After two Ogden hot pots rescues, fire department warns people to ‘stay away’
Feb 2, 2024, 5:31 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2024, 11:13 am
OGDEN — The Ogden Fire Department is warning the public about a popular hot spring area in Ogden Canyon after rescuing two people just hours apart this week.
Not only is the department saying the Ogden hot pots are dangerous, but they are also urging people not to trespass on what is private property to access the hot springs.
According to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, two different men went unconscious in the Ogden River hot pots Tuesday. They were described as suffering “medical episodes.”
Ogden Fire Deputy Chief Mike Slater explained that the trail was too icy and steep to carry the men out. Instead, they shut down traffic in and out of the entire canyon each time to set up the rescues.
“Real difficult situation. We have to shut down a two-lane artery to the upper valley of Ogden to set up our ladder truck, to try and pick these people out of the hot pots,” he said.
They used a Stokes basket to hoist the men over the river and to safety on the other side.
Despite not technically being open to the public, the Ogden hot pots are a popular place to soak. On any given day, cars fill up the roadside parking area, and people fill up the manmade riverside pools.
On Thursday, vehicles with license plates from North Carolina, South Dakota, and Colorado sat in the parking area. Some people told KSL TV they’ve been visiting for decades. People like Victoria Mortensen live locally and have known about the hot pots for years.
Mortensen said she grew up driving past them, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that a friend brought her down there.
“When he described them to me, he just was like, ‘Oh, they’re hot pools. And you can jump in the river and cold plunge, and there’s like multiple different pools that you can go into,'” she said. “I was like, ‘Man, I can’t believe I never been!'”
Snagging the last open parking spot Thursday, Mortensen explained how relaxing and fun the pools are. However, she’d heard rumors that the hot pots weren’t really a good place to visit.
“I kind of expected the first time I went to see something weird, just because what my parents were telling me. But it was totally clean, totally fine,” she said. “We had a good conversation with somebody else that was there.”
Mortensen had no idea that the hot pots are actually on private property, especially considering how popular they are with no real signage indicating they weren’t open.
“I haven’t heard that it was private property, or just I assumed that it wasn’t just because there’s so many people here all the time,” she said.
While there is a fence up by the entrance, people very easily walk around it, and the trail appears to be well-built and maintained. There’s even a garbage bin at the beginning of the hike for trash. There isn’t a single ‘no trespassing’ sign in sight or any warnings for people to stay away.
Rainbow Gardens, a business up the road, owns the property. The business told KSL TV they have no comment on the situation.
Slater said some people come to the hot pots to enjoy a bath, but many are up to no good. They respond to the hot pots many times a year, he explained, but did say it is “unique” to have callouts twice in one day.
In 2022, someone was found dead in the hot pots.
“Sometimes they’re using alcohol, drugs, sometimes they fall,” he said.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office said they’re looking to see if alcohol was a factor in both instances Tuesday. Both men will be OK, they added.
Slater urges people to stay away for many reasons, namely the fact that the hot springs are not open to the public and people could be cited for trespassing if the landowner chooses to take action.
“It’s not sanctioned. It’s private property,” Slater said. “This fence is put up to keep people out of it, and people have made their own path down to the hot pots.”
He warned that the kinds of activities that tend to take place there could be harmful to people. He also mentioned the potential for skin infections because the pots are not monitored for bacteria.
“Please stay away from the hotspots,” he said. “They’re private, they’re dangerous, and they’re not good for your health.”