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

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,Elk Mountains, hiking
Surrounded by golden willows high in the Conundrum basin – September.

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,Conundrum Hot Springs,Elk Mountains

Another view of Conundrum Hot Springs

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,Elk Mountains
Hiking over Triangle Pass down towards the Copper Creek valley.

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
A golden meadow in the upper Copper Creek valley.
Colorado,Copper Lake,Elk Mountains
Copper Lake Reflection : Prints Available

Sunset reflection in Copper Lake.

Colorado,Copper Lake,Elk Mountains
White Rock Mountain reflects in Copper Lake on a crisp clear autumn morning.
Colorado,Copper Lake,Elk Mountains

6 thoughts on “Alpensoak

  1. Beautiful photos! What a wonderful time of year to go! I always hear about how crowded Conundrum is but never have heard from anyone that has hiked to it this time of year. Do you think that is why it was much less crowded? Did you also go on weekdays?

    1. Hi Laura, I’m not certain, but it’s probably safe to say that there’s more people going there during the summer months, and that the later in the autumn you go, probably the less people you see. And yes we went on a weekday as well. That said, a woman we met there said that the previous night there was a group of 16 people partying in the hot spring all night long. So I guess you just have to get lucky!

      1. I guess so! What a disappointment that would be to be there with 16 people! Well, it’s on my list and hopefully I can time it right too. Aside from wildflower season, I can’t imagine any better colors than you captured!

  2. Hi Jack and Claudia,
    Not sure if you remember me I met you in Am in hot springs, I am the gal that had rigged up a super fanny pack due to neck issues and we talked about someone you knew that made custom packs in Seattle???
    Absolutely love your photos!

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