YOUR WINTER TRAVELS
Nothing beats a hot soak after a long day of winter adventuring. Whether you just spent all day on the slopes or snowshoeing through the backcountry, taking advantage of the countless natural hot springs across the country is a great way to melt away the chill, ease those overworked muscles and joints, and simply enjoy nature in one of its purest, most inviting forms.
WHAT ARE HOT SPRINGS?
A hot spring is like a natural hot tub—only instead of being on the deck of your Airbnb, it's in the ground. Hot springs, or thermal springs, are formed when geothermally heated groundwater bubbles up from the earth's crust, creating a pool of water that is typically warmer than the surrounding air temperature. Among the many benefits attributed to soaking in hot springs are pain relief, stress reduction, improved circulation, and even healthier skin.
Fun fact: There are more than 1,100 thermal springs across the United States, the majority of which can be found throughout the western half of the country. While a number of those springs are privately owned and have been made into resorts or tourist destinations, many are still "wild" (sometimes called primitive hot springs) and can be accessed via hike or drive. We've compiled a list of some of the most popular hot springs in the Beehive State to help warm up your winter travels.
TOP HOT SPRINGS IN UTAH
- Inlet Park (Saratoga) Hot Springs (Saratoga Springs, UT): This popular soaking spot is free to the public and easily accessible via car. Park hours are 6:00AM to 10:00PM and it features three different pools reaching about 109 degrees.
- Meadow Hot Springs (Fillmore, UT): These privately owned hot springs are open to the public, and you can even camp there with the owner's permission. The largest of the three pools is about 100 degrees, but there are also two smaller, shallower pools.
- Mystic Hot Springs (Monroe, UT): Though decidedly more well known and a fan favorite during the summer festival season, everyone should experience Mystic Hot Springs at least once. Soak up the vibes in one of two large hot spring swimming pools or from one of the many private vintage bathtubs. Temps range from 99 to 110 degrees.
- Diamond Fork (Fifth Water) Hot Springs (Springville, UT): Closed for a brief time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this popular nude (don't say we didn't warn you) bathing spot is once again open to the public. Check out these helpful tips for ditching the crowds (hint: go during winter). Water temps reach up to 108 degrees.
- Homestead Crater (Park City, UT): Not exactly remote but still not to be missed, Homestead Crater may be one of the most unique natural attractions in Utah. In addition to taking a soothing mineral soak in its pristine waters, visitors can swim, snorkel, and even scuba dive in the dome-covered crater.
Traveling outside of Utah this winter but still looking for a good soak? Check out this list of 10 of the Best Hot Springs in the United States compiled by Travel + Leisure magazine.
ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT HOT SPRINGS EXCURSION
Along with your swimsuit (hopefully) and your favorite fuzzy towel, there are a few important items of gear we recommend bringing along on your winter hot springs adventure. First and foremost, winter wanderings call for a cold-weather sleeping bag that won't leave you shivering post soak. Canvas sleeping bags are a favorite among car campers and a great way to stay cozy.
Another must-have winter accessory, sleeping pads provide an additional layer of insulation between your body and the cold ground to help you preserve heat when sleeping outdoors. Likewise, a sleeping bag liner can add about 10 degrees of warmth to your bag.
Finally, because some hot springs are only accessible via trail, it's important to stay hydrated while making the trek to and from your destination. While we typically emphasize getting enough hydration during the summer months, it's just as important in winter, when we're less inclined to notice we're sweating beneath all those layers of extra clothing. Before you head out, grab your favorite hydration pack and make sure it has a full bladder.