Got a chill in your bones? Warm up with an invigorating soak in one of Utah’s most unique and appealing hot springs.
Mystic Hot Springs
Location: 475 East 100 North in Monroe. 175 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take Exit 188 off I-15 South. Go east on US-50 for about 25 miles to I-70 West, then proceed to Exit 31. Turn left, continue for 2 miles, and turn right on Highway 118. After 3.5 miles, turn left on 100 North and head up the hill.
Long after its early 20th-century heyday as central Utah’s “home of mirth and merriment,” Mystic has experienced a revival under owner/operator Mike Ginsburg, who took over in 1996. Visitors are embraced by the quaint, offbeat charm, not to mention plenty of soaking space in several bathtubs and two swimming pools.
Overnight lodging is offered in the form of restored pioneer cabins and ‘60s psychedelia-inspired converted school buses, in addition to camping and RV sites. “You have this direct connection to the earth and it allows you to just be in the moment,” Ginsburg says. “A lot of times, we don’t have that opportunity to just contemplate and enjoy what’s going on around us.”
Crystal Hot Springs
Location: 8215 N. Highway 38 in Honeyville. 69 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take Exit 372 off I-15 South. Head east on Highway 240 for about a mile, then turn left on Highway 38 and travel north for 1.7 miles. The springs are located on the west side of the road.
Under new Utah guidelines effective 11/9/2020, everyone is required to wear a mask while outside of the pools. Swimmers and lifeguards are not required to wear masks inside the pools.
This bonafide geologic wonder boasts a 135°F hot and 70°F cold spring just 50 feet apart, which contain the highest mineral content (46,000 parts per million, roughly 178 times greater than Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas) in the world. Over 1,600 gallons of water flow to the surface every minute.
Prior to being established as a business in 1901, the area drew Native Americans and Chinese railroad workers to bathe and relax. During World War II, wounded soldiers undergoing rehabilitation were brought in by the busload.
Today, Crystal’s 160-person soaking pool, three 20-person tubs, Olympic-size pool with waterslides, camping sites, and reasonable $7 entry fee attract some 250,000 visitors each year, general manager Adam Nelson says.
Fifth Water Hot Springs
Location: 40.0849 N, 111.3546 W (GPS coordinates) 74 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take Exit 258 off I-15 South and head east on US-6 for about 11 miles. Turn left at the sign for Diamond Fork and follow the road to the Three Forks Trailhead.
CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
A natural waterfall serves as the backdrop to several man-made soaking pools overflowing into a warm stream at this picturesque canyon hideaway, also called Diamond Fork Hot Springs. Temperatures vary from around 95° to upwards of 102°F.
The 6-mile dirt road is closed to vehicle access during the winter months, making fat bikes the next best option. Making the trek by ski or snowshoe is a viable, yet labor-intensive, alternative.
Watch for icy patches along the 2.5-mile hike in from the trailhead. Running into skinny dippers or wildlife is not uncommon. Keep kids and pets close and be sure to pack the proper gear plus plenty of water to enjoy this off-the-beaten-path adventure.
The Homestead Crater
Location: 700 N. Homestead Drive in Midway. 47 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take Exit 146 off I-80 East. Head south on US-189, then follow River Road to Homestead Drive.
The Homestead Crater is open during the pandemic. Relax in the continuously flowing, warm waters while maintaining appropriate social distance.
The signature attraction of Midway’s Homestead Resort, The Crater is like no other hot spring in Utah. Formed by a geothermal spring hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock formation, the natural opening at the top lets in sunlight and fresh air, while the continually circulating mineral water remains heated between 90–96°F.
For $16 per person, go swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving (the Crater is the only warm-water diving destination in the continental U.S.), try a paddleboard yoga class, or just relax and enjoy a therapeutic soak. Visitors can also take the self-guided tour and learn about the geology and history of this natural phenomenon 10,000 years in the making. Reservations are required; call 435-657-3840.
Baker Hot Springs
Location: 39.61051 N, 112.73069 W (GPS coordinates) 140 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take Exit 282 off I-15 South and head south on US-68. Turn right onto US-6 and go west on Highway 174 for 17 miles. Turn right onto the first dirt road with a stop sign and follow it seven miles to the springs.
Tucked away in one of Utah’s most remote desert expanses, Baker provides three tubs, each large enough to accommodate several people, with hot and cold water ditches giving bathers control over the temperature.
The site was developed in the 1920s as the foundation for a health retreat that never took off. Today, residents of Delta help with upkeep on a volunteer basis by picking up trash and cleaning the tubs.
About 150 yards upstream is the hot water source fed by the nearby Fumarole Butte, a 6 million-year-old shield volcano. Colloidal gold and silver, among other minerals, occurs naturally in high concentrations, resulting in unique deposits along the channel.
Meadow Hot Springs
Location: Meadow exit off I-15 south. 157 miles from SLC.
Directions: Take the Meadow exit 158 just south of Filmore on I-15. Turn left at the stop sign and go under the freeway, passing a Shell station on the right. Keep going until you pass more buildings on the left then follow a dirt road on the right. You’ll cross a bridge over the freeway and continue on the dirt road until you reach a fence in front of the pools.
These privately owned hot spring pools are kept open to the public at no cost–as long as you follow the rules. This means no alcohol or nudity of any kind. You’ll have to walk a flat half-mile to reach the pools, but the water is clear and warm year-round. The hot springs are located right off I-15, making them a great stop on the way to southern Utah.
Keep these precious natural resources clean and open for everyone—please enjoy responsibly.