Camping is only permitted in designated sites beyond this point, and fires are not permitted. There are several campsites just before this sign along the creek where fires are still permitted.
We loved this hike in, the beginning is fairly easy and the ending can be a bit of a challenge. There were a handful of people day hiking this but i prefer to spend the night there. in the past this area was open to anyone without the need of a permit and became very overcrowded. Now that the campsite is on a permit system the area is much cleaner and way less crowded. We only saw about 25 people there on a Monday night in July.
The springs are amazing as well as the views. one large spring sits close to spots 1-7, all of there other spots will require a walk to get to the main hot spring. The campground is very spread out, some sites are almost a mile away from the hot springs and it makes for great privacy and quiet. The spots that are further away are more designated for horses but we did not see any on this trip. I would stick to spots 1-7 to get a closer spot.
This area does require a bear canister to store your food at all times and we did see the forest service out there checking permits and for proper food storage. Sites are primitive and do not have any fire rings. You will find rock rings in areas.
Driving on the narrow road in can be a little stressful being single laned at times with tight curves however once you get to the parking lot you can start to see up the valley which you walk up. Once you start your trek you zig-zag over a stream a few times and through two bolder fields just watch your step it can be a bit risky but the trail is marked with stacked rocks so no need to worry how to navigate them. Be careful of wildlife too I witnessed a momma and baby moose in one of the ponds and there are bears in the area as well. You can bring your dog but only up to a certain point and watch for the beaver pond so they don't drink the water cause it's nasty and you don't want to have to carry a dick dog down the mountain. Once you get to the top and hop in the hot spring it's like sitting in an infinity pool on top of the world. You can see all the way down the valley and the Maroon Bells too and at night it's like sitting in a snow globe as you watch the stars and milky way go from one side of the valley to the other, it's magical.
Winter season review. Check the weather, then check it again. The only way winter camping appeals to me is if i am skiing or going to a hot spring. This trip did neither. The mission was a 17 mile round trip hike to Conundrum Hot Springs. 2,457' elevation gain to 11,000'. The hike in was great most of the way. The crampons switched to snow shoes a few miles in, we were all by ourselves, and the trail was amazingly scenic. The elevation climbs, but its gradual. Only a few steep sections. I highly recommend having a map or a phone app w the trail and GPS. It was sometimes a bit tricky to pick up the trail, since there was snow on the ground. There's a parking lot before the trail, but it may be inaccessible if there's a lot of snow bc the road in is plowed but the lot isnt. We had to park another .5 mile away. The snow started falling softly by midday, and the temps stayed around 35F until late afternoon. As we approached the dispersed campground area just before the hot spring, the trail simply disappeared. We were only .25 miles from our reward: private hot spring and whisky. Maybe it was because hiking this last uphill part was in knee deep snow (bc we were now off trail). Maybe it was the 7 hrs of having this 45lb pack on, or maybe it was both, but we had to stop, rest, and make camp in the campground area. There was little daylight left at this point. We popped up our tents, insulated like crazy, and settled in for the night while the snow fell around us. Next morning, despite yesterday's ambitions, we abandoned the idea of sitting in hot water and opted to put on our frozen boots and get the hell outta there. It was a much easier hike back…until the open meadows where the snow from the night before had filled in our trail. Or those parts where the snow was blowing in your face. Ah, the ice beard. My buddy is a great person to lead in those situations. Has a few years on me. We made it out, alive, all with the sense of "Ok now i know i can do that and yep i know my limit" and a LOT of trail cred. Bring a shovel to help u make an even ground for your tent. You won't have any trouble finding a spot in winter. Only the crazies do this kinda thing.
Rigorous hike in, definitely try to go in off-season or during the week to avoid crowds. it was pleasant during the day and quite chilly at night in September
After 8 miles of wildflowers, moose and uphill climbing it was wonderful to find a few campsites open despite peak season in July. At 11k feet it gets chilly at night, but the views of the milky way and the hot springs made this one of my favorite places to pitch my tent.
Lots of people- gamble that you will have a place to camp legally. I found lots of trash, including glow sticks. I understand many people gonto party- it would just be nice if they could pick up after them selves. The area clearly has been hevily impacted by people. However, it is so incredbile to be in the middle of no where naked and comfertable in a pool.
Due to crazy party bros, this beautiful destination is slowly being trashed. Alcohol bottles and garbage are left everywhere. We talked to a ranger who said they end up cleaning up and packing out 500 lbs of poop a year.
There are tons of sites along the creek and above the hot springs. No amenities, no garbage service, no toilets. Please be respectful of this beautiful treasure and do not risk it's access for others.
About 8 mile hike in… great views and three hot tubs (one the size of a swimming pool). DO NOT GO ON WEEKENDS. Way too crowded, noisy with party people.