“Never test the depth of river with both feet” – Warren Buffet
The Fifth Water Hot Springs (aka Diamond Fork Hot Springs) are some of the best hot-pots in Utah and are only a short drive from Salt Lake City, in the Uinta National Forest. If you are looking for a micro-adventure that doesn’t require much packing or physical work, this is an adventure for you. Plus, it’s dog friendly!
To get there: drive and park at the trail-head, where there are bathrooms for your use. You will continue up the well-maintained trails, parallel to the Sixth Water River, for a little over 2 miles. You may feel like you’re in Southern Utah one minute with the red dirt, and in the deep forest another minute with tight trees towering above.
Cross a bridge about half-way and continue to make your way up to the hot-springs. Keep your eye out for mountain goats on the rock formations above the trail. You will know you are close when you start smelling hard-boiled eggs. The gleaming turquoise blue pools will take your breath away as you turn the corner. Continue up the trail to explore several different pools and waterfalls.
The pools are generally about 97 degrees and are super relaxing to soak in while drinking a cold beer.
The hot-springs are open year-round, however access is more difficult in the winter months because they close the road, which makes the hike 12 miles round-trip.
Update: The past two times that I’ve visited the hot-springs were both in late Summer and the beginning of Fall. I did this hike again this April, after a huge snow year, and the river was raging. When we got to the hot-pots, there were not as many pools and the blue pools were not as vibrant because there was so much run off water.
I was worried that we weren’t going to be able to find a place to soak because the first couple pools were packed with people. We ventured further up the river and we were lucky to find two hot-springs that you could only access by crossing the river. Crossing the river was a bit dangerous but it was totally worth it. It was quiet, beautiful and the water was the perfect temperature. I can’t wait to go back and camp by the river or at the Diamond Fork Campground!
What you should bring:
• Bathing suit – wear it in but make sure you have a change of clothes to hike out in
• Water shoes
• Yak-traks and plenty of layers (in the winter)
• Cans of beer (pack-in, pack-out)