Fossil Springs Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pine, AZ that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
A permit is required to hike here from May 1 through September 30.
The hike was an easy 10 miles, only 1000 or so feet elevation gain so even inexperienced hikers could make the trip! We decided to see both waterfalls in one day and this involved some bushwacking. We camped near the hot springs in child's and this was the perfect way to ease our muscles after a long day of hiking.
THIS TRAIL LEADS TO THE DAM NOT THE WATERFALL.The trail listed above leads to the dam/toilet bowl (seen in most of the pictures). To access the waterfall it's best to go through Camp Verde you can park right next to it and then hike a couple miles down to the dam as well. You will see the signs for this trail say "no waterfall access". If you get to the dam you can hike a few more miles to the waterfall but they do not recommend it because it's a very tiring trail, people are often hiking in high heat weather & they are doing rescues daily. Hope this helps (look up the trail map and you'll see the trail that leads to the DAM and the trail that leads to the WATERFALL).
About this trail to the dam.. trail is great, it's scenic and well maintained. It's easy going down, the difficult part is the climb out due to the uphill climb. It astonishes me the mount of injuries, it's not that difficult (in terms of injury) if you're prepared with water and proper shoes. I went in October (mid 80 degree day) and had 3L of water, I was conservative with it and ran out just at the end. I wouldn't go with any less. It's a long trail with switchbacks, be smart and only take what fits in your pack... otherwise go in through camp verde and stick to under a couple miles.
Make sure you find the hidden cove under the waterfall to the left looking at it from the front. Bring diving goggles, the water is crystal clear full of fish. I brought only one camelback full of water the first time and ran out. Make sure to bring plenty of liquids.
Easy grade/terrain, nothing too steep. Don't miss the falls and toilet bowl paste the springs, the trail splits just before the springs, there is a sign and if you go right for about 1/4 miles you will arrive at the falls!! Just past the springs is also a good swimming area with calmer water and flat rocks to relax at.
A toughie on the way out but otherwise absolutely worth it. Get there early and have the place to yourself before others flood in.
This was such a fun hike. A little more difficult than I expected but next time I want to go camping and hang out by the creek!
This was a beautiful hike, but proved difficult for my younger children coming out. The springs, and the toilet bowl were so beautiful and the water was the clearest i've seen since being on Guam. Bring plenty of water, although carrying one gallon per person was difficult for MOM who carried more than enough for youngers! Can't wait to do it agin!
Great trail. Not too steep coming out
The trail going down was pretty easy, but the hike back up was HARD. Thought we had more than enough water ( 2 liter backpack, 2 water bottles and a Gatorade ) and could have used some more... But the waterfall and swimming is worth the tough hike
Falls are beautiful. Bring swimwear and enough water and energy for the long ascent back to the trailhead. Most of the people I saw on the trail looked alarmingly unprepared for the return trip.
Hike was not difficult, we had a kiddo with us that did it in flip flops. We got there right when they opened the gates at 8am. The water was a little chilly, but not too bad. The water fall was beautiful. By 11:30 it started to get really busy and we headed out. Overall very awesome experience.
As others have said, the hike down was not bad. The falls were beautiful and the water was clear and refreshing. Now the hike back up was a killer. I had to take frequent rests. My husband did great and didnt find it to be as difficult as I did. Thankfully there was a lot of shade to find along the way. It is very steep and very, very rocky so be aware. Wear good sturdy shoes. I went through 2.5 liters plus a 32 oz gatorade and 2 16 oz water bottles and it still wasn't enough. I ran out at the very end. My husband had the same and had a small amount left in his hydro pack when we reached the top. It took a little over 2 hours to get down and about 3 hours to get back to the top with the frequent stops. When you first start the trail there are big signs that say it is not the way to the waterfall. We got to the waterfall/toilet bowl so not sure what that was about. You will get to a flat, dry river bed that you will have to cross. I had no idea where the trail went from there and thought that was the end. Freaked me out a little. Thank goodness there are signs hanging in the tree across the river bed pointing us in the right direction. It linked us back to the trail to get to the springs or waterfall. We took the waterfall trail. Beautiful stretch of shady trees and the sound of the river along the way. It was a great trip but I am definitely feeling it today. Every muscle and joint hurt in my body! My husband is fine. Obviously I need to exercise more! ;)
This was a hike for the books! I did this hike at 10 am with two of my friends. The hike down wasn't too bad, just a little hot because it was about 90 the day we went. The actual fallls was amazing. amazingly clear waters and at the springs you can even drink straight from it, so it's a good place to fill up on water seeing as I went through 3 liters on the way down. Now, the hike up was difficult. There is plenty of places to get good footing, but the incline is totally killer. I do not recommend bringing dogs or children on this hike.
Easy 4 mile hike down hill through high desert to the creek. Once you're at the bottom the trail splits and runs along the creek where the scenery becomes lush and green. We spent some time swimming at the falls (bring water shoes) ate snacks, and reapplied sunscreen. 4 miles back are all up hill and in the sun. You'll definitely be ready for That Brewery by the end!
ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!
This was a fabulous hike, however much more difficult then I anticipated. I think primarily due to the heat as it was in the 90's coming back out. Not only are you typically in full sun, but in places the trail is extremely rocky with the heat radiating off of that. I went through 3 liters of water but used sparingly. Wish that I had more as I was empty by the time we got back to the top.