Conundrum Hot Springs is a primitive set of hot springs with incredible views of the surrounding Aspen wilderness. Isolated deep in the Colorado Rockies, the springs are only accessible by a nine-mile hike up Conundrum Creek Trail.
Positioned at the treeline near Castle Peak, surrounded by the Maroon Bells, Conundrum sits at 11,200 feet of elevation. It’s best visited during the summer, which is also the busiest time of year, so planning ahead is best.
It should be mentioned that Conundrum Hot Springs has transitioned to a permit-only system, requiring all overnight users to purchase and carry a permit when staying above Silver Dollar Pond.
Permits are available at recreation.gov or by calling the U.S. Forest Service Carbondale office at 970-963-2266.
Natural Hot Springs in Aspen
At 11,200 feet, the Conundrum Hot Springs are among the highest hot springs in North America. There are several pools of varying sizes and temperatures, some of which can host about a dozen people and are around three feet deep. The temperature averages 100° F, however, the smaller pools tend to be a little cooler.
Formed in existing craters or rocks through years of visitation, the Conundrum Hot Springs offer therapeutic soaking in a natural environment. Around the springs are scenic views of waterfalls, flowers, snow patches, and steep avalanche chutes. While soaking you’ll enjoy looking down into the valley, marveling at the hike you just completed.
Overnight camping can be found near the springs, although camping is prohibited at the spots nearest to the hot springs. It’s best to show up early to claim your spot and flashlights are encouraged to make navigating easier. The best time to go is late spring to mid-fall, once the winter snow has melted.
Located in the White River National Forest and taking usually 4-7 hours to reach, it’s recommended that take the Conundrum Creek Trail early in the morning and set up camp near the springs. The hike begins near 9,000 feet and ascends to 11,200 feet.
From Vail: Take I-70 west for about 60 miles until you reach Glenwood Springs (Exit 116). Take a right onto North River Drive. This becomes Sixth Street. Follow this until you reach Grand Avenue (Highway 82). Take Highway 82 East for about 40 miles.
You’ll pass through Carbondale and turn before Aspen. About a half-mile west of Aspen, you’ll reach a roundabout. Turn onto Castle Creek Road. Follow Castle Creek Road for 5 miles, then turn right on Conundrum Road. Follow this road for about 1 mile until you reach a parking lot at the trailhead.
Please respect these public hot springs. Pack out all garbage and leave the place cleaner than when you came. Thank you!
Nearby Town: Aspen, CO
Season: June – October
Type: Primitive; Hike access
Hike: 8.5 miles (one way)
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