Trip Reports: Conundrum Hot Springs, Elk Mountains, Colorado - September 2014
There are few things in life finer than soaking in natural hot springs, especially when those hot springs are situated at treeline in an alpine basin surrounded by high peaks and valley vistas! Such is the case at Conundrum Hot Springs, a remote but popular wild hot springs in the Elk Mountains between the towns of Aspen and Crested Butte in Colorado.
Instead of hiking in from the Aspen side like most people do, we started from the small village of Gothic near Crested Butte, hiking into the Conundrum valley from the top, via Copper Creek and over Triangle Pass. The high mountains were alive with the vibrant colors of autumn.
Hot springs are always nice, but backpacking and camping next to a wild hot spring takes it to a whole ‘nother level! We’ve been to quite a lot of hot springs on our various travels, and this one ranks up there with the finest we’ve visited. Apparently, Conundrum is often overcrowded but we were lucky and only shared the springs with several other mellow groups during our stay. We spent about 3 hours soaking in the evening, then woke up before sunrise for another 3 hour soak in the morning! Pure backcountry luxury.
With a bit of reluctance, we eventually crawled out of the hot springs, packed up camp, and hiked back over the pass to spend our second night camping at Copper Lake.