This Western State Hiking Trail Offers Scenic Waterfalls And Tranquilizing Hot Springs

Hiking is a beautiful venture to embark on and often has rewarding views. Some trails, however, offer the exciting opportunity to get your hiking and swimming fix all in the same day. One such route is the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail near Mapleton, Utah. It leads to some beautiful waterfalls and geothermal pools, also known as the Diamond Fork Hot Springs, which make for a glorious area for swimming and relaxing. This trail isn't too difficult if you hike it in the warmer months, making it a great option for just about anyone who wants to go for an extended hike, no matter their skill level.

The trail and hot springs are open year-round, just be sure to pack for winter hiking and bring spikes since the trail can get super icy and therefore, significantly more difficult. However, reaching the springs can be extremely rewarding for those willing to brave the cold before soaking in the warm water. In the summer, be sure to pack extra water because it can get as hot as 105 Fahrenheit during your hike, and bring plenty of bug spray. Temperatures vary between the pools, so you can explore which level of heat feels best for you. 

What to expect on your hike

The in-and-back trail is about 4.5 miles in total and takes an average of two hours to complete. As you approach the water, you might notice the unpleasant smell of sulfur in the air. The water is full of the mineral, but it's not anything to worry about. In fact, it can have excellent skin benefits

Something to check out before visiting, however, are current reports on the water's bacteria levels, which can occasionally reach high and toxic levels. Regardless of what the levels are, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, advises that you avoid touching benthic cyanobacteria, a type of algae that's toxic for people. They also recommend that you keep your head above the water, do not swallow or ingest it, and keep your pets away to protect them as well. You also want to keep your eyes out for gopher snakes, which live in the area and are not venomous but can still bite.

If you feel comfortable with where the bacteria levels are at, you can then plan your visit. When you're there at the hot springs, don't be surprised if you see some people swimming or relaxing in the nude. While it's not a designated nudist area, and technically illegal, it's become a popular spot for nude swimmers anyway, so keep that in mind as you venture to the waters.

Waterfalls and pets

As for waterfalls, you'll find two gorgeous main ones. The first one is right above the hot springs, so you'll be able to witness it as you submerge into the water. The second one is located nearby and is taller. There are additional pools that situate you between the two waterfalls, giving you beautiful views in both directions.

If you plan on driving up on a weekend and visiting this hot spring, be sure to arrive as early as possible since parking spots can fill up and the hot springs themselves can get pretty crowded. Whenever you decide to visit, know that you can bring your pet dogs as long as you keep them on a leash during your time there. If you're in Salt Lake City or planning a visit, you can pencil in a day trip to Fifth Water Waterfalls and Hot Spring since it's only an approximate two-hour drive away.