Conundrum Hot Springs is one of Colorado’s most primitive spots for a soak in heated mineral water. Hikers and snowshoers must endure a 9-mile one-way trek up to 11,200 feet in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen, which can be further complicated and lengthened depending on recent weather.
Though it requires a long and strenuous journey, a winter hike to Conundrum Hot Springs allows for a more intimate experience compared to treks made during the summer amid notorious crowding.
The first half of the trail winds through Conundrum Creek Valley, passing the occasional aspen grove. Throughout the entire hike, snowshoers should be able to recognize signs of recent avalanche activity and the risk of potential slides.
After a valley stretch, the trail dives into dense forest that can provide some relief on sunny days. There are three river crossings, which could be covered in snow during winter months. Be careful of thin ice and soft snow near water sources. The last 1.5 miles of the trail is strenuous with quite a bit of elevation gain. After a long grind, hikers will finally reach a hot spring pool, able to soak tired muscles.
A camping permit is required year-round and must be acquired in advance. Those who stay overnight are also required to have a bear canister to store food and trash. There are 20 campsites to reserve that range in sizes for groups between two and six people. Dogs are not allowed in this wilderness area, which begins on the Conundrum Creek Trail after Silver Dollar Pond. Read more regulations for this hike here.
Editor’s Note: Check local conditions prior to planning your trip. Not only can snow increase avalanche risk (check with CAIC for a risk forecast), it can also make the trailhead difficult to access, requiring additional miles of snowy hiking to reach. Find more on local conditions here. Parking is quite limited and can be made even more limited when winter weather is present.