Fifth Water Hot Springs Hike
Fifth Water Hot Springs Hike
I've had this hike on my to-hike list for at least two years. Trying to find a time when my kids and I had pretty much all day to spend hiking and playing since Diamond Fork Canyon is about an hour away from where we live. Summer came and this year went and my boys started school. Then Utah started putting on quite a show with fall colors, so I took advantage of a Friday when my boys were off and we set out in the morning along with three other moms from our Hike it Baby family.
The trailhead we started from was really easy to find: just plug in "Fifth Water Hot Springs Trailhead" into Google Maps or Waze and it got us there. I have heard you can reach the hot springs from other trailheads, but this is the one that we hiked.
Diamond Folk Canyon was a gorgeous drive all on its own too. We saw free-roaming cows and turkeys and more than a few picnic areas we wanted to explore another time.
The parking lot at the trailhead is pretty small. I'd advise you to get there early and expect it to be very busy on the weekends. It was about 10:30am when we got there on a Friday, and the space was about half full. But the lot was completely full when we left later that afternoon.
There are vault toilets at the trailhead, but no trash cans, so make sure to pack out all of your trash.
The trail is approximately five miles roundtrip and it's a great mix of climbing, descending, and flat trail that's decently wide. There's a steep drop-off to the creek in more than a few spots where I felt the need to hold my 8-year-old's hand, even though he didn't want to. The majority of the trail is in the shade too, which must be nice for hiking during the hot summer months.
As you get closer to the hot springs, you will start to notice the sulfur smell and then you'll see the color of the creek start to change. Once you emerge into an opening with no shade, you'll be there! Even with a couple of preschoolers hiking with us, we got there more quickly than I expected.
The hot springs themselves are really beautiful with each pool a slightly different shade of turquoise than the one next to it and the temperatures just as varied. Closer to the bigger waterfall, the water was pretty hot!
We played in the water, immediately regretting that we didn't bring swimsuits. My 8yo was skeptical at first, but once he realized just how warm the water was, he happily stripped down to a t-shirt and underwear. My 3yo wasn't as courageous and he was happy to just get his feet wet. I was thankful that I remembered to bring a wet bag with me. It was perfect to hold his wet clothes.
Many of the rocks are coated in a slimy, white sulphur residue, and it can make them quite slippery. Over the years, other hikers have stacked rocks in different places to create lovely soaking pools for us to enjoy.
We were warned that sometimes hikers will bathe in the warm water completely nude, but we didn't run into anyone partaking that day.
While the hot springs were a real treat, the trail itself was just as beautiful. We caught the tail end of the fall colors and hiked on a trail completely blanketed in red, orange, and yellow leaves.
I've read that many will hike this trail in the winter and enjoy the hot springs even when there's snow on the ground. I'm looking forward to reading more about it and possibly giving it a try in a couple of months!