 hour hike, then you're tired and the hot spring falls to the shadows of the mountains. Get up to the top early, get your snacks, set up camp, soak and relax.

Lots of down trees at mile 6 or 7. It's manageable, thank the trail workers if you see them cutting it out. The river crossing is at 5ish miles. Really cold. BRING EXTRA SHOES. Your feet will be wet. ( think I was hiking with wet feet after mile 4) I got to camp site 10 and I immediately put my wool socks and sandals on. Very nice hike. I'm sure after the snow melts off all the camp sites will be easier to find.

Go do this hike.

@mybestfriendatx

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked this on June 14. The last two miles or so still have lots of snow, slush, and fallen trees but we still managed to hike in in about 6 hours and out in 4 hours. The temperature at night was warm so our wet feet were not much of a problem. The hot spring was amazing and totally worth the hike in.

This is probably one of the best hikes I have ever done. There are gorgeous view around every turn and the path is easy to follow. Plus you end up at one of the most beautiful hot springs I have ever been to. More than worth the work! While July and August might be the best time of year for this hike, doing it in late June means less people, which is great.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked June 11-13 for my second time in 2 years. A lot more snow this time. The river crossing is about knee high and isn't as bad as people say it is as long as you bring reliable water shoes. The last couple miles are rough. Slushy snow and lots of post holing. Recent avalanches caused trees to fall over the trail almost got lost a couple times. Felt like i needed a machete through a jungle. Still lots of snow surrounding all the campsites. Still very doable and the added difficulty just the made the hot spring more enjoyable. Probably 3-4 weeks from prime season.

backpacking
2 months ago

One of the best hikes I've ever taken. Trust me, do it in the fall when the Aspens have turned and it's nice and cool. Awesome natural hot springs reward at the end. Just a great mix of terrain. Steepest part is right at the end, but really worth it. Parking sucks. We had to drive all the way back out to the main road to park and hike the road back adding a lot of unnecessary road mileage. Also keep in mind theirs naked people in the hot springs if that kind of thing bugs you.

2 months ago