fifth water hot springs

The Ultimate Guide For Visiting Fifth Water Hot Springs

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Fifth Water Hot Springs in Utah is located in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. It’s one of the most popular hot springs in the area, and a destination tourists travel to due to its milky blue water color in the Winter and turquoise-emerald color the rest of the year.

HIKE TO: Fifth Water Hot Springs
TRAIL: Fifth Water Trail No. 15
TRAILHEAD: Three Forks Trailhead
MILES: 4.5 miles out and back (7.25 miles in winter)
TIME: 2:39 hrs with winter road closure
DATE I WENT: 3/12/19
DIFFICULTY: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 6,170 ft
LOCATION: Uinta-Wasatch National Forest, Utah

Utah has many hot springs scattered throughout the state but one that stands out is Fifth Water Hot Springs. This hot spring is known for its vibrant blue waters, gorgeous waterfall, surrounding red rocks, scenic hike, and convenient location for those searching for hot springs near Salt Lake City.

Fifth Water Hot Springs, also referred to as Diamond Fork Hot Springs, is situated 1 hour and 15 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City in the Diamond Fork Canyon area, making it a quick drive from Utah’s largest city. It’s about 40 mins southeast of Provo, Utah, and 4 hours north from St. George, Utah.

Click here to read my guide to visiting St. George Utah

A visit to Fifth Water Hot Springs is a must if you want to spend some time outdoors and take a dip in a natural hot spring and enjoy your surroundings.

Continue reading below for an ultimate guide to the Fifth Water Hot Spring including trail information, where to park, and much more.

spanish fork hot springs

How long of a hike is Fifth Water Hot Springs?

Fifth Water Hot Springs is a 4.5-mile out-and-back hike. The trail is very easy to follow and has many gorgeous views. The trail starts at 5,530 ft and the hot springs are at 6,170 ft, gaining only 640 ft of elevation gain in 2.25 miles.

Once you have parked near the Fifth Water Hot Springs trailhead, it takes a little over 2 miles to get to the hot spring pools from the official Fifth Water Hot Springs trail start. 

You will follow the left side of Sixth Water Creek for about a mile. During the first mile, you will come across a footbridge, but do not cross it. Continue hiking on the designated trail.

Once you have reached a mile, you will come across a second footbridge that you will want to cross over. 

After you journey across the footbridge, you will need to continue trekking another mile. Around this time, you should notice the smell of sulfur coming from the Fifth Water Hot Springs and the water in the creek will be a much brighter blue color, indicating that the hot springs are close by. 

As you continue on the path, on the right-hand side, you will soon see the first hot spring pools and towards the top area you will see the waterfall and many other pools you can soak in.

Once you arrive at the hot spring pools, you may be eager to jump right in. However, I recommend walking around the various pools and testing their temperatures. 

The hot spring pools can vary in heat so you will want to pick one that is the perfect temperature for you and probably one that isn’t too crowded either!

Where do you park for Fifth Water Hot Springs?

There is parking directly at the Three Forks Trailhead. You will find many free parking spaces as well as a restroom beside the trailhead. 

In the winter, the last 1-2 miles of the road leading up to the trailhead may be closed so park at the gate closure and hike the extra 20 – 30 mins in on the flat road to the trailhead. This could likely be covered in snow depending on when you go.

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Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail Start Photos

The first two photos are from the road closure in the winter and the rest are from the Three Forks Trailhead to the hot springs.

The Best Time To Visit Fifth Water Hot Springs

There is never a bad time to visit Fifth Water Hot Springs. It’s a great place for hiking and soaking in the mineral-rich waters. Continue reading below to help you decide the best season to visit this incredible hot spring.

Summer- The summer season is the most popular time to visit Fifth Water. It’s a popular activity for tourists and locals alike because it’s a great way to spend time outdoors in the warm weather. You may think summer temperatures make it too warm for a hot soak but Utah is located at higher altitude which makes it nice soaking temps and hiking temps together pretty perfect. Fifth Water does experience the most crowds during the summer season though; this is due to longer daylight hours, more people taking vacations, and Utah’s warm temperatures during the summer months.

Fall- The autumn season is a great time to visit the hot springs because the temperatures outside are a bit more brisk which makes soaking in the hot spring pools more enjoyable. 

Winter- Fifth Water Hot Springs in winter is a lovely time to visit and personally, my favorite because the surrounding snow makes for a beautiful view, and I just love natural hot springs in combination with snow hikes. When visiting Fifth Water in the winter, make sure that you wear warm layers, gloves, and a beanie so that you stay warm during the 7.25 – 8-mile hike. It is not uncommon for the roads leading up to Fifth Water to be closed due to inclement weather which makes the hike longer. Be sure to check out the Diamond Fork Hot Springs – Fifth Water Hot Springs Facebook page to stay up to date on weather conditions and closures or call the Spanish Fork Ranger District.

Spring- Similar to fall, visiting Fifth Water Hot Springs in spring is a great time because the temperatures are not too cold and not too hot, making it the perfect time to go hiking and soak in the warm water of the hot spring pools.

Hiking Fifth Water Hot Springs in the Winter

I went on March 12, 2019, in full winter conditions. I’ve always wanted to see this milky blue hot spring in the middle of winter with full snow surrounding it – I feel like snow transforms everything into a different and magical place… and it was 100% worth it.

We parked 1.38 miles from the Three Forks trailhead at the unofficial winter trailhead. It took us 24 mins to hike to the actual trailhead on the snowy blocked-off road and we began the hike to Fifth Water at 10:55 am.

I highly recommend bringing microspikes as the trail can get icy and you don’t want to risk slipping into the creek it follows. At 11:48 am, we finally got our first glimpse of the hot springs and were there just a couple of minutes later.

Click here to shop my recommended microspikes.

There were definitely a lot of people soaking in the hot springs, but not as many as I expected. We were able to find our own tub with no problem.

Tips For Visiting Fifth Water Hot Springs Utah

  • Visit During A Weekday Or Off Season To Avoid Crowds- Fifth Water is a popular area for tourists and locals alike. The most popular time to visit the hot springs is during the summer months and on weekends. In order to have the best experience possible, consider visiting the hot spring during fall, spring, or winter! If you do plan on visiting Fifth Water Hot Springs in summer, consider visiting during a weekday to avoid the busy crowds.
  • Bring Sandals For Walking Between Hot Spring Pools or Consider Bringing Water Shoes To Wear In The Hot Springs- If you want to protect your feet from sharp rocks or debris, consider bringing some sandals or water shoes. This is a great option for making sure your feet stay safe while you move between the hot spring pools and also keeps your feet safe while walking inside the hot springs themselves.
  • Practice Leave No Trace Principles- Due to Fifth Water Hot Springs’ popularity, many visitors have left trash and have hiked off the trail. There is no garbage service here as clearly stated at the trailhead so in order to keep this environment flourishing, be sure to practice leave no trace principles so that hikers can continue to enjoy these natural waters. Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Stay Hydrated- It is easy to get dehydrated when hiking and also when soaking in warm water. Make sure that you pack plenty of water ahead of time for your adventure and that you drink plenty of water while soaking in the hot spring pools. Additionally, do not drink the water in the hot springs because of bacteria and algae. Make sure that you bring your own water bottle or water reservoir with clean water to enjoy. 

What To Bring With You To 5th Water Hot Springs

FAQs About Fifth Water Hot Springs

How hard is the hike to the Fifth Water Hot Springs?

The hike to Fifth Water Hot Springs is considered to be moderately challenging with about 600 to 700 feet in elevation gain. If you’re an active hiker though, it shouldn’t be too hard for you, but to each here own. I found the hike fairly easy.

Is it safe to swim in Fifth Water Hot Springs?

As with any other natural hot springs, you should never submerge your head under water. There may be some harmful bacteria in Fifth Water Hot Springs. It is recommended to dry off after soaking in the water, to shower once you make it back to your home, and to not drink the water. For more information and guidelines regarding the Fifth Water Hot Springs bacteria be sure to check out this website.

Is 5th Water Hot Spring Open?

If you’ve asked yourself: Is Fifth Water Hot Springs open? The best way to find out is by checking the Diamond Fork Hot Springs – Fifth Water Hot Springs Facebook page or by calling the Forest Service at 801-798-3571. Typically, the hot springs are open but sometimes after inclement weather, roads may shut down leading to the hot springs.

Final Thoughts On Fifth Water Hot Springs

Whether you are looking to go on an adventure or you are just looking for some relaxation, a trip to Fifth Water is the perfect combination and a great way to explore Utah’s outdoor scene.

Places to stay nearby

There are not too many options to pick from when it comes to staying directly outside of the mountains although there are some camping options on Diamond Fork Rd. However, there are quite a few in the surrounding areas. Check out the best ones below!

  • Budget-Friendly: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Springville/ Provo For those searching for a budget-friendly option in the nearby town of Provo, this is a great option! 
  • Mid-Range: Provo Marriot Hotel This hotel is a nice hotel located near Brigham University at a prime location for your outdoor adventures. 
  • Luxury: Sundance Resort For those searching for a more luxurious stay in the mountains, this resort is just a 58-minute drive away. The views and fresh mountain air are unbeatable.

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