|Fifth Water Waterfalls and Hot Spring
Length: 4.5 miles out and back
Description: Three scenic waterfalls and some very nice hot springs are located along Fifth Water Creek, which is a tributary to the Diamond Fork River, east of Spanish Fork. You can reach the springs and waterfalls from the Three Forks Trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon, or from the Rays Valley Trailhead (located on the Rays Valley Road north of Hwy 6).
The hot springs are very popular and draw crowds on weekends during warm weather. Several soaking pools are available. The water is clear and you can vary its temperature by positioning yourself at different points in the pools, and by regulating the water flows into the pools. Warning: some individuals choose to soak nude in the pools. That is against the law, but it is common to see nude people here.
The lower waterfall comes right down next to the main soaking pool. The second (counting up from the bottom) is a photogenic multi-tiered waterfall that is worth searching out. A third waterfall exists further up the stream.
During winter, snow is usually well packed and you can usually hike to the hot pools without snowshoes. You will need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the trailhead.
Three Forks Trailhead
To get to the trailhead, drive Hwy 6 east from Spanish Fork for about 11 miles to the signed Diamond Fork turnoff. Follow the Diamond Fork road about 10 miles to the signed trailhead. From the trailhead, cross the small Diamond Fork River and then follow the obvious trail east into the canyon. The trail is wide and well-maintained. It follows along the north side of Sixth Water Creek.
Bridge and Fork
The stream and trail fork about a mile above the trailhead. Cross Sixth Water on the bridge and then take the trail on the right, which follows the much smaller Fifth Water Creek. Again, you'll be on the north side of the creek and will be hiking east.
The main pools are right below the first waterfall, which you can't miss as you hike the trail. You'll start to smell sulfur as you approach the area. The hot water does contain sulfur, but otherwise is clear and pleasant.
A second, higher waterfall is located just a short way above the first. This one is the most photogenic. There are two very nice soaking pools along the stream between the first and second waterfall.
Rays Valley Trailhead
You can also reach the waterfalls and hot pools by hiking down Fifth Water Creek from the Rays Valley Trailhead. To reach this trailhead from Spanish Fork, drive east on Hwy 6 for about 22.5 miles. At that point take a paved road that heads north. It is signed for Sheep Creek/Strawberry Reservoir. Follow that road for about 14 miles to the obvious trailhead. (The trailhead is usually signed but vandals sometimes tear down the sign). From the trailhead, follow the obvious trail southwest into the deepening canyon. Fifth Water Creek crosses Rays Valley Road next to the trailhead, but it may not have flowing water during some seasons. As you hike, the stream will soon pick up water. The trail just follows the stream down to the waterfalls and hot pools. The main pools are about 2.5 miles from this trailhead. The trail is easy and well-maintained.