Horseshoe Springs - Hot Springs in Utah

It was such a lukewarm swamp that it could hardly be called a thermal spring.

It also involved some interesting history.

Iosepa, Utah

75 miles southwest of Salt Lake City is a ghost town inhabited by immigrants from Hawaii.

In 1889, Native Hawaiians who believed in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) moved to Iosepa.

It is said that this location was chosen to escape severe discrimination by whites and to live as close to the Salt Lake Temple as possible.

Welcome sign at entrance to Iosepa historic site, April 2009
Public Domain
I feel so out of place.

At its peak, it boasted a population of 228 but declined due to the leprosy epidemic.

Eventually, most of the residents chose to return to Hawaii, and by 1917 it became a ghost town.

Today, little remains except for a cemetery and fire hydrants.

Staging point for the western frontier

Signboard 01

Only a 10-minute drive north from Iosepa via Skull Valley Road.

Horseshoe Springs is a park of sorts, maintained by the BLM.

Parking Lot 01

The parking lot and the road leading to it were unpaved but could be reached without problems by a normal car.

Camping was not allowed and there was not even a vault toilet.

Signboard 02

I found three information boards under the gazebo.

According to it, Horseshoe Springs was an important staging point for western settlement.

Gazebo 01

One of the routes used by immigrants from the East Coast to California was the Hastings Cutoff.

In 1846, the Donner Party struggled to use it and eventually lost around Farad Soaking Pool, California.

ReferenceFarad Soaking Pool (Mystic Hot Springs) - Hot Springs in California

This is the closest hot spring to the location of the tragedy of Donner Party. Because of its easy accessibility, it is one of the most fragile and valuable undeveloped hot springs. Industrial heritage in the wild In the 1840s, ...

This incident is known to have resulted from extreme starvation, which led to cannibalistic acts.

Stream 02

It was a valuable watering hole for the Hastings Cutoff as it crossed the challenging Great Salt Lake Desert.

The two springs are adjacent to each other in a horseshoe shape, hence the name.

It was located across the creek on a log bridge.

Stream 01

The water was tasteless, odorless, and lukewarm with a temperature of 70 degrees F.

The water surface was covered with a large number of algae and the ground was muddy clay, making for a less than pleasant soaking experience.

Pond 01

If anything, it seemed to be gaining popularity as a fishing spot.

Stop by if you are passing nearby to witness these forgotten histories.


Horseshoe Springs, Skull Valley, Utah, U.S.

My rating

Type: Undeveloped

Rule: Clothing optional

Chemical use: No

Water temp: Up to 70 degrees F

Official website

  • Writer

Hot Springer Ken

A hot spring enthusiast based in Japan. Toured over 300 North American hot springs while working in Texas from 2016 to 2022. For updates, visit X or Instagram!

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