Relaxing in 4 of Utah's Best Hot Springs
Mystic, Meadow, Fifth Water (Spanish Fork) hot springs & the Homestead Crater
A vast array of hot springs can be found tucked in various corners of this beautifully diverse state. Growing up in New England I had no idea how much the southwestern United States had to offer. Since first experiencing the magic of Zion National Park I made it my mission to explore as much of the southwest’s diverse landscapes as I possibly could in 2017. One of these missions included a loop through Utah, and visiting my personal favorite of nature’s many wonders, natural hot springs.
What is so amazing about the hot springs in Utah is their diversity. From bathtubs set into the side of a clay hill, to the turquoise Meadow Hot Springs running 20ft below ground, to the cascading series of pools on the site of a hippy commune at Fifth Water; each hot spring offers a completely unique experience.
I arrived at Mystic Hot Springs about an hour before sunrise, driving south from Salt Lake City. Grabbing my camera and my swimsuit, I headed to the steaming tubs to watch the sunlight touch the mountain side for the first time that day.
Mystic is the closest to a natural spa you can get. With eight tubs and two pools running 98-110 degrees Fahrenheit, it is the ultimate outdoor relaxation spot. And if you are looking for lodging, take your pick between camping, cabins or old school converted school buses. All refurbished and kept up by the resort’s owner.
Only about an hour away, across the Fishlake National Forest, is where you’ll find the Meadow Hot Springs. Sunk into the meadows for which the small Utah town got its name, this series of three pools is particularly unique with stunning turquoise water running as far as 20 feet deep. The springs are located on private property but the owner keeps them open to the public.
As always, it’s important to maintain respect for (leave no trace!) these precious natural wonders so that they can be kept open and enjoyed by all. Both the perfect location for a sunrise soak, or to hang out under the stars, I highly suggest making your way to Meadow!
Located about 50 minutes southeast of Salt Lake is the Homestead Crater. This natural spring is run by the Homestead Resort and does require a fee. What makes the Homestead Crater worth checking out is that it offers swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving in the geothermal pool created over the course of 10,000 years. They also offer stand up paddle board yoga! The water runs deep, as far as your eyes can see, and at a comfortable 90-96 degrees.
Just a little further east is Fifth Water Hot Springs. Just about a five mile hike round trip, the popular hot springs feature a number of pools cascading down the hillside from a waterfall. I would highly suggest making a sunrise hike out of this one as the pools fill up with fellow hikers quite quickly, even on the weekdays.
The hike itself is worth the trip as it mostly runs along the river featuring perfect spots for camping, chilling and just enjoying the beautiful surrounding forest.