I was introduced last week to an interesting location called Fifth Waters. Its a hot spring found in the Wasatch mountains out in Spanish Fork Canyon off of High Way 6. Its about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City making it a little out of the way, but not far enough away to really deter you. As you drive up the canyon there will be a turn off on your left with a sign that says Diamond C.G turn left there and drive up Diamond Canyon. The trail head is about 11 miles up the road and takes a long time to get too. I at first thought I had passed it, but about when you get this feeling is when you will probably arrive. There is a sign and a pull off that says Fifth Waters, making it hard to miss. Another way to tell would be all the cars, because its a popular hiking destination for locals.
The hike begins relatively flat and takes you back up the mountain next to a creek. The hike is long, a lot longer then I expected, and takes you through a series of rises and falls and over a bridge. The hike is not terribly strenuous but it definitely requires 2-3 16 ounce water bottles (gauge this off your known water consumption) because it’s in the sun for the 2.5 mile hike (5 miles total). As you begin getting close, you’re hit in the face by the aroma of sulfur. Its not long after that, that the trail takes you around a corner and thus you arrive at the hot springs.
The 100 yard stretch of earth is dotted with man made and natural pools perfect for sitting in and relaxing. A large 20 foot waterfall covered in moss is the the upper most section of the springs. Most of the pictures that come out of here are quite ugly but over all this is a really pretty area. At the base of the waterfall and through out the area, there are springs of water that are bubble out of the ground that are blazing hot, but as they mix with the stream water, it becomes very pleasant.
At this point, it was time to dress down a little and enjoy the hot springs. We ventured up to one of the larger pools near the waterfall to go and relax in. When you first step into the water it is quite surprising because it is hot, really hot. But once you lay down in the water you experience a cool phenomenon. The hot water is less dense and moves to the surface but the bottom 6 inches of water is cool and refreshing. Once you lay down in it, it mixes and it feels like you are sitting in a hot tub in the mountains.
The word on the street is that people frequently come here and go skinny dipping. I hear mixed reports that its legal, but now that I have been, I totally would if it was just me. Its also a great location if you were to bring a date.
After doing some R&R we discovered that the waterfall has a cavity behind it, and not only that, you can poke your upper body out through a hole in the slimy rock moss and come right out of the waterfall. (don’t jump through, you will probably end up going to the hospital) After freezing in the cold mountain water I jumped back into one of the pools or toasty warm water and enjoyed a few more minutes of rest and relaxation.