A Guide to Utah’s Diamond Fork Hot Springs

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Exploring Utah’s Diamond Fork (Fifth Water) Hot Springs

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.
So during my December visit to Salt Lake City, I was super excited when a friend suggested that we visit Diamond Fork 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.
The Diamond Fork Hot Springs trailhead is located about an hour drive from downtown Salt Lake, with the last 10 miles being on a well-maintained dirt road.
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.
The trail leading to Diamond Fork Hot SpringsLooking back on the trail next to Sixth Water Creek
HIking guide to Diamond Fork Hot Springs

Just over one mile in, you reach a foot bridge 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 cobalt-like blue, a sign that you are close.

Hiking guide to Diamond Fork Hot Springs
Diamond Fork Hot Springs hiking guide
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.
Utah's Diamond Fork Hot Springs
Just beyond the first pools, there is a lovely waterfall with several more tubs. The waterfall marks the end of the trail.
Waterfall at Utah's Diamond Fork Hot Springs
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.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs
Diamond Fork Hot Springs
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.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs
Diamond Fork Hot Springs

Tips for your visit to Diamond Fork Hot Springs

  • 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.
  • 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. If you hike to Diamond Fork in the winter, at a minimum, wear sturdy boots, pants, and a warm jacket, along with a towel. Ladies, I recommend wearing your suit under your clothes and bringing a bra and pair of undies to change into afterwards.
  • While nudity at Diamond Fork does happen, it’s actually against the law, and there are reports of this being enforced. So strip at your own risk.
  • 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.
  • Please don’t litter! It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep this special place clean. You can go a step further by picking up any pieces of trash you find and packing them out.

Getting to the Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trailhead

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 we 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 by calling (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 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 to the hot springs and have them all to yourself.

Where are your favorite hot springs?

For more natural hot tubbin’ inspiration, visit my Pinterest board below!

Follow Bearfoot Theory I Kristen Bor’s board HOT SPRINGIN’ on Pinterest.

There are 33 comments on this post.

About the author

Hi! I'm Kristen....blogger, hiker, sunset-watcher, and dance floor shredder. I feel most alive in the outdoors and created this website to help you enjoy the best that the West has to offer.

33 Comments on “A Guide to Utah’s Diamond Fork Hot Springs

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  1. I LOVE this hike! I have done it two of the three visits I’ve made to SLC. Did you climb in and stick your head out of the hole in the waterfall? Ha ha!

      Sadly…no. I did not do that. But guess that gives me reason to go back! 🙂 Thanks for adding to the discussion!

    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 😉

      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

    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!

      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

    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?

      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.

    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 🙂

      Thanks for adding the details about that first bridge. I should probably update the post. Thanks and glad you enjoyed them!

    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!!

      Sweet! You’re gonna love it here. And make sure to search my other Utah posts. Lots of good trail suggestions for ya!

    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.

      If you call the ranger number in the post, it will tell you whether the road is open. Every year will be different depending on snow pack.

    I have never seen bikes on the trail. Are they allowed?

      We saw bikes on the trail last time we were there, so I believe they are allowed.

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

      If you call the number in the post, they should tell you whether the gate is open.

    Hi I was wondering if the road is closed during winter months. Is there a way to get around gate on 4wheeler?

      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.

        The road is not plowed, so even with 4wd you wouldn’t make it back there. The road is managed by the Forest Service and there’s no way around the gate.

    Hello Kristen,

    I was wondering if there’s any information about admission fees.

    Thank you!

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

      I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a problem, but you should call the rangers station to ask. It’s been a while since I was out there. -Kristen

    Is it fun in the summer time

      Esther, they are awesome year round! Hope you enjoy your trip!- Kim

    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 ?

      Hello! It is 2.5 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain.

        We r head there in about 2 weeks is it good for strollers

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