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Backpacking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Taylor River Ranger District

Quick Facts

Conundrum Trail #1981

Beginning Elevation: 11,395 Feet (3473 Meters) intersection with Copper Creek Trail
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,685 Feet (525.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,600 Feet (3536 Meters) Conundrum Hot Springs
High Point: 13,080 Feet (4077.3 Meters) Conundrum Pass
Length: 5.0 Miles (8.0 Kilometers) from Copper Lake to Conundrum Hot Springs. The trail continues to the trailhead on Castle Creek Road near Aspen.
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 128, 131
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 1981
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Gothic, Maroon Bells
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Access to Conundrum Trail lies immediately outside of the Gothic town site at the Judd Falls Trailhead. The trail enters the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness at Judd Falls and follows Copper Creek Trail, 1983, passed Copper Pass to Triangle Pass (13,057 feet). This is a truly amazing valley. The trail from the Copper Lake turnoff to Triangle Pass leads along a steep scree field at the head of the valley.

The trail splits immediately before reaching Copper Lake. Copper Creek Trail, 938, leads to the left and Conundrum Trail, 1981, leads to the right and on to Triangle Pass. After crossing Triangle Pass the trail descends into the Conundrum Basin. This is a steep two and a half mile descent to the hot springs. This valley is absolutely beautiful when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Camping in the area of the hot springs is not recommended. If you must camp, please limit your stay to one night. The area immediately surrounding the hot springs is very highly impacted. When I saw how the natural beauty of this site has been trampled by so many well intentioned feet, I felt badly that I was contributing to the problem. No permits are needed for this area, but the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area is moving in that direction, due to the tremendous amount of visitors each year.

Directions from Crested Butte: Take Gothic Road north for 6 miles to the Gothic. Continue passed Gothic to the parking lot for Judd Falls. Follow a closed four-wheel drive road to Judd Falls then continue into the wilderness on Copper Creek Trail.

Directions from Aspen: The Conundrum Creek Trailhead is accessible from Castle Creek Road. Take Forest Road 128 to reach the parking lot. Hike south on the Conundrum Creek Trail, 1981. (See White River National Forest, Aspen Ranger District)

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Conundrum Trail
ICON Cold Water Fishing Copper Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking Conundrum Trail #1981
ICON Horseback Riding Conundrum Trail
ICON Animal Identification Conundrum Trail
ICON Bird Identification Conundrum Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Conundrum Trail
ICON Plant Identification Conundrum Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Conundrum Trail
ICON Backcountry Skiing Conundrum Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Conundrum Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Conundrum Trail

Related Activities
Copper Creek - Copper Creek is swift and fast with small Brook trout. Access along creek by foot or horse only.

Copper Creek Tail #1983 - Copper Creek Trail, 1983, leads from the Judd Falls Trailhead near Gothic, north to East Maroon Pass. The entire length of this trail is located within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Copper Lake - This is a high-alpine lake that supports snake river cutthroat and rainbow trout. The fishing is rated as fair.

Gothic Campground - Gothic Campground is surrounded by 13,000 foot mountains that create beautiful, but challenging terrain for biking, hiking, horseback riding and four-wheel driving.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Delta Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center , , , , Phone: 970-874-8616


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