A little disclosure before we begin: this is actually located in Littlefield, Arizona, not Utah, but is only a short 30 minute drive from St George, and about 10 minutes from Mesquite.
Little Jamaica, aka Desert Springs or Littlefield Springs, is a desert watering hole oasis along the Virgin River, under a freeway overpass. This makes it impossible to find if you don’t know it’s there, and noisy from the sounds of the cars going by. But it’s definitely a hidden gem.
To get to the main soaking pool, it’s just a .25-mile walk from the parking lot. Not much of a hike, but well worth the stroll to get to the hot springs. The trailhead is a gap in the fence at the parking lot. You will see a sign that reads “PRIVATE PROPERTY: No Extended Parking; No Dumping; No Liability Responsibility by the Owner; All offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Little Jamaica is on private land, but the owner has graciously allowed people to access this gem. When you go on this hike, please respect the environment. Do not graffiti or carve in the rocks, and pack out everything you pack in, including trash.
I have been here multiple times, and every visit this amazing gem gets more and more trashed. Graffiti started showing up all over the rocks, people’s trash are thrown all over the trail, and even in the water. I cannot fathom how people do this. It infuriates me and disgusts me. This is such an awesome place, and to watch it get destroyed by people who have zero respect, is unfathomable.
As of November 2018, Little Jamaica has officially been closed.
The Arizona Department of Transportation stated: “In the interest of public health and safety and to address the maintenance burden and increased liability it creates for ADOT, we are removing the manmade pool nicknamed ‘Little Jamaica’ within the I-15 right of way,” Ryan Harding, an ADOT representative, said in an email to St. George News.
“As was noted during public involvement for the bridge-replacement project (freeway overpass), this site frequently has trash, human waste and other types of waste and lacks water-quality monitoring,” Harding said. The pool, which was created by sandbags what were fixed together with concrete, will be removed. A fence will be placed around the site to prevent future diversion of the spring, Harding said.
When Sgt. John Bottoms, of the Arizona Department of Safety, spoke about his own experience with Little Jamaica, his descriptions weren’t the most flattering. “The times I’ve been there to assist with (law enforcement) calls, the place was a cesspool,” Bottoms said. “There was always debris and trash around there, and a lot of used condoms.”
How long are we going to ignore it? How long are we going to allow our children and our neighbors and ourselves to literally swim in the filth that we leave behind? How long are we going to rationalize to ourselves that it is okay to dump and ditch, that it’s just “one piece of trash”? How do we allow ourselves and others to take advantage of the natural earth, to leave behind trash and filth, to tarnish an otherwise beautiful oasis? If you cannot respect nature and leave nothing but footprints, please, STAY HOME. Do not ruin our beautiful earth and the opportunity for others to experience these amazing places because you have zero respect.
Spring 2020 update:
2 years after Little Jamaica closed, it has officially been re-opened! I’ve been a few times already and I’m super happy it’s back up and running. I will say, the trash is already starting to pile up again. Which leads me to wonder how long it will remain open. If you visit, PLEASE, for the love of all that is holy – pick up your trash!