Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Salt Lake City Thanksgiving Trip: Snowy Hot Springs Hike

Last fall, during our 3 week long Western U.S. road trip, Bobby and I stayed with Jen and Damon for about a week. During that time, Bobby took me to what he says is one of his favorite places- the Diamond Fork hot springs. It's about an hour one way to hike to them- two and a half miles, and you gain 1,000 feet in elevation. I loved them as much as he did, so making the hike was on our agenda from the start. I let Mel know a few weeks before the trip, and then we let everyone else know Wednesday night that they were welcome to come. I knew it would be hard to logistically make it work, between all the people and the two kids. In the end, they decided late Thanksgiving night that they would spend Friday sledding and hot tubbing with Damon's family in their condo in Big Cottonwood canyon, so Bobby and I set off on our own for a snowy hike. After 12 hours in the car on Wednesday, and sitting and eating all day Thursday, I was ready for some exercise!

The trailhead is about an hour from Salt Lake, just outside of Provo. With all the recent snow it was a gorgeous drive.

The road to the trailhead is off of the main highway, and then it further narrows into almost one lane. And yes, the road is completely covered in snow- it seemed to be the theme of our trip.

This is the first thing you see upon going through the gate at the start of the trail- you pretty much follow the river all the way up. At the start of the trail, you are walking alongside it, but about 1/3 of the way in you are up pretty high, and there is a steep dropoff to the river below.

I was so excited! It was cold- I think in the 20's- but I remembered the hike being very steep, so I wasn't worried about being cold for long. Plus it was jaw dropping how pretty the snow was. I like the hiking as much as the hot springs for sure.

I love how everything was white and frosty blue. I kept saying it looked like Narnia. It was funny because later than night, when we were showing each other pictures of our day, Mel said she said the exact same thing while they were sledding in the mountains.

The bridge is the halfway mark. Bobby is digging out his GPS here so he can check the mileage and elevation.

View from the bridge. I liked the sound of the river following us the whole way.

The river got steamy, and the trail began to be very constantly steep, so we knew we were close!

Hello old friend, I've missed you. We were lucky that there weren't many people there, just one other couple.

They took our picture for us when they got out to get dressed. Thanks nice stranger couple!

The view from the hot springs. It was awesome to be sitting in steamy water, with cold rocks to lean your cheek on, while you took all this in.

But you better believe that those clothes were COLD when we put them back on. By that point a family of 5 had come to the hot springs, and I had to gracefully change out of my suit under my towel. I'm pretty much a ninja, and did it without flashing anyone.

On the hike back down I took a lot more pictures. The trail is pretty narrow most of the way, but when it opened up there were these gorgeous clearings of fresh snow. If I had on snow clothes I would have snow angel'd all over the place.

Oh, hi there! I'm just being a creepy nerd behind a rock in the middle of the woods.

Halfway back down! At this point I'm fantasizing about dinner.

Bobby, on a rock, back at the trailhead. We made perfect time and finished before the sun set.

I love Bobby's truck. It's an old '91 Toyota, with funky gold rims and the paint is weathered off the hood, but it's dependable and has four-wheel drive. We wouldn't have had a Thanksgiving without it!

When we got back to Jen and Damon's the rest of the family was still at the condo, so we headed to the Red Iguana Mexican restaurant. Usually this would entail a 45 minute wait. But by some Thanksgiving miracle, we walked in and were seated instantly. This mole sauce made my night. Seriously, if you are ever in Salt Lake, try and put a hot springs hike and a meal at the Red Iguana on your list. You won't regret it.


  1. Oh my goodness! That's really cool! (Both temperature way and descriptive way) I did not know about this! I will have to look into going :)

  2. Yes, you definitely should! It's a great hike and other than gas to get there it's a great free activity for a weekend :)

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