UTAH COUNTY — Known for its warm pools and babbling brook, the Fifth Water Hot Springs in Diamond Fork Canyon will be reopened by the U.S. Forest Service in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The area was closed on March 17, 2020 due to COVID-19.
"Early on in the pandemic, we did choose to close the hot springs for public health and safety,” said Luke Decker, a district ranger with the Spanish Fork Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. "It’s been a long time coming, and it’ll be exciting to have folks using the area again."
The hot springs area, located in Utah County, can be accessed by hiking from the Three Forks Trailhead.
“I understand why people want to visit there. It’s an amazing location," said Decker, who plans to open the hot springs in time for the holiday weekend.
For quite some time, rumors circulated on social media that the area remained closed for so long because of a suspicious death at the hot springs in June 2020. However, the Forest Service says it was strictly pandemic-related guidelines that kept the area closed for so long.
During the early portion of the closure, citations were handed out to visitors trespassing during the closure order.
“We chose to enforce it, mostly to get those group sizes down," said Decker, who says the status of the area was determined by CDC guidelines for gathering as well as local health regulations set forth by the Utah County Health Department. “It’s not like an out-and-back trail for most folks where they’re just out for a walk and they come right back. It’s a gathering place.”
After 438 days, the area will be available for public use starting Saturday. Decker wants to remind visitors to park in designated areas, keep the area clean by packing out their trash, and to recreate responsibly so others can enjoy the area.