Top 5 Hot Springs in Utah

Red Hills Hot Springs

After yesterday’s rainy day that trapped our poor selves indoors, we were anxious to bust out. The ski season was over yet the ground still soft- too soft for things like hiking, mountain biking and rockclimbing. It was actually the perfect weather for a quick roadtrip and soak. I love checking out hot springs in Utah so we hopped in the car for a last minute #roadtrip to #Monroe, Utah. @Mystichotsprings had been at the top of my bucketlist.

Three hours later I found myself begging the painted, pierced face teenager with terrible hair to let us in even if we didn’t have a reservation. She kept arguing that all I had to do was check the Mystic website and I would have seen that they were booked out. Um, no. When I went to the website there was nothing for Memorial Day. Nothing. No Xs, no red squares, just blankness. Then I saw a post on Facebook that was made this morning. I thought to myself, well, they must be open and just taking walkins. I looked for a phone number to verify but there was nothing listed. Can I just say right here, F— YOU to any business that does NOT list a phone number on their website. It’s called customer service and without it, you LOSE customers!

sign to mystic hot springs

Back to the sketchy teen. She claimed there was no way we could soak… even though we drove three hours, it was 4 p.m. and there were only 7 people to the whole place. Three couples and one kid. I took a walk through so I know. I suppose I could have snuck in. She had her head buried in her phone and the office shack was well away from the entrance. But I did the right thing, left my bathing suit in the car and took a stroll up the hill. I was curious about the hype. With thousands of beautiful images on Instagram, I believed that I had to see for myself even if I couldn’t “soak”.

Being denied at Mystic Hot Springs was the best thing that could have happened to us

soaking in red hills hot spring

Anyone who has been to Mystic realizes instantly that the IG v reality is real. It is overpriced and underwhelming. For $25/per person you get to sit in an old steel bathtub for two hours (I certainly hope the money goes to cleaning those things after each two-hour block. Yuck.). It’s honestly nothing like the photos you see on IG. It’s a tiny footprint with 7 tubs and two concrete “pools.” The funny thing is that there is a free hot spring not 5 minutes north of Mystic with four natural #hotpots and the vibe is real not phony. No wonder that twit in the office didn’t even offer that we could go someplace else. We saved $75 and could stay as long as we wanted. We didn’t even need to stop at Mystic!

Red Hills Hot Spring no camping sign

Red Hills Hot Springs

Thank you. Google! The minute I got back to the car it dawned on me that Mystic could not possibly be the only game in town. Where there is one hot pot, there are usually others nearby. A quick search delivered the exact coordinates for #Redhillshotsprings– owned and maintained by the city of Monroe and open to EVERYONE until 10pm. The temps range from boiling hot to cool but not cold. They aren’t very deep or wide and it can get a bit busy but they’re perfect for sitting up to your shoulders and chatting with strangers for the hour we stayed.

Red Hills Hot Springs

The area used to belong to a private rancher who set out troughs for folks to sit in but once he sold to the city, those had gotten unsanitary and were removed. There are signs that say not to reroute the water as it cascades from the uppermost, scalding hot spring and to keep your clothes on when soaking but other than that the place is family friendly and often filled with locals who are happy to share community lore; like how Mystic used to be cool until new owners took over and jacked the prices, making it unattractive for families. There is a small bathroom set up but that’s about it for amenities. Bring your own towel, suit, water and sunscreen and kick back in whichever pool of the four you like. A pair of Tevas or flip flops wouldn’t hurt either as the rocks surrounding and within can be a bit slimely.

Soaking in Red Hills Hot springs

Would I Return to Monroe?

Fortunately, Utah has several spots to soak that are free and closer to Park City. One of my favorites is Fifth Water and my second is Meadow. If I lived closer to Monroe, I would for sure visit Red Hills again. But, no, I have no desire to pay for Mystic.
What are your favorite hot springs? Here’s a list to get you started:

Top Five (Free) Hot Springs in Utah

Diamond Fork– Fifth Water Hot Springs (aka: Diamond Fork Hot Springs) is about a 4.5 mile roundtrip hike with a 600-foot elevation gain. You can hike to it all year long but in the winter, expect a trudge through the snow and slippery moments. Dogs are allowed and there are bathrooms at the trailhead. Head about an hour south of Salt Lake City on i-15 to Spanish Fork, Utah. Take exit 257 to get on US-6 East. Take a left at mile marker 184 onto Diamond Fork Road. Travel about 11 miles to get the trailhead.

Meadow Hot Springs– Privately owned but still free, please respect the area and enjoy. It’s located just south of Fillmore off of i-15. There are two clear pools of 100-degree water, with the larger one being about 25ft deep. If you plan to soak in the evening, be aware that a younger crowd often appears with boomboxes, slacklines and a party after dark.

Saratoga Hot Springs– Free and open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Saratoga Hot Pool (aka Inlet Hot Spring) near Lehi has temps ranging from 101 to 110 degrees. You can find it in Utah Lake’s northwest edge marshes. Park in Inlet Park and walk south on the cement walkway. After 150 yards, you’ll come to a grove of trees, and the soaking pool will be on your left. Nudity and alcohol are not allowed.

Baker Hot Springs– Just north of Delta, in Juab County, the large pools reaching up to 107 degrees are primitive and free. What’s cool is that the man-made tubs allow you to control the water temperature. Clothing may be optional so shield your eyes if easily offended.

Stinky Hot Springs– Old Indian Hot Springs, features three “stinky” concrete tubs in the town of Corrine, Utah. It’s located on private land but the owner allows public access so please keep the noise and trash out. It’s ugly and stinky from the sulphur but also quite beautiful when you give it a chance.


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