Monday, August 15, 2016

Diamond Fork Canyon - Hot Springs

For families who are ready to tackle a longer hike (2.6 miles each way), Diamond Fork Canyon Hot Springs (aka Fifth Water Hot Springs) is a great choice. We have hiked this twice now and my children still beg to go again. It is a moderate trail - you do gain elevation, but it is so gradual (except for short sections) that your children may not even notice. We did notice that it was a bit long for our 3.5 year old daughter to hike the entire thing by herself last year; although, this year, no worries! Hip! Hip! Hooray! We only carried the boys (two and three year olds). Last year we hiked up to the hot springs on a cold, wet afternoon, but we found that the timing couldn't have been better since no one else was on the trail and we also had the springs to ourselves for awhile - yay! The trail is well marked and easy to follow. On some steeper parts, or sections with a pretty steep side, there are fences to keep you on the trail (which let's be honest, as a mom, that makes your heart feel calm).

We were thankful the sun came out for part of our swim. We did have to realign some of the rocks to allow the cooler river into the "pool" as it was too warm for our children at first.

This year we hiked up in mid-April on a very chilly morning. It remained cold, but again, it kept most of the hikers away. Because it was colder, we carried the children's swimsuits in the backpack to change into at the hot pots. The beginning of the trail goes up for a bit, but then levels out.

It is fun to walk along the river and hear and smell the sulfur as you gain elevation and get closer to the hot springs.

What kid would stay on a trail when they can take a short cut across a fallen tree?

Even Dad (aka pack mule) and little ones didn't want to miss out on crossing the tree.

This is the view looking down into the hot springs - beautiful with the waterfall; however we learned that if you continue up on the trail for another 1/4 mile, there are deeper, less visited pools!

This is the trail up above the main springs...the view was just stunning this spring morning!

If you look closely in the center of this picture, you can see the upper pools. We were so excited to soak in these until we saw a nudist and that man was not about to depart or out clothing on, so we had to turn back - bummer!

As you can tell, kids don't care where you soak, as long as they get wet. This pool was about 2.5' deep and kept us quite warm despite the cold wind.

The itty bitty water fall is warm water from the springs...we swam/sat in the pool for a good 45 minutes before we dried off, ate some snacks and headed back down the trail.

The trail down is always faster than up and that makes for easy going. In the spring, without leaves, the hike is mostly in the sun, but imagine the shade you'd have in the summer and the glorious colored leaves in the fall.

Towards the end of the hike (or the beginning) there is a large bridge to cross and watch the river.

Getting closer to the parking lot makes for fast hikers.

And hiking with best cousins is always a great way to spend the day!

Just because the baby is so cute and he LOVED sitting on the side of the pool...

  • Disclaimer: it is getting rather popular, so be sure to hike in the early morning or better yet during the week
  • Restrooms are at the parking lot, but not at the hot springs
  • Remember to test the water before having children climb in as some areas could burn delicate skin - it is an easy remedy to cool the temperature down - move rocks to allow the passing river water into the "pool" where you are
  • Beware nudists could be present
  • Total hiking time is about 4 hours

  • Head East on Hwy 6 from Spanish Fork for about 11 miles to the Diamond Fork turnoff sign
  • Follow the Diamond Fork road about 10 miles to the signed trailhead
  • From the parking lot, follow the obvious trail east into the canyon - do NOT cross the first little bridge on your right! Head straight on the trial
  • About 1 mile in to the hike, the stream and trail fork. Cross that bridge and take the trail on the right

Monday, August 8, 2016

Payson Canyon - Hell's Kitchen

If you are looking for a near-by escape, but are feeling that you don't necessarily want to get out and hike for long - go on a drive up Payson Canyon and the Nebo Scenic Loop. 28 miles up the canyon road is a short (like 500 meters long) paved trail to this beautiful overlook. If you've never been to Bryce Canyon, then this is a close and mini-substitute. We picnicked up there after looking at the view and checked out the bugs and butterflies and chipmunks. 

My girls enjoyed climbing on the juniper trees along the walk-way. 

We had to hike down from the overlook because it was just too beautiful to stay on the trail; sometimes, you need to be daring. 

Lots of these old junipers to climb on and sit in. 


  • It's a very narrow canyon with many curves, so if you (and/or your children) get car sick, beware! 
  • There are restrooms at the parking lot
  • Drive with your windows down and just marvel at the majestic views

Monday, August 1, 2016

Orem Fun Center

I’ve lived in Utah County for almost 20 years and have driven past Classic Fun Center in Orem at least a thousand times but I’ve never ever gone in there. Sure I remember kids from high school going there sometimes but I always thought it was a kid place and there for LAME. Well, now that I have my own little gang of kids I thought we should try it out on afternoon.

My kids get out early on Wednesday so we headed over there with scooters and rollerblades in hand right after I picked them up. You can rent skates, rollerblades, scooters and even buy socks there. I ended up renting my two littlest skates and a walker just to make my life easier and since they are just tiny they let me use them for free! The walker is $3 and worth every penny!! Also since it was weekday we had the entire skating rink to ourselves. I love it when that kind of thing happens!

After a solid hour of skating we decided to check out the Arcade and bounce stuff. Part of the $5 Wednesday includes 5 tokens per kid for the arcade. That was perfect! I mean, they would have loved to have more but I could easily pull the “I don’t have any change” card and they were still able to play some games, earn some tickets and buy some candy.

Classic Fun Center has a pretty decent bounce area with at least 5 different obstacles course to bounce your way through and even a separate little toddler area to play in.

We went back and forth between the skating rink and the bounce area for another couple of hours until the kids were absolutely exhausted and we could grab a pizza for dinner. Not bad for $25 on a Wednesday night. We’ll definitely come back again!

Place: Classic Fun Center
Location: 250 south state Orem, UT 84058
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12pm - 9pm and Fri-Sat: 12pm - midnight
Price: Skating: $6.00 Bouncing: $6.00

Check website though because everyday they have a different deal. For example we went on a Wednesday and it was $5/kid for unlimited bounce and skate