Also known as Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Fifth Water is a classic Wasatch hike to a beautiful natural hot spring featuring deep soaking pools, majestic waterfalls, and fantastic mountain scenery. For most of the year, the hike is an easy 4.6-miles round trip. During the winter, the hike may be up to 13.2 miles round trip due to seasonal road closures.
The hike to Fifth Water Hot Springs begins at the Three Forks Trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon (40.084503,-111.355119). To reach the trailhead from I-15 in Spanish Fork, Utah:
The road to the trailhead is paved but is rarely plowed in the winter so 4WD may be required after storms. The final 3.8 miles to the trailhead is often gated shut during the winter months. There is a parking area near the winter gate at 40.076415,-111.418188. You may hike, snowshoe, cross country ski, or snowmobile the remaining distance down the road to get to the Three Forks Trailhead. This adds a considerable distance to the hike so be sure to allow enough time for a safe return.
- Drive 10.9 miles east on Highway 6.
- Turn left onto Forest Road 29 with signs for Diamond Fork.
- Continue 9.8 miles to the signed Three Forks Trailhead parking area.
From the Three Forks Trailhead, begin hiking on the trail that starts at the south end of the parking area. You will quickly encounter a junction with a trail that crosses the river on a footbridge. Continue hiking straight on the east side of the river.
For the first mile or so, the trail follows along Sixth Water Creek. The river is often strong and swift with steep drops near the trail, so be careful with little ones. After 1.1 miles, the trail crosses Sixth Water Creek and begins climbing up a side canyon that contains Fifth Water Creek and the hot springs.
The creek in Fifth Water is much smaller than Sixth Water. You’ll likely smell the sulfur and see steam rising from the water well before arriving at the hot springs. The distance from the Sixth Water Bridge to the hot springs is approximately 1.2 miles.
Man-made soaking pools at Fifth Water Hot Springs
Once at the hot springs, those wishing to go for a soak can take their pick of at least a dozen or so possible soaking pots. Most of these pots are man-made with stacked rocks and mortar. The hottest springs are located near the waterfall at the top of the soaking pots. At least two more pots are located upstream from the waterfall, however they may be too hot to soak in. The water at the source of the hot spring near the upper pools is approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hot springs receive considerable traffic and litter has become quite a problem. Be sure to pack in a trash bag for your own trash and pickup anything you find while you are there. Don’t bring glass containers near the springs.
Permits & Regulations
Skinny dipping is not advised. While nudity is technically allowed in the national forest, there has been at least one incident of skinny dippers getting arrested by Utah County law enforcement because it is prohibited in the county. The offenders went through a terrible process that included fighting charges that would permanently label them as sex offenders. Additionally, this area is frequented by families.
Trash is becoming a big problem at Fifth Water Hot Springs. Pack out everything you pack in and plan to bring a trash bag in order to pick up after others.