Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Tonto National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I did this trail unexpectedly as I was planning on doing the three sisters. But I parked in at the wrong spot and took off up the trail I thought was correct. Before long I realized my mistake - oh well maybe I should up grade to PRO...

Anyway, this was a good solid to hard hike for me. Started off around 9:30. Should have begun earlier as it warmed up more than I expected that day. No biggie. This track is a little more rugged in places than my normal climbs on south mountain (Holbert, Mormon Loop, Geronimo, Devastator) but there was nothing as demanding as the steep parts of Echo Canyon @ Camelback.. Probably could use the up grade from Brooks runners to climbing shoes due to the rocks, but they did fine - no slipping.

Lots of people on the trail: couple scout troops, families even some dogs - but definitely more than lightly traveled on the weekends.

Overall great trail, great views from the saddle and on the way up. Will do this one again but would head off to the needle to extend the hike to 8 or nine miles or only after I get those 3 sisters in.

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.

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!

This trail is absolutely stunning! I couldn't stop looking around in awe. There are a few things that I would caution future hikers about: going counter clockwise, you start on Dutchman's but then after you cross a creek and see a sign for trail 235 (bluff springs?), you take that left, don't continue on Dutchman's.

Also both my my and my husband's phones read 12 miles when we finished (12.5 if you count our wrong turn) and going at a moderate pace it took 6.5 hours. Even on a relatively cool day (90 degrees as the high) with a steady breeze, we still ran out of water with about 20 minutes left, even after rationing while we hiked. We only saw one other couple the ENTIRE route, so getting hurt or running out of water would be very dangerous.

All that to say, as rough as we felt when we finished (we're used to 1-3 hour hikes) we still want to go again in the fall. It seriously was one of the most beautiful hikes!

hiking
12 days 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.

hiking
18 days 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
19 days 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.

Went up Peralta to the saddle. Great hike got there around 5:15a and it was empty. Once we got the the first vantage point, went on to “The Tree” worth going all the way. Some shade at sunrise but after that it’s a baking beauty. Tough trail but doable for most everyone. Take water, none on this trail. No scrambling and very well marked!

Hiked up to Fremont Saddle with my wife to get the awesome view of Weavers Needle. Started out about 7:30 am to beat the heat and other hikers. Had the whole view up at the top to ourselves for about a half hr. Made our way back down about 9:30 and met the flood of other hikers making their way up. Very nice moderate hike. Path is wide open and easy to maneuver.

loved! hoping this stays a secret, not many ppl on the trail. A little hard to navigate and long but worth it if you're looking to get away from all the noise of civilization =)

hiking
28 days 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!!

Beautiful day spent in solitude. Went counterclockwise starting at 11am, and ran into 3 people coming the other way. Finished around 530. Stopped halfway for a 30 minute break.

Loved the changing scenery on this hike. Went from rolling hills, to a dry riverbed, up and over the trail to Peralta.

Hiked in late April, and thought I could get away with 2.5 to 3L of water. Ran out about 2 hours before the end of the trail, making it a real adventure! I would bring 4L for this hike in the future. That first taste of cold water from the gas station was refreshing to say the least.

Would absolutely come back to this location and try it clockwise next time.

trail running
1 month ago

I highly recommend this loop. We started at 6 am in mid April and the temperatures were perfect. I ran the loop in shorts and my new balance street running shoes. After reading other reviews i chose to go counter clockwise and upon reaching the last half mile or so i am glad i did. It would have been very difficult to climb that last section and them finish the loop i think. Overall the trail was easy to follow, well designated, interspersed with technical and non technical sections, most of which was non technical. I run trails in the Houston TX area so take that to heart. I was able to finish this loop in about an hour and 45 minutes with and average pace of 11 min/mile. I run a lot, but nothing like this. The scenery was breathtaking and moving. Get there at sun up, start early, stop to take in the view from time to time, and enjoy a moderate technical trail with some great sections to fly through. I clocked the loop, counter clockwise, at 9.4 miles on my apple watch.

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!

As mentioned below, I recommend taking the trail Clockwise starting on the Peralta side. (Trail 102 to 104 to 234 to 235) If you start early enough, you will have a great view of Weaver’s Needle at sunrise. The trail is pretty well defined and you will notice when you start getting of course and I just always looked for footprints to help me find my way. There’s quite a bit of loose rocks along the 234/235 trail which is another reason why I would recommend going clockwise because I would not want to be going down hill on that part of the trail. The rest of the trail however is dirt path and easy to hike. Like everyone else has said, bring lots of water and snacks! It is the desert and this hike is long- took me about 5 and half hours or so with minimal stops and keeping pace. It’s an awesome challenging trail though and highly recommend!

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
1 month 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

Great view from the saddle!

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.

This is a gorgeous hike!!! There were hardly any other people out when I went, so it was a very nice experience. The view of weavers needle is superb. The desert is just glorious in these parts. I couldn’t stop taking photos. Oh, and I saw a collared lizard right off of the trail! I wouldn’t rate this trail as difficult though- more like moderate. But that doesn’t matter- highly recommend!

Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=75356

Where do you get the permit?

The hike back up is difficult.. the view at the bottom is worth It!

hiking
1 month ago

Really great day hike - Incredible views the whole way, no people except on the Peralta side, and a pretty steady elevation (what goes up must come down) that made it difficult but more of a moderate-difficult. The difficulty was really in the length of the hike; it took me 15 miles due to an unintentional detour.

A couple things - I went counterclockwise and did have trouble staying on the trail. My recommendation is to look for the rock cairns and if you stop seeing them, go back. You shouldn’t be in the riverbed for too long (probably 15 min) before seeing the trail on the right of the riverbed. Also, bring enough water, food, and sunscreen. Take a picture of the map at the start so you can refer to it at each junction. When I was there, a park ranger was nice enough to provide some guidance. All in all, magical and worth it.

Awesome trail but the permit does start 4-1 now and is no longer in May.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging hike with gorgeous views. Geography and geology changes constantly making it even more beautiful. Trail is not well marked and it’s easy to be on a “trail” before realizing it’s not the trail! Bring more water than usual. Your calves will feel this hike for days!!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 3-26-2018 in the afternoon. As many here all down hill then all uphill. Should have started a little earlier to spend more time there. I was hustling in both directions 1.15 hours down and 1.45 hours up. Fun hike with many views and places to explore. Not for young kids. Be prepared with water.

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