|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – May 2009
With alpine views, hot springs, wildflowers and wildlife, these hikes in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana offer the best of the Rockies.
Conundrum Hot Springs, CO 18 miles (Difficult)
Take a sparkling warm-water pool, place it just so below 14,265-foot Castle Peak, add alpine views and meadows, and you have the paradise known as Conundrum Hot Springs. A place this special is no secret, but you can avoid the mule train of hikers by skipping the standard approach from Aspen; instead, hike in from the Crested Butte side via the Copper Creek Trail, and score even better vistas of the surrounding Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness on the way. After topping out at 13,057-foot Triangle Pass, you'll descend to Conundrum. Do this round-trip late or early in the season for the best chance of solitude.
Info (970) 641-0471
Goldbug Hot Springs, ID 4 miles (Moderate)
Here's a bathtub with a view: Perched some 800 feet above Warm Springs Creek, with steaming cascades trickling in from above and a canyon yawning below, this remarkable 100°F pool has a view of mountains rippling away to the horizon. The round-trip hike skirts sagebrush-covered slopes and climbs nearly 1,000 feet, with most of that gain crunched into the last half-mile. Then, bliss.
Year-round (though you'll want extra traction in winter, when trails are snowpacked and icy)
Info (208) 756-5100