Exploring Utah’s Diamond Fork (Fifth Water) Hot Springs
Getting to the Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trailhead
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.
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 at the hot springs and have them all to yourself.
The Diamond Fork Hot Springs Trail
Looking back on the trail next to Sixth Water Creek
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 cobalt-like blue, a sign that you are close.
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. Here is the gear we recommend at a minimum that you wear for hiking to Diamond Fork Hot Springs in the winter:
- Sturdy boots (Women’s / Men’s)
- Hiking Pants (Women’s Tights / Men’s Pants)
- A warm jacket (Women’s / Men’s)
- A small lightweight towel
- A beanie is a smart idea to keep your body heat from releasing and can be nice if you have wet hair on the hike back.
- Ladies, I recommend wearing your suit under your clothes and bringing a bra and pair of undies to change into afterward.
- 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.