Reservation and fee system at Conundrum Hot Springs starts in summer

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — The White River National Forest Service is moving forward with alternative 2 of the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness overnight visitor use management plan.

This means reservations and a $10 fee will be required starting in the summer.

Overnight Visitation Annually. Courtesy Forest Service.

According to U.S. Forest Service data, annual overnight visitation to Conundrum Hot Springs increased from roughly 1,400 people in 2006 to almost 5,500 people in 2015.

That means on average, there might be 250 to 300 people camped at the hot springs each night.

The busiest days are weekends.

“We have finally arrived at a decision that will protect this beloved Wilderness area while ensuring recreational opportunities into the future,” district ranger Karen Schroyer said.

In June, human waste issues were highlighted by the initial Forest Service visitor use management plan.

In 2016, rangers found 273 incidents of unburied human waste, and they packed out 438 pounds of trash.

This is the first of three phases to be implemented in the coming years.

Phase 2 limits overnight camping along the Four Pass Loop.  Phase 3 limits overnight camping at Capitol Lake. Reservations can be made online.

Courtesy Forest Service.

Overnight Visitation by Day of Week. Courtesy Forest Service.