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This Epic Utah Hot Spring & Hike is An Hour from Salt Lake City

Fifth Water Hot Springs is one of the few and far between free Utah ski-area escapes with a luxurious twist.

By: Erica Allaby + Save to a List

Uinta National Forest near Spanish Fork is home of the magical Fifth Water Hot Springs. The hike from trailhead round trip is around 4.5 miles - with the springs as the half way turn around point. A rather mild hike, I crossed paths with people in sandals and style boots. You'll definitely get your workout in if you keep the pace up and will be rewarded with the baths as an epic break. My only regret was not coming equipped with a pack of beers to sip on while I soaked. 

You'll know you're near when you start to smell the sulfur seeping up from the spring that winds along the side of the trail. I pit stopped a few times to dip my fingers in the water to test the temp but it was a longer stretch to follow after the smell starts. You'll pass by incredible water falls and flowing pools filled with an opaque, turquoise water. Keep trekking on until you find a multi-layer pool system ranging from an emerald green to a smoky blue lined with stone walls to keep the water still and deep. While not the only Utah Hot Springs around, Fifth Water will leave you breathless - and not just because you’ve been hiking.

When to go:

Make the voyage in the earlier morning or evening time for optimal temperatures and smaller crowds. In terms of season, I ventured to the hot springs in October when the temp hovered around 50 outside and the pools ran hot. The foliage shimmered in the sunshine along side the river. 

What to expect: 

A mild 4.5 mile hike round trip with a rewarding and refreshing twist. Free hot springs planted amidst the mountain tops.

What to bring:

Hike in your bathing suit for easier access and be sure to bring a towel. I stopped at a Walmart on the way to grab one, thank goodness because the trek down would have been a huge bummer had I not. Stuff some bandaids in your pack just in case while you're at it. The warm water soaks and softens your feet making blisters more likely as you hike down hill.

Planning on hanging around awhile? Carry a (3.2% ABW) case of beers with you. Yep, it’s Utah, remember?


Watch out for nudists. 

All and all this epic Utah hot spring had me swooning. After all, what’s better than a natural (and free) spa? Five stars, would go again.

This post was originally published on Tales of Exploration and is re-shared with permission.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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