Close to Aspen and one hot spring hike that seems to be on every Coloradan’s bucket list, the trek to Conundrum Hot Springs has become quite popular in recent years. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, here are a few things to know if you plan on visiting this Colorado destination.
1. Always, always, always LEAVE NO TRACE.
First and foremost, always leave no trace on the Conundrum Hot Springs hike (or on any other trail). Conundrum Hot Springs is remote, making it difficult to clean. With an increase in popularity over the last decade, there’s also been an increase in trash. Don’t be that person. Want to help solve this problem? Bring a trash bag with you for the hike and pick up things those less considerate have left behind.
2. The Conundrum Hot Springs hike is hard.
Do not underestimate this hike. It’s roughly 17 miles round trip with an elevation gain that’s close to 3,000 feet. By those numbers, it’s more difficult than many famous fourteener routes – which is why many people prefer to tackle it in two days. The hike is almost entirely uphill and it’s rugged, often filled with mud. These attributes make this hike especially difficult for out-of-towners not adjusted to Colorado’s altitude. Altitude sickness is something that should be taken seriously, as it has led to death on this trail in the past.
3. You can camp…but you’ll need a reservation.
In the past, anyone could camp at Conundrum Hot Springs. However, due to an increase in popularity, reservations are now required. Here’s more information on how to book a reservation. You’ll need to do it quite some time in advance.
4. Conundrum Hot Springs is surrounded by beautiful peaks.
One perk of camping at Conundrum Hot Springs is that you’ll be able to wake up and climb one of the nearby peaks. Two Colorado fourteeners are nearby, including Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak. There’s also a 13,943′ mountain called Cathedral Peak towering above the hot spring.
5. Conundrum Hot Springs will probably be crowded.
Like I mentioned, Conundrum has been getting crowded in recent years. If you go during a summer weekend or a holiday, expect big crowds. Even though the camping is now reservation only, many people will still try to do the hike in one day and the number of those allowed to do this is currently unlimited.
6. Dogs aren’t allowed at the hot springs.
While dogs are allowed on some of the trails in the area, they’re not allowed at the hot springs. If you plan on doing this hike, leave the pup at home.