Hot Springs in Summer?

A look over the valley toward the trailhead

When I woke up this morning around 4a, I knew I wanted to do a groovy and fun hike. I considered many options, but one kept coming back to me – The Fifth Water Hot Springs in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah. I kept pushing back the idea because who wants to go to a hot springs in the middle of a super hot summer.

I realized it was still very early in the morning and that the elevation was a bit higher than I am now. This means that it would like be much cooler than at my house. That turned out to be true. When I left the house, it was 67 degrees. When I arrived at the trailhead, it was 51 degrees. I actually wore my light hiking jacket for the first mile or so until I go warmed up.

It turns everything about this morning’s hike was fantastic, most especially the cool morning mountain weather and then the VERY WARM water at the hot springs.

When I arrived at the trailhead, I noticed there were only 5 other cars. Typically, the lot would be crammed tighter than a front yard makeshift parking lot in a college town on a football Saturday. Furthermore, there would be cars parked as far as 2 miles away to gain access to the trail.

The early morning light before going deep into the canyon.

The hike was about 4.9 miles roundtrip. There is an elevation gain of over 600 feet that is well distributed along the trail, so there is no super steep areas. The trail follows along a stream that feeds out of the hot springs. The water provides many waterfalls and beautiful views along the trail to the springs. A few are shown below.

One of the first nice views of the running water
This was shot at a crossing about 1 mile into the hike
The photo barely does this justice, but this scene was breathtakingly beautiful I have NEVER seen green like this.
This was taken closer to the top. You can see the color of the water changing at this point.

Right before you get to the hot springs, there is a short 50 yard climb that obscures the view of the springs. So, in essence, the springs make a grand appearance once you crest the hill.

The first look once cresting the hill. It gets even better from here!

After another small hill, you get to see an overview of the main hot springs area. The color and smell of sulphur are intense.

As you get closer, you notice lots of things. Perhaps most obvious, is the different colors of the pools of water. I was not able to figure that out. The water appeared to be coming from the same source. There are a few very small and very hot springs. Perhaps somehow those are impacting the color.

You may notice something else. In the photo below. The man on the right is totally naked. It took me a few minutes to figure out why he was crouched over and a bit nervous looking. He obviously knew what he was doing. He companion is sitting down on the far left in the blue shirt. Eventually, she came down and helped him, somewhat discreetly, get clothes on and leave.

As odd it may seem, it turns out that he was not the only naked person in the water. If you look two photos above, you will see a woman in the water up past her shoulders. I discovered after taking that picture and hike up to the main part of the springs, that she too was bathing naked. I noticed someone helping her cover up as she got out of the water.

I continued to work my way up the springs and made a nice blue image below. While shooting it, I notice a young couple up ahead snuggling while soaking their feet in another very warm pool.

I absolutely love the color blue in this shot.

There was lost of mist/steam coming up off the water and it made getting a clear enough picture a bit challenging. I shot about 20 images and settled on this one. While I like it, I wish I had some elevation so it would also show some of the beautiful colored water.

Continuing to climb up toward the waterfall, I made a few more images of this couple, this time from the other side and with some elevation.

Now with elevation, you can see the couple, the water and the wildflowers.

The shot above was taken from the ledges of the waterfall. The waterfall had very little water and yet, the stream was flowing heavily downstream.

I climbed up the ledges of the waterfall to get a view from on top and found a few more cascading waterfalls with some intense colors.

The scene at the top of the waterfalls

One of my favorite videos of the morning was shot at this location. You can see it below. It reminds me of an aerial view of the earth. Do you see that?

After shooting all the stuff that was overloading my senses, it was time for me to get into one of the lovely warm pools and relax. And that is exactly what I did.

It was a wonderful trip. I took over 3 hours due to lots of pix and video and also about an hours soaking and hanging around the pools of luscious water.

While not technically part of this post, I did shoot the next installment of my #ThoughtsFromtheTrail encouragement videos toward the beginning of the hike. The topics is Expectations. You can see the post and video here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s