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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — With cooling temperatures preparing the state for its annual winter snow cover, many of Utah’s outdoor-lovers are looking forward to packing the ski gear and heading to the slopes. But, what if you’re not ready to exchange your liquid water fun for the frozen, snowy kind?
Well, lucky for you, Utah is home to many hot springs that you can soak in all winter long. Here are five to check out this winter:
If you want to try your hand at scuba diving this winter, but would rather not travel far and don't want to have your first experience in the chlorinated waters of your local swimming pool, the Homestead Crater in Midway has just what you’re looking for. You might also be interested to know that this natural body of warm water is the only warm water scuba diving destination in the continental United States.
If you’d rather just go for a swim, that’s fine too. However, with people coming from all over the country to scuba dive, you may find yourself surrounded.
Keep in mind, the Homestead Crater is on land owned by the Homestead Resort, requiring you to make reservations and pay a small fee to experience this geothermally-heated pool. But it is a small price to pay to swim in a crater within your home state.
If you love the thought of soaking in natural hot springs, but prefer doing so in a porcelain bathtub, the owner at Mystic Hot Springs has provided just that, as well as lodging accommodations for you to dry off and relax afterward.
These steaming mineral waters are located in the town of Monroe, which is just 20 miles southwest of Richfield on I-70. And, for just a small fee, you will be able to soak in the tubs that are emptied out, cleaned and refilled daily with 168 degrees of natural, stone-warmed waters.
If you feel like staying a while, you have your choice of camping on the property, renting one of the historic cabins, or relaxing in a renovated bus complete with hardwood flooring.
The one downside? You might find that your bathtub at home will pale in comparison.
If you’d rather not pay for your hot springs admission, Inlet Hot Springs in Saratoga Springs offers you the chance to bathe free of charge.
These 109-degree natural pools are located just off the northwest side of Utah Lake, and offer a great escape from the bitter cold. Just make sure to bring a towel and warm clothes to change into immediately after because there are no warm accommodations nearby.
And while these are free to the public, the city has enforced a 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. closure that local law enforcement officers are well aware of.
Another great place to stay warm outdoors this winter is Fifth Water Hot Springs up Diamond Fork Canyon.
These enchanting, milky-blue hot springs can be accessed after hiking 2.5 miles up 700 feet in elevation (approximately a one hour hike). Once you are there, however, you will be glad you made the trek.
The hot springs are numerous, as each is made by water that has accumulated around rock beds. We suggest, however, that before jumping into one you test the waters, since each varies in temperature.
When you find the one that is perfect for you, sit down, relax, and imagine yourself in the blue lagoon you are actually sitting in.
Located in the town of Meadow just outside Utah’s original state capital of Fillmore, these hot springs are a beauty to behold — and soak in.
That’s what Shelley Anderson of Eagle Mountain found on a snowy drive home from St. George.
“On our drive home, there was a snowstorm and we were coming up on the halfway point near Fillmore,” Anderson said. “We didn’t want to keep going on the bad roads, but we didn’t want to turn back, either, so we stopped off and changed into our swimsuits to check them out. We were surrounded by wide open fields and sky, and there was a long rope on the bottom so people could scuba dive. It was pretty cool!”
While these springs are located on private property, the owner is happy to share these natural wonders as long as visitors do it with respect by keeping the area clean — which is something you should do everywhere you go.
What other public hot springs do you enjoy that we missed? Let us know in the comments.