For ski bums, dropping temperatures mean one thing—the countdown to ski season can officially begin. For others, though, it can be tempting to stay inside and hibernate all winter long. While it’s nice to cozy up in a blanket with hot chocolate and a good movie on, there are still ways to get outside and enjoy nature. Whether you’re a winter sports fanatic or more of the “indoorsy” type, there is a place to stay warm while embracing the great outdoors even in the middle of winter. Two words: hot. springs.
Utah is home to many of these geothermally heated pools, some close to Salt Lake City and others just a short day trip away. Or why not make a fun mini-road trip out of it and take a weekend to hit multiple springs?
Let’s talk about what you should bring to a hot spring. While there are usually towel rentals available at hot springs owned and regulated by companies, it never hurts to bring your own towel. If hiking to a more remote hot spring, make sure to wear a good pair of hiking shoes. Additionally, I like to bring a beanie to wear while in the hot springs and pack a change of clothes for after. Once you have your backpack packed, you’re ready to go enjoy a relaxing soak. Here are some of the best hot springs Utah has to offer:
Close to Home
Saratoga Hot Springs
Location: About 40 minutes south of SLC on the northwest side of Utah Lake
Temperature: 110 degrees
Hike: A short half mile
Hours: Technically closed from 10 p.m, – 6 a.m., but people still go at night
Tips: Go at sunset for unforgettable views of the surrounding mountains turning orange and pink. Also, bring a tarp to put your stuff on while you soak, as it often gets muddy around the springs.
Location: About 50 minutes east of SLC in Midway
Temperature: 90-96 degrees
Tips: Make a reservation by phone ahead of time and check the schedule. They offer paddle board yoga classes and there are hours designated for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Take a Day Trip
Fifth Water Hot Springs
Location: About 1 hour south of SLC up Spanish Fork Canyon
Temperature: There are many different pools with varying temperatures at these hot springs. Test out the different pools to see which temperature you like best.
Hike: 4.5 miles round trip
Tips: If visiting in the winter, the hike will be a couple miles longer due to road closure. However, the bright blue water looks beautiful surrounded by snow, and the trek is the perfect opportunity to break out the snowshoes.
Location: About an hour north of SLC in Honeyville
Temperature: 120-134 degrees, or there are cool springs ranging from 65-75 degrees
Tips: Take time to learn about the history of this area. Many groups, including Native Americans, Chinese railroad workers and injured WWII soldiers, have historically frequented Crystal Hot Springs. These hot springs also contain the highest mineral content found in any hot spring in the world.
Fun Weekend Getaways
Location: About 2 hours and 30 minutes south of SLC in Monroe
Temperature: 99-111 degrees
Tips: Look at the schedule online before going. Mystic Hot Springs hosts live music performances that you can watch from the warmth of the hot springs. There are also a variety of places to stay in the resort including restored pioneer cabins, six renovated busses and locations to camp and park an RV.
Meadow Hot Springs
Location: About 2 hours 15 mins south of SLC in Fillmore
Temperature: Around 100 degrees
Hike: 1 mile
Tips: Take some goggles and explore these deep, crystal blue hot springs. Remember that Meadow Hot Springs is on private property, so be respectful and obey the signs posted around the springs. These hot springs are also dog friendly.
Location: About 2 hours and 15 minutes south of SLC in Delta
Temperature: 107 degrees
Tips: Be cautious—the source of these springs is extremely hot. The water temperature where you soak is regulated by cold water from another ditch. No matter what springs you visit, remember to leave no trace!