Travel

4 Hot Spring Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

Interesting and unique spots across the US that you’ve never heard of but would love to visit.

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For Those Who Like to Hike, Camp and Party

Roadtrippers looking for a party should look no further than the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area in Aspen, which is home to the Conundrum Hot Springs. It’s the only place in the world where you can relax in a regenerative pool surrounded by a 14,000-foot high peaks. The name “Conundrum” comes from early-day miners, who found gold in the stream but never could locate a profitable bonanza.

4 Hot Spring Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

Go off-season and during the week to get some privacy

This undeveloped (read: free!) but popular hot springs pool can be reached via a “moderate difficulty” 8.5-mile trail (yup, that’s 17 hours round trip) that begins 5 miles outside of Aspen. Most hikers reach the springs in four to five hours.

The trail begins through meadows of wildflowers then becomes unceasingly uphill (although it’s rarely steep), with inspiring views of the Elk Mountains. It’s a long hike, but worth it for the experience (and selfies!) Just don’t forget your solar-powered phone charger!

Alternatively, you can hike from a town called Crested Butte, Colorado, where Conundrum Hot Springs is approximately 9 miles from the Copper Creek Trailhead. Here’s a video of a few women doing the hike and checking out the hot springs (at 2:40):

4 Hot Spring Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

Pitch a tent and stay overnight in one of the several campgrounds, rather than walking 17 miles in one day

Forgot your swimsuit? No problem. These clothing-optional hot springs make up quite possibly the most crowded wilderness locale in Colorado, and there’s a party every night amongst those who camp out. The Aspen Times called these rautious nightly events “slumber parties.” The largest pool is the hottest and clearest, while three smaller lukewarm pools are clear before you get in but instantly turn to mud (for the more bashful among us).

Unless you’re there in the middle of the night or you ski or snowshoe in winter or spring, visiting is a social experience.

4 Hot Spring Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

Conundrum Hot Springs is a social scene

In summer afternoons, few people use the hot pool, instead taking day hikes to Triangle Pass in the basin above. Others hide from the sun in the smaller pools, which offer some shade, or relax in tents and hammocks.

You’ll need a good night sleep before attempting this long hike, so stay (and spa) at the St Regis Aspen. If you request it, they’ll even pack you a picnic (and a bottle of champagne) to take on your journey.

4 Hot Spring Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

Have a good night sleep at the St Regis in Aspen

This one is definitely worth the effort, but a little pre-planning can make the journey a little more manageable. The raw beauty of the mountainous setting, the 102-degree water and the seclusion of the area make it one of Colorado’s most unique adventures. Check out this article for a first-hand account.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 58 Comments

  1. Avatar of Alice Montgomery

    Japan has been by far my best hot spring experience. Just go there and experience it for your selves. Really relaxing and just perfect.

  2. Avatar of Melani Kalev

    Bucket list worthy material, awesome!

  3. Avatar of Henry Mcintosh

    Added to the bucket list. Thanks!

  4. Avatar of Merry Robinson

    Merry Robinson

    So many amazing hot spring destinations. What gorgeous things hot springs are – beautiful and relaxing. I can’t even pick my favorite because they’re all so good. I want to see their breathtaking and gorgeous views and also enjoy a relaxing warm water. Thanks for this excellent post! 🙂

  5. Avatar of Rosemary Robles

    Rosemary Robles

    Passing through we stopped at the Conundrum to take in the views. Right at sunset was amazing. Yes! there are a few steep hills, but it’s great exercise. It was a great hike with a wonderful view. We would definitely do it again. Definitely recommended!

  6. Avatar of Cornelia Green

    Cornelia Green

    Interesting list, thanks. All these Hot Springs are a must see. I’ve seen Conundrum Hot Springs and it’s indeed so peaceful and beautiful. Pictures turnout amazing. The over looks at the top give you some grand photo ops. It would be great to go there in spring, i think.

  7. Avatar of Helen Dark

    Helen Dark

    I loved reading about your travel adventures. Makes me want to go book a trip to wherever you’re talking about now. I would love to do/visit pretty much all of the ones on the list – except getting near a dolphin. Almost envious of all the time you got to spend in those hot springs. Your travel experiences must have been sooo awesome.

    xoxo,
    Helen

  8. Avatar of Ashley Moore

    Ashley Moore

    Great article Hilary, thanks for sharing your experiences. I am gathering information because i’m planning on travelling alone this summer, and I am feeling pretty excited about it. I like your travels and the images in this article are stunning. You continue to inspire me with your stunning photos and epic adventures. You inspire me to be adventurous! 🙂

  9. Avatar of Lela House

    Lela House

    Gorgeous pictures! And such a diversity. I’ve visited some hot springs before, but nothing like any of these. I have to travel more. I want to get that close to a whale. Thank you for always sharing with us your travel experiences. Great read.

  10. Avatar of Jenny Garett

    Jenny Garett

    Beautiful.. I haven’t been to any of these hot springs. I really love your shots. The sights from the mountains, trees, flowers and all the different aspects of nature just took my breath away. Time to update the bucket list, perhaps! 😀

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