A Guide to Utah’s Diamond Fork Hot Springs

Hike out to Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah for an unforgettable soak in these glacier-blue mineral pools

I’m a total sucker for a good hot springs soak, especially in the winter. Being able to get outside and breathe in that crisp, cool air while loosening up those tight muscles does wonders for the soul.

During a winter visit to Salt Lake City before I lived here, I was super excited when a friend suggested that we visit Diamond Fork Hot Springs, also known as Fifth Water Hot Springs. Multiple pools with enticing blue water, a stunning canyon encompassed by red rock cliffs, and a lovely riverside hike to boot? Ok, twist my arm. Spoiler alert, it did not disappoint.

Here’s everything you need to know about enjoying Diamond Fork Hot Springs (Fifth Water Hot Springs) in Utah.

Important Reminder: As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please follow the Leave No Trace Principles. This means packing out all of your garbage (including toilet paper), being respectful to others on busy trails, and following the established rules. Please also be respectful to fellow bathers and know proper hot springs etiquette.

Getting to the Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trailhead

The Diamond Fork Hot Springs trailhead is located about an hour’s drive from downtown Salt Lake, with the last 10 miles being on a well-maintained dirt road.

From Salt Lake City, head south on 1-15 until you reach the town of Spanish Fork. Once in Spanish Fork, take exit 257 to get on the US-6E. Drive for 11 miles and take a left at mile marker 184 onto Diamond Fork Road. Follow this road for 10 miles until you reach the signed trailhead parking lot on the right.

In December when I visited, the road was open and clear of snow. However, once a major storm hits and road conditions get sketchy, the Forest Service does close the last 6 miles to vehicles. So be sure to check with the Forest Service about road conditions before you head out or call (801) 798-3571. If it’s January or February and you can’t reach anyone at that Forest Service number, it’s probably safe to say that the road is closed.

If you find that the road is closed, that doesn’t mean you are totally out of luck. If you are up for a little added adventure, park where the road closure begins and then fat bike or cross-country ski to the trailhead, rather than walk. While visiting during a road closure adds significant miles to the human-powered distance you must cover, it will be more than worth it when you arrive at the hot springs and have them all to yourself!

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Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trail Stats

  • Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 636 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on leash
  • Trailhead Start: Fifth Water Hot Springs Trailhead

Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trail Guide

Once you are at the trailhead, it’s a quick 2.5 miles to the hot springs with a gradual 700 feet of elevation gain. The trail is very easy to follow with the first half hugging the left side of Sixth Water Creek.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

Just over one mile in, you reach a footbridge that crosses Sixth Water Creek. Here you go over the bridge and continue up the left side of a smaller tributary called Fifth Water Creek. Soon, you’ll start getting the occasional whiff of sulfur as you approach the springs. The water also begins to turn a glacier blue, a sign that you are close.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

Continue traveling up until you reach a series of gorgeous and obvious soaking pools. It took us one hour to get from the trailhead to the springs and when we arrived, I couldn’t believe the variety of colors from a milky blue to a translucent green. Some of the pools reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen of the dreamy Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

Just beyond the first pools, there is a lovely waterfall with several more tubs. The waterfall marks the end of the trail.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

Once you are there, you are going to be so pumped to hop in. But first, I suggest walking around to check out your options. There are a ton of different rock pools that have been built up and you may find that the temperature varies between them. Some may also be occupied, as this is a pretty popular spot, especially on weekends. After sampling them all, we decided on the lower pools since we found these to be the most scenic.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

The water temps were ideal for unwinding after a winter hike. We relaxed in the springs for over an hour until the sun dropped behind the canyon’s cliffs, at which point we decided it was time to head back.

Tips for Your Visit to Diamond Fork Hot Springs

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

Visit during the week

If possible, visit Diamond Fork Hot Springs during the week when they are less likely to be busy. If you can only visit on the weekend, go early or late in the day, or be prepared to kindly share with other hot spring enthusiasts. There are also a few places to camp along the trail if you want to go for a late-night dip. If you need to brush up on your hot spring etiquette, check out this post.

Be prepared for winter weather

We saw a few people on the trail who looked extremely unprepared for hiking in the winter. They were hiking with nothing but swim trunks, a t-shirt, towel, and flip-flops. Guaranteed after getting out of the hot springs, that walk back to the parking lot was going to be freezing and miserable. Don’t make this mistake. Here is the gear we recommend at a minimum that you wear for hiking to Diamond Fork Hot Springs in the winter:

Wear a swimsuit

While nudity at Diamond Fork does happen, nudity is actually against the law, and there are reports of this being enforced.

Bring traction cleats

In winter, the trail does get pretty icy, even with a good pair of hiking boots. I recommend getting a cheap pair of traction cleats that can slip over your boots. These will help stabilize your footing when waking on any icy surfaces.

Follow Leave No Trace Guidelines

Please don’t litter! It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep this special place clean. If you’re not already familiar, learn the basic rules of Leave No Trace. You can go a step further by picking up any pieces of trash you find and packing them out.

Have you been to Diamond Forks Hot Springs in Utah? How was your experience? Leave us a comment below.

Use this guide to plan your trip out to the amazing Diamond Fork Hot Springs in Utah including how to get there, what to bring, and more.

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  1. Worth pointing out that this winter (2014-2015) was pretty unusual in that the road was open more often than it was closed due to freakishly dry, warm winter we had in N. Utah. Most winters you can pretty much expect the winter gate to be closed starting with the first major snowfall, and will likely remain closed until early spring. I’ve done it as a long winter hike when the road’s closed, it’s about 11 miles and does make for a long day, but the trade-off is that there are definitely guaranteed to be fewer people there. Second the advice about calling ahead to the Forest Service office when in doubt.

    P.S. – just discovered your blog- so much great stuff here- it’s kind of rare to find something that strikes a balance between featuring amazing, inspiring places but still being accessible for average hikers and not totally over-the-top aspirational/above the comfort/skill level of most people- plus with great photos/overall design! Adding this one to my feed and many of these to my must-hike lists 😉

    1. Elaine – Thanks for the super useful info on Diamond Fork. And your comment about my blog means so much! That is the tone I am going for here, so it’s always nice to hear when it comes across that way. If there ever any topics you want to see covered on here, just let me know. Thanks again! -Kristen

  2. Question….my SIL wants to bring his scouts on a hike where they can camp. Is there anywhere close to this for camping?

  3. I’ve heard of the Diamond Fork hot springs before, but never been! I always get in my mind the scene from the old movie Dante’s Peak with the teenage couple in the hot springs and then the body floating up in the water next to them. The idea creeps me out! However, reading this article, I actually really want to try it out now. These are actually less than an hour from me, and the hike looks beautiful, too! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. haha….Veronica – you gotta go! Soaking in natural hot springs are one of my favorite outdoor activities (especially in winter). Diamond Fork is very nice – busy on the weekends – but totally worth the trip. The hike is also relatively easy if you go before the road closes. I hope you go and come back and tell me about it. -Kristen

  4. Do you know of anywhere good to camp in the winter that would still be accessible to the trail without being far from the car?

    1. It depends if the road is closed. There is a place to camp right along the trail….but if the road is closed that will be a bit of a trek from your car. I think there is also a campsite along the raod, but I’m not sure how far it is from where the road closes.

  5. Used your guide to find the TH this past weekend and it worked out great, thanks! Unfortunately the gate was closed so it was a 13 mile hike for us. However, the hike up the road was absolutely gorgeous. It is so relaxing to just enjoy walking up the road at a leisurely pace with no cars. When we finally reached the trailhead (4 miles up the road) we were a little confused at first, on which way to go. Make sure you stay straight and don’t cross over that first bridge (a few other people made this same mistake). Straight past the bathroom takes you to the trail.

    Thanks for the info and great pictures 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for the super useful and detailed post! I’m housesitting in Salt Lake City for 3 months and am looking for adventures just like this one! Definitely going to head down there soon. Your photos are beautiful too by the way!!

  7. I am trying to work out if it is likely to be able to get to this location from about 17 February onwards? If anyone can offer suggestions.

  8. Has anyone been up recently? We’re going to brave the rain tomorrow and are wondering if the gate is open?

    1. Thanks Kristy, for your question! From the gate it is 3.8 miles to the trailhead, depending on weather conditions you could hike this. We don’t recommend going around the gate with a wheeled-vehicle as there is a reason they close it in winter months.

  9. Random question, but do you think I can get a 30 foot RV up the dirt road to the trail head at diamond Springs?

  10. hi, my boyfriend and i want to visit the Diamond Fork Hot Springs, but we are not trained hikers, to say the list.. so we would like to know how many mils is the way? was it difficult ?

  11. I am thinking about going to the hot springs but I would like to camp. Do you know if that is allowed? There are campgrounds close, but it would be awesome to set up a tent close to the springs. If thats allowed what are the rules about fires?

  12. I’m guessing I’d have to call the Forest Service number to know the answer, but I keep reading on other blogs that we would need a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We’ll be coming from out of town in January, so we planned on renting out a regular Sedan since we’ll be on a budget. Do you think it will it still be ok driving there without a 4 wheel drive vehicle?

    1. Hello Janeane! Great question. The trail is well traveled but you should have a map and details on the route, don’t rely on trail markings or signs.

  13. I’ve been to Diamond Fork Hot Springs twice now in each time it seemed like there was something there besides ourselves I was just wondering if anybody else ever felt that? I’m not a superstitious person and I don’t go around looking for Spiritual type of happenings but it was interesting to me how both times my daughter and I felt I guess I’ll say a presents. Any thoughts?? This feeling was on the hike to and fro not necessarily at the hot springs at self.

    1. Yes this is apparently very common for this hike as well as other places in Utah. My friend had an experience here like that years ago, but they went at night. Im going tomorrow morning for the first time Wish me luck.

  14. I’m visiting FiFth Water next week. Any other must do hikes with waterfalls and hot springs in that area or in that region

    1. Hi Alanson, the road to the hot springs receives snow in the winter so always be sure to check current road conditions.

  15. Hi! Thanks for this awesome blog! Do you know if dogs are allowed on this trail? I couldn’t tell from the park website. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen – I believe dogs are allowed on leash on this trail. As a general hot spring courtesy & for temperature safety, dogs are not allowed IN the hot springs. Enjoy your hike!

  16. Visited Aug23 on a Saturday, started at 11am. Note that Uber does not have this listed correctly in their app. The driver took me to Diamond Forks apartments (even though it said “hot springs” in the app) and we had to use Google Maps to find the trailhead. There is limited parking and a port-a-potty at the trailhead. The path starts at the back of the parking lot – ignore the pseudo-path near the road. Also, there was no Verizon signal at the trailhead so I had to hitch a ride back. As a 65 year old man in decent condition, it took me 1.25 hours to hike to the pools and 1 hour back. I was told there are pools beyond the waterfall but I didn’t check. Everyone wore swimsuits and behaved. Going there was somewhat strenuous but coming back was downhill and easier. There are several potentially dangerous areas – the edge of the trail is steep to the river and the path is narrow. There is a rope to hold for one area and wooden posts for other areas.

  17. Diamond Fork Hot Springs are a hidden gem! The directions were accurate, and the 2.5-mile hike was easy, offering breathtaking views of Sixth Water Creek. The pools were stunning, ranging from milky blue to translucent green. Visiting on weekdays is ideal to avoid crowds. Be prepared for winter weather with proper gear and follow Leave No Trace principles. Have you been? Share your experience!

    1. Planning on making the hike tomorrow weather forecasts say 40-90% chance off percipatation. My husband argues it will be snow. Either way I’m excited. Hot springs in the snow ahhhh!!! My fav winter activity. If the hubby is insistent to freeze in a tent I want my hot springs. I hear this is a visually stunning spot to so excited can’t wait I’ll up date on how the weather ends up being once we head home.