Fifth Water Hot Springs


Aug 9, 2007
I recently had the pleasure of my first visit to the famous Fifth Water hot springs. We had tried to do the hike a week earlier, but thanks to crappy trail guides I found online, we had to come back. The sources I found on the web indicated that with 4WD you can drive all the way to the trailhead in the winter but that is definitely not the case. The road is gated about 4 miles shy of the trailhead making it around a 12 mile round trip hike. That wasn't going to work with our 12:30 arrival, so we made plans to come back.

For our return, we planned ahead and got @Ndheiner to bring out his snowmobile. He didn't have a trailer for it but it was well worth $50 to rent one for the day. It was large enough that all three of us (@colefeet) plus my dog Sage could fit, but we decided to have a little fun on the way in the form of an inflatable pool toy and a rope.


@colefeet riding the tube with Sage running as fast as she could.


The back of my head. I actually gave up my camera for much of the ride!

Loving that clean mountain air!

My turn to ride the tube. I tried to hang on to Sage and the rope. It didn't work all that well.

The crew at the trailhead.

Sixth Water



We met a guy with some hounds with big radio collars on. He pointed out that we were following a long trail of blood and mountain lion tracks up the trail. It was at least a mile long of just light blood springles along the way. About half way up the Fifth Water segment, the tracks hopped off the trail and crossed the river. Wild!






Nate checking the temp.



The whole crew - dog and all!

Despite having the snowmobile, we didn't leave ourselves enough time to soak. We stayed as long as we could and raced out to get the trailer back in time. Hell of a good hike though.


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Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Jan 4, 2014
Yeah that gate being closed is not highly advertised. I was there almost a month ago now, and we ended up getting to the car right as headlamps would have been needed. It made for quite the unexpected trek.

Your little poke to post trip reports got me thinking about posting my trip and then here is yours! Small world.

Great pictures and I can't get over your dog. She's cute and looks like an outdoor trooper!


Aug 9, 2007
Thanks, Scott. She is a trooper alright. I was a little worried how she would do at the hot springs but she just hung out and walked the wall out to that rock occasionally to say hello. I just took her on her first backpacking trip in Escalante and I am quite sure she ran at least 50 miles in those three days and never seemed to get tired.


Dec 11, 2013
Very cool. I could be wrong (it was dark when I went), but I think there are 2 pools that are even hotter up above. Did sage drink any of the water? We tried to keep my dog from drinking the water, but after the trip he still smelled like sulphur, so we know he drank at least a little bit. :facepalm:


Aug 9, 2007
Yep, you are right. There are two pools above the falls. Right now there is no cold water coming down from above so they are super hot but @Cody told me over the weekend that the trick is to just stop the hot water flow and let them cool down a bit before hopping in.

Amazingly Sage did not drink any of the water and she smelled just fine afterward! :)


Jan 17, 2012
You didn't see the pics that didn't make the trip report @baltocharlie! j/k

There are probably a dozen of obvious and not-so obvious pools with varying temperatures. The two main ones you see us soaking in were definitely man-made and had a system of pvc pipes connecting the two that were plugged by a rock and towel. We accidentally knocked this rock off the bottom and drained one on accident.

Also, there was a shallow pool right below the waterfall that was easy 120' that could have been blended differently depending on your preference or for hard boiling eggs.

Take a moment to investigate options before soaking, there are varying temperatures of semi-deep tubs in the river as well where you could find a spot to satisfy even on busy days. My recommendation is to go during the week, and allow plenty of time to find that perfect spot! its there, so don't settle for 95'..

Note--There is a sulfur smell from the water that i thought was going to be overwhelming, but once i dropped in and cracked a brew, i didn't notice it again until i got home and showered. Bring a small garbage sack and help pick up after our fellow soakers.


Jan 31, 2014
Thanks for posting, can't believe I'd never heard of this place. And I've camped up Diamond Fork road a few times, where it sounds like it is! Have to check it out sometime.
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