Crystal Hot Springs, located in Honeyville, Utah, is open year-round. But it’s especially perfect for a refreshing soak in the middle of winter. Mineral water from natural hot springs fills several pools, providing a variety of warm temperatures. Take your toddler, grandma–this outing is fabulous for all ages.
Located about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City, Crystal Hot Springs makes for a fun day trip. Plan to spend a couple of hours once you’re there, and stop for some good eats (we’ll show you where) when you’re done. All in all, it’s a great family getaway that’s perfect for a short visit.
Quick History of Crystal Hot Springs
Anciently, Native American tribes used the area for winter living. Originally named Madsen Hot Springs, the pools opened as a business in 1901. Soldiers during WWII, under a program endorsed by President Theodore Roosevelt, were sent to various hot springs throughout the country to rehabilitate. Crystal Springs was one of those resorts. Now the public can soak in the pools, enjoying one another’s company and some mineral-soaking therapy.
Soaking in the Hot Springs
There are several pools to soak in, and temperatures range from 120 – 134°F (51°C – 57°C). The water contains the highest mineral content (46,000 mg/L) found in any hot spring in the world. A nearby cold spring mixes with the hot springs, providing a combination of perfect water temperatures to soak in. You can enjoy three mineral hot tubs, a large soaker pool (shown), and an Olympic-size swimming pool. There’s also a water slide.
The day we went in January 2020, the water in the Olympic-size pool and at the water slide was cold. Not many people were using either. So keep that in mind if those two options are the main reasons for your visit. The site says they have two water slides. We saw only one, so we’re not sure what they mean by two slides.
But all pools were open, and there was plenty of room for everyone to soak, even on a busy Saturday.
You can see in all these pictures that the water is stained a rust color from the minerals. It contains, to name a few minerals, calcium, chloride, iron, fluoride, plus eight more. A complete list is on their website, if you’re interested in learning more.
This grotto area is particularly nice, as you can sit on the steps in the water and let the mineral water cascade down your neck, shoulders, and back. I love it and sat there several times, alternating with a cold sit on the sides of the pool as needed.
Of course, I found these two handsome guys in the water and couldn’t resist sharing their smiles.
The mineral water tastes very salty. Just wetting your lips is enough to make you want a drink of fresh water. Make sure you keep a container close by.
All the soaking areas have a picturesque view of the mountains in the background. Gaze and enjoy.
Things to Know before You Go
- Bring water. You can buy water and beverages there. You can also bring your own non-glass containers. But make sure you have something to drink on hand. Soaking in the warm pools makes you thirsty. There are drinking fountains in the main building by the restrooms, but it’s a pain to get out of the warm water and hustle inside for a quick drink.
- Bring sunglasses. Especially if your eyes are sensitive to bright light, you might want to wear sunglasses even in the middle of winter here. The light reflecting off the water can be bright and a bit uncomfortable to some. My husband was wishing he’d brought his.
- Wear hats if you’re worried about your head getting cold or if you feel you’ll need extra shade for your eyes. Personally, I love the feel of my wet hair getting a bit frozen while the rest of my body is toasty warm in the water. But there were a few individuals who wore stocking caps in the pools or needed a little something extra for eye shade.
- Rent a locker. The fee is only $1.50, and you just provide something as collateral until you return the key. There are signs posted everywhere saying that stuff gets stolen and valuables shouldn’t be left on the open shelving provided.
- Snacks and beverages are available onsite for purchases. But there’s no grill (unless we missed it somehow). There was a food truck outside for corn dogs, but who knows if it will be there when you visit.
- Water shoes aren’t necessary. We brought them and didn’t use them. When scurrying from pool to pool, you cool down quickly and just want to hurry into the warm water. There’s no time to put on shoes, and all the walkways have padded matting. So just walk barefoot.
Mack’s Family Drive-In
Once you visit Honeyville, you’ll realize just how small a town it is. There may be good places to eat there, but we don’t know about them. Instead, we recommend you eat at Mack’s Family Drive-in in nearby Tremonton. It’s only about a 10-minute drive and well worth it! My husband used to work with the owner years ago, so we stopped in. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there, but the food was fantastic. And we were so hungry after being at the hot springs! What is it about swimming and soaking in water that makes the appetite so ravenous?!
I ordered tots covered in homemade chili and cheese. They were divine! I ate them all and forgot to take a picture. My husband and sons all got different varieties of burgers, complete with fries and mozzarella sticks. And we couldn’t pass up dessert–Farr’s ice cream. Even in the dead of winter, Farr’s ice cream just can’t be beat!
A peek at their menu shows you there’s no way you can go hungry here. Eat and enjoy all the comfort food you want.
The vintage atmosphere at the diner is cozy and cute. It’s a great place to hang out with your family and the perfect ending to your day enjoying a much-needed soak at Crystal Hot Springs.
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Have you been to Crystal Hot Springs? Or Mack’s Family Drive-in? We’d love to hear any tips you might share.