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My first time hiking this trail...and LOVED it!! What I learned:
1) Trail is rocky, wear comfortable, supportive HIKING shoes, your feet will appreciate it. Take water shoes or sandals (Teva is my favorite) for when you’re ready to jump in the swimming holes
2) Have PLENTY of water to drink!! When you think you have enough, take some more. Other option is to fill your water bottle at the spring.
3) Watch our for critters...2 fellow hikers saw rattle snakes and 1 saw a tarantula...I got lucky and saw a deer.
4) The sun can be a bit brutal so make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
5) Pace yourself on the way back up, take breaks in shady areas (when you can find one), the trail is exposed to the sun
6) Pack light snacks
7) DRINK WATER!!
8) Have fun!! Happy hiking!!

This trail is very nice and finished by a waterfall !! We took 3h to reach it. At the crossing roads between "Spring" and "Dam", the first one is a little bit longer and you have to cross the river just before the fall but the trail has more shadow and follow the river. Bring a lot of water (we have 3 liters per person), because the return climbs.

hiking
10 days ago

Very Short, very heavily tracked, but absolutely beautiful!

Went 7/19/18- Left Phoenix at 6:30 am and arrived at 8:30. Perfect weather to get started! The walk down was a breeze, but we accidentally didn’t follow the fossil springs trail at the bottom (rookie mistake) so we added on an extra mile. Once we got on track we made it to the waterfall by following the sign for trails/the dam. Had the place all to ourselves! The water was cold but refreshing and crystal clear. We packed a sandwich to split, apples, and protein bars which we munched on in the 1.5 hours we stayed.
Now the hike up was no joke. Saving graces- Brought a hand towel to wipe our feet off before putting shoes back on and I soaked it in the water and it kept cold on my neck the whole walk. Found perfect walking sticks and I’m not sure I would have made it back without it to push me up. Refilled any and all water bottles in the spring.
It was 82 degrees climbing out, took us exactly two hours with stopping probably 20 times, and we went through 3 liters each of water the whole day. I’m not going to lie- definitely not for beginners, especially not in the heat! My boyfriend and I are both in decent shape and we each had our “I can’t go on” moments!

1 month ago

It’s a beautiful hike but moderate is an extremely generous rating. The only thing moderate is the distance. The trail is difficult to follow, the terrain is very challenging and the elevation is very steep for the distance traveled. This needs to be changed to hard. Not for little kids and make sure you wear good protective footwear.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike yesterday (late March) before the permit system went into effect. Gorgeous hike, but the way back up was pretty grueling but probably because I’d just moved from sea-level Maryland. Don’t skimp on the water— I drank over 3 liters when it was ~78 degrees and sunny. Glad they’re implementing a permit system— this area is gorgeous and is definitely showing signs of overuse.

Best hike I’ve ever been on! Bring an inner tube ($2 at Walmart/ frys) to be able to float along the many pools of water. Beautiful!
Rope swing made for some fun. So amazing!

Wear hiking boots. Bring water hiking sandals and clothes to get wet in. We change into our water sandals when we get to the first crossing and keep them on until we are done and are back across to where we put them on . Dry feet and hiking boots are nice for the hike out after having wet feet all day. Creek is about knee to thigh high at the first crossing. Water is clear and refreshing. Many swimming holes along the whole trail. Remember, this area has flash floods. You may not be able to safely cross the creek during times of rain in the surrounding areas. The hike out is exposed after you leave the creek. Hot in the summer. We love this area. The more you explore the more you find to enjoy. Leave no trace.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike down, and even more wonderful below. Watch out for poison oak my friends!

Just went to Bullpen Swimming Hole

hiking
2 months ago

Must do! Follow their advice: lots of water, snacks make it a pleasant afternoon. Hiking shoes and poles are great!

Absolutely gorgeous trail!! It offers it all! Goes from a desert drive, to a woods-y trailhead, and then the hike scenery is back and forth a few more times. Truly a unique place. Like previous reviews state, there are three different creek crossings within the first three miles. You can find a few campsites off the trail to the left after the third crossing, if you wish to stay a night or two. I would highly recommend bringing some camp/water shoes along with you, and having something accessible to dry your feet off with. I had a bandana and clipped on to the front of my pack to make my transition a bit more smooth, and it made a world of difference. It's hard to put dry socks on wet feet. Also, the first and second crossing are less than a tenth of a mile apart. If you are switching into camp shoes like I did, leave them on until after the second crossing. Trust me! I saw/heard a ton of lizards in the dry brush along the way, spotted a few small critters at camp, but no snakes or scorpions anywhere. Just be diligent and keep your eyes and ears open. Please practice Leave No Trace as well, and keep this hidden gem as beautiful and serene as it is now. Happy trails!

I just got turned around, it’s closed. Most everything North of payson is closed. South of Payson is open.

Will update rating when I get the chance to go.

FYI: I was planning on hiking this trail over memorial weekend but just received an email that they are closing this area on Wed May 23, 2018 due to wild fires. Anyone who have bought a permit will be refunded. Will plan to go again when they reopen.

2 months ago

We had a great hike. was short and was finished in 1 1/2 hours and we stopped a bunch of times. trail is difficult to find most the time, but what makes that ok is your walking along the river and you can blaze your own way. passed about 8 families along the way and a group fishing in a large area with about 6 fish on their stringer. it's may 20 and temp was good.(80 degrees)

Nice hike here in Arizona Steve going down steep coming up. Beautiful waterfall and water to swim and was not as cold as I expected had a great time.

Great hike! It really helps to go with someone who has been or ask to know exactly where to go. This particular hike is not straight to the waterfall. You can get to the waterfall from this hike though. This is closer to 10 miles. We went on a day that was windy and the high was 76° F. I don't think I would want to do this on a hotter day. Pick a windy day!
When you get down to the bottom to the Spring there is a wooden sign that says left to the spring or right to the dam. If you want to get to the waterfall go toward the dam. You'll start going back up hill a little bit it's not bad. It's about another mile from the spring to the waterfall.
There is a great little ledge to jump from when you're looking at the waterfall.
The toilet bowl that you'll hear others talking about is right next to the waterfall. You can jump into it and come up on the other side of the rock into the calm water. There is lots of swimming areas and a beautiful little area to swim into close to the waterfall.
There are some reviewers saying this isn't for kids or dogs but our 8 & 10 year old kids did this and our mini poodle. They did awesome! Dogs are allowed on a leash. We've done similar hikes though. Like Horton Springs (6.7 miles), and Devils Bridge (6+ miles).
Just make sure you bring some sunscreen! And we had 3 gallons of water on us and didn't drink it all between the 4 of us. You definitely drink more going back up.
It took us 3 hours to hike down to the waterfall, and 3 hours back up. And spent about 2 hours at the waterfall. It's beautiful! We loved it!

hiking
3 months ago

GOTCHA ALERTS, PLEASE READ
The Spring trail is well marked, however just like others said read the warnings and be well prepared.
WATER, WATER and more water. We finished one gallon each by the time we were done.
WHEN GETTING TO THE WOOD SIGN, TAKE THE DAM(N) RIGHT, the spring to the left takes to where the water comes out of the mountain. The DAM trail takes up about a mile straight to the pools and dam, AKA the toilet bowl and water fall.
You can also take Flume trails which is easier, alas longer and get to the exact same dam, Many families with kids take the Flume trail since it's not as rocky or steep, once again, read all the review and see my attached picture.

3 months ago

This is the second time I have been here. The waterfall this time wasnt to heavy but it is still a beautiful sight to see. My kids had a blast!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike! But be prepared.
Do not underestimate the recommendations. Bring at least 1-1.5 gallons of water each person. You will need it and it will be a matter of whether you can make it back up or not.
Wear sunscreen!
Bring a hat.
If you can hike back up before the sun is blistering or after, that’s ideal.
Plan to spend a few hours down by the water, it’s beautiful and refreshing, bring lunch and some other snacks. Don’t forget to reserve some every for the way back up- yes, UP! Those small inclined hills don’t feel so small when you are already tired and hot!
Now for my personal experience : I’m not very physically active - I just barely made it back to the top. What saved me was: the amount of water I brought, a shirt wrapped over my head and a small towel soaked in water periodically wrapped around the back of my neck. Without those three, I think I would have had heat stroke. The hike back under the 4pm sun is a bit brutal (I went early May)
If you end up like me- I recommend taking your time up the hills. Take as many breaks as you need to catch your breath before you continue. It was very much mind over matter for me and I just kept thinking of the end result. I looked forward to “landmarks” to keep me going, like the little wooden hut which is the halfway point, and the signs towards the first 1/4 of the trail.
Rest in shady areas and take your time as needed.
If you are not physically active and are questioning your capability , I recommend skipping it and doing the four mile round trip hike instead. If you brave it out anyway and find yourself struggling, I hope my advice helps 
I’ll be doing the 4 mile hike RT next time
Other things: don’t forget the permit. Water shoes are helpful.
Not for kids
Not for dogs
Took me about 2-2.5 hours each way

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail in AZ - read other reviews and took advice! Hiked at the beginning of May, got the permit in April. Downhill on the way in, uphill on the way out. Went on a Friday morning/afternoon and were the only ones there until about 12:30 pm. The temperature was in the 80s and my bf still drank his 3L of H2O. The water was awesome, and I recommend swimming. Wear good shoes, bring lunch, know what you’re getting yourself into. One of the best trails in AZ. A friend actually recommended it to me when I couldn’t get a permit for Havasu.

hiking
3 months ago

A beautiful trail of boulder hopping. The sounds of the birds, the coolness of the trees and the many colored rocks. We hiked in 2 hours and back, I would of loved to go further.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike! We left around 10am and it took us two hours to get down with a couple short breaks. Once we got to the springs it was perfect to swim in the water and just enjoy the beautiful day. It took us an hour to get out but hiked out at 3pm—the hottest part of the day. Definitely look forward to going back again soon!!

Make sure you take a right when you get to the fork on the trail. Left for spring (top of waterfall) right for dam (bottom). Took about 7 hours pacing myself and spending time at the waterfall. Hiked in mid April and water was great!

Was absolutely worth the wait and yes although a tough hike, with plenty of water, proper shoes, snacks & laughter from friends, recommend this hike. Get permit and enjoy.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike in, long, and fairly intense but manageable on the way out. Only real
Shit part is that first mile back up, it’s the steepest. Swimming hole totally worth everything! I encourage anyone who is a good swimmer to go into the toilet bowl. So fun. Bring good swimming goggles. Fill your water bladder up at the beginning of the springs, where it’s filtered. It’s clean water, straight from the earth. Enjoy

Amazing! Definitely not easy on the way back up but it’s tolerable! It was my first longer hike in many years, and i felt extremely accomplished when I made it back to the top.I can’t wait to go again! One thing... bring A LOT of water! I brought 5L and had my last sip as I got to the car.

Great hike!

4 months ago

Amazing hike! Its very short and its kind of steep but with decent gym shoes you'll be fine. The rocks are slippery at the bottom but it's so worth it! I'd go back again. There's also a $7 fee.

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