Back to Diamond Fork & Fifth Water Hot Springs


Ready For More
Jul 23, 2013
Eager to take my new Tarptent Notch out for its first night on the trail, I ended up selecting a very popular destination not far from home: Diamond Fork's Fifth Water Creek Hot Springs.

Day1, Tuesday - April 11, 2017

I had planned to leave earlier in the evening when there would have been just enough day light to make the hike and set up camp before it got dark. That didn't happen, but being familiar with the trail and the fact that there would be a full moon, was not discouraged and went for it anyways.

When I arrived at the trailhead, I was shocked to find how full it was. It was dark and in the middle of the week and there was still nearly a couple dozen cars in the lot. I managed to find a space though and began the hike, wondering if any sites in the area I had hoped to camp would still be available, or if they'd all be taken. With only about two miles to go, I'd soon find out.

Fortunately, I found that vacant sites were plentiful. Only two were occupied. Others were just there for a late night at the hot springs while others were already making their way down as I was hiking up.

I selected a cozy little spot and settled in for the night. Not feeling the need for a big fire as a solo camper, I took up a silverware caddy from IKEA made of thin stainless steel that I used for a small fire container burning just a few handfuls of sticks and twigs. I made a late dinner and then got into bed for the night, or so I thought.

Fire in a caddy



Not long after getting all bundled up in bed, the moon popped out above the ridge above and so of course, I in turn popped out of my tent to take a few pictures. It's always incredible how bright a full moon can light up the earth under a clear sky. Even back in my tent with its fly on, there was so much ambient light that it was a little difficult to fall asleep.

Full moon over camp

Full moon through the trees

Full moon

Day 2, Wednesday - April 12, 2017

The next morning I awoke and headed up trail a short distance to grab some pictures of the hot springs, falls, and vicinity before the sun's harsh light and any approaching crowds filled in.

Fifth Water Creek

Fifth Water Creek

Fifth Water Creek

Fifth Water Creek Lower Falls

Fifth Water Creek Lower Falls and Hot Springs

Fifth Water Creek Lower Falls

Fifth Water Creek Upper Hot Springs

Fifth Water Creek Upper Falls

Fifth Water Creek Upper Falls

Fifth Water Creek Trail

Back down at Fifth Water Creek Lower Falls and Springs

Fifth Water Creek and Hot Springs

Fifth Water Creek and Hot Springs with lower falls in the background

Fifth Water Pool

Hungry and satisfied with my picture run, I returned to camp to cook up some breakfast and hot chocolate. With the clear skies, the temperature had grown quite cold through the evening and a hot breakfast was in order.

Camp along Fifth Water Creek

Waiting for breakfast

With a happy stomach and the sun now reaching over the horizon, I threw on my swimsuit and headed back up to the springs to soak in the hot pools for bit. Somehow I managed to get all of the pools all to myself.

Soaking in a pool

Xero Shoes DIY Huaraches

After a good soak in a few of the pools, I returned to camp to pack up and head back down trail. As expected, the crowds were now parading up. On my way down, temperatures had climbed high enough that a dip in the cold water would have felt almost as nice as the warmer water did earlier in the colder morning.

Sixth Water Creek

Trail along Sixth Water Creek

Small arch

After a short while, I was back at my car at the trailhead where I unloaded and got going back down the road. Just a few minutes back down the road, I pulled over for a little bit of exploring in the Red Ledges Picnic Area. It's pretty amazing that in the Wasatch Mountains, known more for their alpine environments, there are still little pockets of exposed red sandstone formations, features you only expect to see in the central and southern parts of the state. Red Ledges is one of those little pockets complete with an arch.

Red Ledges Arch

Starburst through Red Ledges Arch

Starburst through Red Ledges Arch

Back side of Red Ledges Arch

Red Ledges Picnic Area

Red Ledges Picnic Area

Red Ledges Picnic Area

Above Red Ledges Picnic Area

Diamond Fork from Red Ledges Picnic Area

It was now time to get back home for the afternoon and once again I reflected on how fortunate I am to have the job I have that allows me to live where I live, where access to such a diversity of trails, landscapes, geology, and beautiful backcountry destinations are all within a half hour drive from home.

P.S. - I had hoped to find a carving of a sun while up at Red Ledges but failed to find it. It wasn't until a return a few weeks later with the family that I found it (there is also a moon to the right of it):



Good stuff Will. I'm always shocked at how crazy popular those hot springs are. You were lucky to have them all to yourself that morning.

Great pics, too.
Amazing. I actually thought this was the other forum I am in - "High Sierra Topix" and got excited. I was like "wait, I don't remember these hot springs... Need to visit them in August... "

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
If you are ever near Aspen, you should check out Conundrum hot springs up Conundrum Creek @ 11,200'. 9 miles each way, but worth it.
Looks great -- last time I was there, the water was so low, the pools were half empty and the water uncomfortably hot.

Did you camp above the lower falls? I've wanted to take my kids camping there. I expect Friday or Saturday night would be more crowded, but we might give it a shot this weekend.
If you are ever near Aspen, you should check out Conundrum hot springs up Conundrum Creek @ 11,200'. 9 miles each way, but worth it.

Yes, I've seen pictures of them. Also sounds like they can fill up with crowds too at times but they do look and sound nice!
Looks great -- last time I was there, the water was so low, the pools were half empty and the water uncomfortably hot.

Did you camp above the lower falls? I've wanted to take my kids camping there. I expect Friday or Saturday night would be more crowded, but we might give it a shot this weekend.

I camped at a small site downstream from the lower falls. There's actually quite a number of sites both below and above all the falls and pools. If worried about all the sites along the creek being taken due to it being a weekend (which even then would be hard for me to imagine with how many there actually are), I'd actually just plan to drive up to upper trailhead where parking should be less congested and hike downstream and just before you reach the upper falls, go northward off trail away from the creek and there's lots of potential spots to pitch a small tent or two throughout that area, and tons more options for hanging hammocks.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
blueeyes Few Questions for Diamond Fork area. Trip Planning 4
pstm13 Black Diamond Revolt Battery Charging Hack Gear 4
uintahiker Black Diamond Returns Gear 0
regehr (Uintas) Lake Fork Fun Backpacking 8
RockyMntCol Trip Planning Younts Peak / South Fork Yellowstone Trip Planning 12
J Pacific Creek or North Buffalo Fork? Teton Wilderness, Thorofare ,etc. Trip Planning 10
travel2walk Gros Ventre Wilderness: Granite Creek, West Fork Crystal Creek, Crystal Creek, & Swift Creek - June 2021 Backpacking 8
wsp_scott Big South Fork Bikepacking Backpacking 1
RyanP The Plug exit of Pictograph Fork (Maze) Trip Planning 15
BJett Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area Packraft/Backpack Loop (TN) Backpacking 6
wsp_scott Honey Creek (Big South Fork) Backpacking 9
regehr Wilson Fork, Millcreek, Wasatch Hiking & Camping 1
Perry Henry's Fork Basin - Camp Site Suggestions Trip Planning 3
A Wind Rivers: Clear Lake, Faler Lake and Roaring Fork General Discussion 7
scatman Grandeur and Church Fork Peaks Loop - May 29, 2021 Hiking & Camping 19
RyanP North Fork Bull Lake Creek Trip Planning 35
wsp_scott Big South Fork Views Backpacking 14
scatman Church Fork Peak - November 28, 2020 Hiking & Camping 2
scatman Broads Fork Twin Peaks - July 14, 2020 Hiking & Camping 20
U Favorite sites in Glacier in North Fork, Lake McDonald or Cole/Nyack? Looking at mid july Trip Planning 2
scatman Mount Raymond via Bowman Fork - June 27, 2020 Hiking & Camping 6
K Floating down South Fork of the Snake (ID) Trip Planning 1
Dhuff3243 North Fork Robbers Roost and Blarney canyon Trip Planning 0
P West fork of Salt Creek? Trip Planning 4
F Coyote Gulch via Dry Fork? Trip Planning 2
Ross Anyone want to do East Fork Fat Man's Misery-Barracks-Labyrinth Falls Oct 15 (tues) Trip Planning 0
J How is the dirt road to the East Fork of Blacks Fork TH? Trip Planning 1
DrNed Cell service in American Fork Canyon will be a reality by 2020 General Discussion 13
Perry Middle Fork Blacks Fork Ridge Way Trail - Does It Exist? Hiking & Camping 5
Ross Invite Boundary/Kolob/Narrows & East Fork Fat Man’s/Labyrinth Falls (Oct) Meet Up (Members Only) 4
fossana Grand Gulch Pt 1 - Slickhorn 3rd to Trail Fork loop Hiking & Camping 6
Windy Middle Fork Salmon 2018 On The Water 9
DrNed Red Castle Kings Peak Henry's Fork Take Two Backpacking 8
Born to Hike Windriver 36 mile loop: Skull Lake, Washakie Pass, South Fork Lakes, Lizard Head Trail, The Cirque, Big Sandy Lake Backpacking 6
McKee80 Glacier NP, part 2. North Fork, Sept 2018 Backpacking 11
regehr Mill B North Fork Hiking & Camping 6
scatman Broads Fork Twin Peaks, Robinson's Variation - September 29, 2018 Hiking & Camping 14
Miya Stuart Fork TH Again Backpacking 6
DrNed Upper Henry's Fork Lakes Trip Planning 1
George_Washington_Hayduke White Roost Canyons (east and west forks) & North Fork of Robbers Roost Canyon Canyoneering 3
Tystevens Henry's Fork -- Red Castle loop from China Meadows Backpacking 2
Jackson Southern Absarokas - Cub Creek and South Buffalo Fork Backpacking 9
wsp_scott Packrafting the Big South Fork (KY) On The Water 7
George_Washington_Hayduke Zero G & Right Fork Of Leprechaun Canyon Canyoneering 2
Perry West Fork Blacks Fork River Crossing 2017 Trip Planning 9
regehr Three of the Four American Fork Twin Peaks Hiking & Camping 10
cmgz Right Fork-Zion NP Canyoneering 5
Jmr Davis to Trail Fork Trip Planning 0
WasatchWill UHT - Day 5: West Fork Black Fork to Olga Lake Backpacking 2
George_Washington_Hayduke Dirty Devil Bikerafting Canyoneeering Loop: S. Fork Robbers Roost to No Mans Canyon On The Water 0

Similar threads