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.

Colorado, Conundrum Hot Springs, Elk Mountains, Aspen, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

Soaking with a view in Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen, 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.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, hiking, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

Surrounded by golden willows high in the Conundrum basin - September.

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.

Colorado, Conundrum Hot Springs, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

The remote wild hot spring in the Conundrum Creek valley near Aspen, Colorado.

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.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

Hiking over Triangle Pass down towards the Copper Creek valley.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

A golden meadow in the upper Copper Creek valley.

Colorado, Copper Lake, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

Copper Lake Reflection

Sunset reflection in Copper Lake.

Colorado, Copper Lake, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

White Rock Mountain reflects in Copper Lake on a crisp clear autumn morning.

Colorado, Copper Lake, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, photo

Willow in the Water

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