Conundrum #981

Conundrum Trail #981 begins at the intersection with the Copper Creek Trail #983 at the turn off for Copper Lake. It becomes the Conundrum Trail #1981 when it crosses into the White River National Forest at Triangle Pass.  This trail is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. This trail provides excellent scenery, but wanders along hillsides where there are loose rocks. There is very little water along the route. The main attraction on this trail is the Conundrum Hot Springs which is approximately 9 miles from the Copper Creek Trailhead. 

A permit is required for overnight stays in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones. This zone includes: all of Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass, and includes the popular Conundrum Hot Springs. This permit must be acquired in advance at

Copper Creek Trail Map (.pdf)

At a Glance

Permit Info:
Open Season: June - October
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Wilderness Regulations:
  • OVERNIGHT PERMIT REQUIRED for overnight stays within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Permit Zones
  • BEAR RESISANT CONTAINERS REQUIRED for all overnight visitors. IGBC approved bear canisters must be capable of holding all scented items (including toiletries, garbage, dog food, etc.)
  • HUMAN WASTE:  Human waste bags (WAG) bags are highly recommended. WAG bags must be packed out. Learn how to use a WAG bag. If a WAG bag is not used, visitors are required to deposit solid human waste in holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet (70 paces) from water, camp and trails
  • NO DOGS are allowed in the Conundrum Hot Springs Permit Zone.
  • DOGS MUST BE LEASHED out of consideration for both other people and wildlife
  • MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is 10 people. Each designated campsite in the Conundrum Hot Springs Permit Zone has an individual maximum number of people allowed to camp at the site (from 2-6 people).
  • CAMPFIRES ARE PROHIBIITED at all designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs and above 10,800 feet. Lightweight camp stoves are recommended
Closest Towns: Crested Butte, CO
Water: Treat all water before consuming.
Restroom: Pack out human & canine waste using a clean waste bag.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Gunnison Ranger District, (970) 641-0471 

General Information


Copper Creek Trailhead:

From Crested Butte, follow the Gothic Road, FSR #317, for approximately 6 miles to the intersection with FSR #317.3A.  There is a parking area at this intersection, two-wheeled drive vehicles will need to park here.  High Clearance/4WD vehicles can continue on FSR #317.3A for an additional half mile to the Copper Creek Trailhead.  Follow the Copper Creek Trail #983 for approximately 4.5 miles to the intersection with the Conundrum Trail #981.


Copper Creek Trailhead:  T. 12S., R. 86W., Section 34.  U.S.G.S. Maps:  Gothic and Maroon Bells.  Elevation:  9,920 feet.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
2.3 miles

  Elevation : 
9,920' - 13,000'