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Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail (Diamond Fork Hot Springs), Utah

Fifth Water Hot Springs, also known as Diamond Fork Hot Springs, is a popular natural hot springs area located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah, about an hour away from Downtown Salt Lake City. The gorgeous riverside pools, cascading waterfall, and surrounding cliff sides are stunning, and it’s a great getaway! The hike gets your heart pumping, and then you get to relax and soak in the hot springs. This guide to the Fifth Water Hot Springs trail will tell you about the hike, and everything you need to know to enjoy the hot springs!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

About the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail

Here’s what you need to know before you hike!

Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail Stats

  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) loop
  • Elevation Gain: 636 feet (194 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: I consider myself to be an average hiker, and this trail took me 2 hours and 25 minutes, including time spent soaking. You can check out my hike on Strava!
The upper pool at Fifth Water Hot Springs, with the waterfall behind it.

Leave No Trace at Fifth Water Hot Springs

Anytime you’re outdoors, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair. This is a pretty popular hike, so it’s super important to make sure it stays open to the public and prevent damage! Check out this guide to hot springs etiquette too, and ensure a safe, happy soak for everybody!

Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you hike the Fifth Water Hot Springs trail!

  • Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, make sure you have the right gear, and bring plenty of water.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail to avoid trampling grasses and plants!
  • Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. Pack it out!
  • Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock or leaf, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the trail won’t be as pretty.
  • Minimize campfire impacts – campfires are only allowed in existing fire rings at the camping areas, as long as there isn’t a burn ban.
  • Respect wildlife – don’t approach wild animals, and never feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors – yield to other hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music. Keep noise to a minimum while you’re soaking!
The waterfall at the end of the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail.

The Best Time to Hike the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail

The best time to hike the Fifth Water hot springs trail is usually May through October.

The road to the Fifth Water Hot Springs trailhead closes in the winter, but you can park before the gate – this adds about 1.5 miles each way to the hike. Soaking in a hot pool surrounded by snow can be pretty magical, as long as you have microspikes and are prepared for winter hiking!

The trail can also still be snowy in early spring, and if the snow has melted, it’ll be very wet and muddy! Summers are the most popular time to visit the hot springs, though the trail is pretty crowded most of the year.

This hike is really popular, so I recommend going on a weekday, and starting your hike early in the morning. I hiked it close to sunset on a weekday, and even then the parking lot was full and there were a lot of people at the hot springs – people were arriving even as it was getting dark!

What to Bring to Hike the Fifth Water Hot Spring Trail

When you hike the Fifth Water Hot Spring trail, here’s what you’ll need to bring!

What to Wear to Hike to Fifth Water Hot Springs

What to Bring to Hike to Fifth Water Hot Springs

What to Bring for Camping at Fifth Water Hot Springs

There are a few campsites along the trail, so this can be a fun, easy backpacking trip!


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Directions to the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail

The trailhead for the Fifth Water Hot Spring Trail is in Diamond Fork Canyon, about an hour south of Downtown Salt Lake City. If you’re flying in for your trip, you should fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Expedia is a good way to find flights and rental cars, and I super recommend signing up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – they send you amazing deals, so you can find cheap flights. The free account is great and totally worth the few minutes it takes to sign up, and I do recommend the premium account too!

You do need a car to get to the trailhead. If you fly, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars. But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area.

To get to the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail from Salt Lake City, you’ll take I-15 south to Spanish Fork, then take US-6 E, and make a turn left onto Diamond Fork Road. The trailhead is about 10 miles in.

This trail is really popular, so it can be hard to find parking. If the parking lot is full, there are a few pullouts along the road that you can park in. Parking on the road is not allowed, and you can get a ticket, so make sure all four tires are off the pavement when you park!

Fifth Water Hot Springs Trailhead Coordinates: 40.0845242,-111.3550565

Hiking the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail Trail

Once you’ve parked and are ready to start hiking, here’s what you can expect on the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail!

Fifth Water Hot Springs Trailhead

If you’re not able to park at the trailhead, find a pullout along the road and park there – but make sure you’re completely off the road so that you don’t get a ticket. There’s a bathroom at the trailhead, and the hike starts past the fence. There’s a bridge to your right – don’t go that way! The trail continues straight.

A Climb to the Hot Springs

The trail is a pretty steady climb, but not terribly steep. The trail is well traveled and easy to follow, and you’ll be walking along Diamond Fork Creek pretty much the whole time. About a mile in, there’s a footbridge that you’ll cross, and soon after that, the trail forks. Take the upper trail – the lower one is a little washed out. But, the trails meet back up soon. As you get closer, you’ll start getting a whiff of that hot spring sulfur smell to let you know you’re almost there!

The Hot Springs and Waterfall

There are two hot pools that you’ll see first – two turquoise blue hot springs on the cliff side. If you keep going a little, you’ll get to the waterfall, and a few more pools. You can climb up to the top of the waterfall to see the pools from above, and also get in the river at the base of the falls to feel the cool water before you get in the hot springs! The pools get hotter as you go upstream, so the biggest pool closest to the waterfall is the hottest. You can also cross the river here, and there’s another pool on the other side.

Back to the Trailhead

When you’re done soaking, you’ll head back the way you came! It’s mostly downhill, and you’ll be back at the parking lot.

Where to Stay Near the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail

You can turn your hike into a little getaway, and stay somewhere close by!

Fifth Water Hot Springs Camping

There are a few primitive campsites along the trail, so you can backpack this trail instead of doing a day hike. There are also established campgrounds nearby on Diamond Fork Road, as well as free dispersed camping in the national forest.

For camping near the Fifth Water Hot Spring Trail, I recommend using The Dyrt – it’s the best way to find campsites. You can use the free version to find campsites, but with The Dyrt Pro you’ll also be able to see the boundaries of national forest land around the area. On national forest land, you can camp anywhere for free! You can try The Dyrt before you commit, and click here for a free trial.

Try the Dirt Pro

Free for 30 days

Find campsites, plan road trips, and see the boundaries of national forest land where you can camp for free!

hotels near the Fifth Water hot Springs Trail

Hotels are always an easy, convenient option, and there are plenty of hotels, motels, and inns near this trail! The closest town is Spanish Fork, but most people will probably want to stay in Salt Lake City, which is close to adventures in town and other hiking trails.

Check out the Anniversary Inn for a quaint, unique place to stay, or Le Méridiene for accommodations downtown.

For more options, check out this map of places to stay. Make sure to change the dates, and zoom out to see all of your options!

 

Cabins, Glamping, & Yurts

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins (like this cabin near the Redwoods), glamping sites, and more. 

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!

More Adventures Near the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail

Have you hiked this trail, or are you adding it to your bucket list? Let me know in a comment below!

For more adventures in Utah, I recommend Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, or Arches National Park if you’re heading towards Moab. If you love hot springs, check out this guide to the best hot springs in Nevada!

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