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Monday, March 14, 2016

Fifth Water / Diamond Fork Hot Springs

This hike has been on my list for over a year.  I have seen so many pictures of the milky blue, clear, and green pools at fifth water, and wanted to see the hot springs for myself (and do a little soaking of course).  Atleast once a month I would bring up the idea of this hike, but for one reason or another, it just never happened.  Too hot out, too cold out, ski weekend, a week away, hike to long, and the list goes on.  Life happens when we are busy making other plans.  Well, finally Amanda and I decided no more excuses.  We packed our bags, grabbed our dogs (dog friendly hike!), and headed south to Spanish Fork. 

No fees, Dog-Friendly, Family Friendly (if the road is open), 5 or 13 miles RT 

There are a few important things to know about this hike.  First, if the gate is open, as it is in the warmer months, then this is a 5-mile RT hike on the trail.  If the gate is closed (snowy conditions), then this 5-mile hike turns into a 13 mile hike RT.  When the gate is closed, you have to hike four miles up the road to reach the trailhead, and then the 2.5 miles up the trail.  So depending on the season, pack accordingly.  We hiked this trail March 7th and the road was closed.  I heard word on March 12th that the road was opened.  Check around on a few different blogs or facebook tags of people at the hot springs, so see if the gate is open before your hike.  If the road is closed, this hike is still so worth it.  The walk up the road is breathtaking as you pass campgrounds, the river, and gorgeous scenic areas.  Most importantly, the road is flat and its an easy beautiful walk.

Next thing you need to know is this spot is really busy on the weekends.  We went mid-day, on a Monday, in March when the road was closed (13 mile hike), and there were still a few people at the springs, and we passed about four groups heading up on our way back.  I hear on the weekends it can be quite of a zoo. Plan to do this hike during the week if you can, or early. 

And the next important thing you should know, is some people tend to steep in the springs a la nude.  While I am all for loving your body and letting lose on your own private property, or a spot where you are alone, it is not okay here.  Two younger men were sitting in the springs in their birthday suit in crystal clear water, which makes for some really uncomfortable moments, and awkward moments when you want to take pictures.  If you visit the springs, please have the courtesy to cover up your bits and pieces for the respect of all the groups (and families) who like to visit the spring. 

A large hiking bag, my go-to bag however, the smaller model is currently on salemicrofiber compact towel, a swim suit, water and snacks for your hike, a bag for your wet bathing suit, dog supplies (water, snacks, poop bags, harness or a saddlebag).  I suggest hiking in with your bathing suit under your clothes, and after the spring changing into undergarments you hiked in with you.

The trail starts at THREE FORKS TRAIL HEAD.  Once you access the trailhead, either through driving or walking four miles up the road, you are going to want to take the trail heading STRAIGHT OUT past the bathrooms.  Do not take the trail heading right over the bridge (with a gate).  There are trail signs there for a different trail.  Follow the trail straight out leading from the bathrooms, there is no signage besides a large map so it is a little confusing.  It will be a narrow trail that follows the river. 

About 1 mile into the hike, you will cross a bridge over the river and continue onto the trail  The views will get better and better and you will start to smell the hot springs. At mile 2, you will reach the hot springs.  There are several pools with different temperatures, so find one that works best for you.  The pools (and trail) end at the waterfall.  

Sadly, there was a lot of garbage left around the springs.  Please be courteous and a respectful decent human being and hike your trash out.  Keep the place clean for others to enjoy. 


For anyone that likes to use GPS, the maps should recognize Diamond Fork Road.  If not, take I-15 to Spanish Fork in Utah County (Exit 257).  Taking the exit will put you on US-6 East.  After driving for 11 miles on this road, turn left onto Diamond Fork Road, right after mile marker 184.  Follow this road until A:  You hit the road closure about 6 miles in, or B:  hit the Three Forks Trailhead 10 miles into the road.  Park along the road in front of the gate closure or along the trailhead.  The drive is just over an hour from Salt Lake City.  

Road Closure on Diamond Fork Road.  Parked here and hiked four miles up the road. 
Walking the four miles up the road
Gorgeous views from the road
Views from the road. 
Reaching the trailhead, four miles up the road.  Olive sporting her Ruffwear Saddlebag
Bathroom at the trailhead, Follow the trail past the bathrooms (not to the right)
DONT go this way.  The wrong trail crossing the bridge 
Following the creek
Crossing the bridge 1 mile into the trail 
Nudists... be warned..
Gorgeous views of the hot springs
Milky blue waters of the first set of soaking pools
Middle set of pools
Last set of pools before the waterfall

Waterfall at the end of the trail
Hot Springs 


  1. waw. I love that. So you hiked only two miles? I think it's longer than that. And you were not alone, and there was still some snow. So wasn't it cold? How dare you swim in ponds surrounded with snow and cold water. I guess you are doing a very exciting experience there. Looking forward for your future adventures, Katie. Now have a hot coffee to relax :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It was 13 miles total. 4 miles walking up the road, 2.5 miles on the trail to the springs (so 6.5 each way) :) It was a great trip!


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