Fossil Springs Trail

HARD 203 reviews
#3 of 105 trails in

Fossil Springs Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pine, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. 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.

DISTANCE
8.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1479 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

A permit is required to hike here from May 1 through September 30.

2 days ago

We backpacked this with the baby on our back. nice and easy day hike. It was very shaded and the rocks, the creek, the falls, and swimming holes were gorgeous.
!! BUT!!! The Deal Breaker...
Although it was pretty, this trail is highly trafficked by college kids. We saw naked people, and lots of craziness. Once we were at the creek, it was CROWDED. We swam for a bit, but felt weird with our 2 year old under the circumstances.
I might consider going in the late fall when there is no swimming, so it might be less trafficked.

hiking
11 days ago

This is a very enjoyable trail but be careful and do NOT get lulled into a false sense of confidence because it's downhill the entire time. If you are going in warm/hot weather, chances are you will get to the spring, cool off, become all relaxed, and then have a suffer-fest on the hike back out. The return hike is about 4 miles of steady elevation gain, so be prepared! The gain is gradual in most places, which is good, but also be prepared for a little bit of rock scrambling in places where the trail has a lot of loose rocks.

hiking
25 days ago

Really nice hike! Great views, and nice waterfall at the end. One note: at the trailhead, there are big signs saying the trail does NOT lead to the waterfall. That is not true. The trail leads to the waterfall! Not sure why they lie... maybe the rest of the info on the sign is made up as well...

29 days ago

This trail is awesome! I have done it in the summer as well as the winter. The trail is crowded in the summer but worth it for the swim. We only encountered four other people on the trail this time, which was great. The hike is pretty easy going down but be prepared for the hike back up. Bring a lot of water and make sure you have proper footwear. This is also a great hike to take dogs as my dog thoroughly enjoyed it

1 month ago

Loved this hike! Definitely be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. Plan for this to be more of a day trip than just a hike. If I were to do it again I would get there as soon as the trailhead opens, hang out a majority of the day, and hike back up as the sun sets.

You can also fill your water back up at the spring so don't forget to do that before you head back up!

2 months ago

Great waterfall and rocky terrain is fun to hike

hiking
2 months ago

Do not underestimate this trail! It was about 70 degrees when we went all the way to the falls, which required 60+ oz of water for each person, good shoes, and about 3.5 hours of hiking plus 1 hour of stopping for breaks. We logged 9 miles total. The decline is intense and there is little shade after the first mile and a half. When you get to the riverbed at the bottom, continue to either the Springs or the Toilet Bowl (waterfall). The Springs path is beautiful and goes along the creek, but of course if you've made it that far, you'll want to see the falls as well. There were still lots of golden oak leaves this weekend all along the trail, but it's mostly desert shrubbery and super dusty/rocky alternating terrain until you get to the river at the very end. The trail is well marked the whole way. There were very few people on the trail and permits aren't required, but get there early to beat the beat and get the falls to yourself for a while. Well worth the hike, but please be prepared for how difficult it is!

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Took about 4 hrs round trip to complete. Spots for camping along the way.

hiking
2 months ago

amazing trail

2 months ago

Awesome destination, perfect late October hike and swim, water is a great cool temperature. Bring water shoes to navigate slippery rocks.

hiking
3 months ago

Very hard hike after the first two miles . But, well worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

So we made the mistake of walking the Fossil Springs Trail to the Flume to the Fossil Creek Waterfall trail, and straight up 708 making a complete loop. It was really beautiful and so much fun, the falls are awesome. There was one spot of the springs trail where the springs were dried up so we walked a little further down that is how we ended up doing the fill loop. But all in all I would say this was well worth the 20 mile hike. But I wouldn't do it if you don't bring enough water and are not physically prepared to walk up and down hill for that long.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike over all was a beautiful hike, beautiful scenery. Very little trash, so the pack out what you pack in rule seems to be effective.

The trail was very steep most of the way down, a lot of loose rocks, so be mindful of them.

Now as most would consider I would be a beginner and now that I look back, I should have saved this hike for last of series of beginning hikes; however, it was a nice outing for my husband and myself and a good way to spend an anniversary. It was a hard hike, but we took our time and drank plenty of water, although our hike back up was towards the evening, so the sun wasn't beating heavily down on us. I was determined to see the falls so we began our hike at 11am and got to the falls at 3, spent 2 hrs there and began our hike back up at 6 and after much strenuous hiking, we made it to the top at 10 p.m. It was hard but like I said the scenery and falls made up for it.

hiking
4 months ago

We parked at the entrance in Strawberry and hiked down into the dam and saw the "toilet bowl". Beautiful hike, clear cool water. A lot of elevation change and can get steep. The spring water is drinkable. We bottled it and drank it. We also brought thin long sleeve shirts which we wet in the creek and that made the hike out significantly cooler. Beautiful water and an enjoyable swim. Exhausting but well well worth it.

My fitbit logged the total at 10.37 miles and I took it off for swimming. About 1500 ft of elevation change. I would not recommend to bring small children there just for that reason.

4 months ago

Incredibly clear spring water. The water falling over the dam and into the toilet bowl is beautiful. Great spot for cliff jumping. Strenuous hike out in the direct sunlight in September (bring lots of water), but well worth the hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Love this hike, but be sure to bring loooots of water!! We had to assist a fellow hiker out who was unprepared and had severe muscle cramps due to dehydration.

5 months ago

Easy hike... beautiful view all the way back..!

hiking
5 months ago

As an avid hiker I Will admit I was not prepared for this difficult hike. It was 85 degrees in the hot forest that day. We thought we were going to fossil creek waterfall but ended up coming here instead. It took several hours. We weren't prepared with water. I suggest bring extra water, snacks, and light clothing. Good shoes for the rockiness as well.

hiking
6 months ago

WARNING: BRING MORE THAN ENOUGH WATER. Then when you have enough water, bring some more. The signs suggest at least 1.5 Gallons per person. Maybe if you're hiking during the winter or cooler months. If you're planning on doing this hike during the warmer months, 2-3 gallons might be good.

We've done this hike before, so our group was forewarned and knew the hike down was going to be "easy" and relaxing and they knew to prepare for the hike out which is all uphill with the sun beating down your backs. Even coming in prepared, we had to take breaks on the way up just to wet our towels over our necks/heads. We saw two separate groups that made it about halfway and told them that if they're struggling trying to get down to the waterfall/springs, going out will be nearly impossible and one of the groups ran out of water (we gave them our water but they had already called 9-1-1 to be rescued).

So recap: Hike down will be quick 1.5-2hrs. All downhill. You've been sitting in the car for awhile so you'll feel great walking and hiking down. You finally get to the waterfalls, you swim, and loving life. Then the hike out. Uphill. Suns on your back. You think you're close to the end. Nope. More turns. More uphill. Oh that tree looks a familiar, we must be close to the end. Nope. Sun burning your arms/back. Legs burning from the incline. Then you start to worry if you have enough water. More heat. Finally reach the end and rejoice. The hike up felt like it was 2.5-3 hours.

If you're hiking this trail with 90+ degrees, please be wary. I feel that AllTrails should rate this hike as Hard/Difficult mostly for the hike out in the heat and the incline. Bring plenty of water. And then more water.

Now for the fun stuff: The Waterfall/Toilet Bowl/Springs area. This is a beautiful hike. Once you get near, you hear the roaring of the waterfall. The clear blue water allows you to see the small fish swimming beneath you. There are a couple spots for cliff jumping but make sure you check the areas to see if it's deep enough. There is also a small cave/grotto a little downstream from the waterfall. Very cool spot that you can climb onto the ledges and hop off into the water. Be careful when swimming around the falls because the current can get quite strong at some spots. The Toilet Bowl to the side of the waterfall is like a whirlpool once you get in (you can get there by diving underwater and swimming under the rock area and pop up inside the whirlpool) and I would not recommend going inside. The current is strong and if you lose your bearings, it could get really bad, really quick. Bring towels if you want to lay out, some pool floats also worked well to just chill and relax on. I wouldn't recommend this if it's crowded because it would get annoying with all the pool floats, but we were basically the only group there in this heat.

Our group enjoys this hike because it feels like you "earned" the trip. You feel exhausted and accomplished when you're done. The waterfalls and swimming holes were definitely worth the trip, but please be careful out there. BRING WATER, MORE WATER, and MORE WATER. We witnessed people almost die and had to call the ambulance. This trail with this heat is no joke.

The signs will say "This Trail Does Not Lead To The Waterfall." But it does. Just follow the signs leading to Fossil Springs/Toilet Bowl. The signs also say that this hike is difficult. Yup. Agreed.

Approximately 4.5 miles in to the falls and 4.5 miles out. Although that hike out feels like 6-7 miles.

Enjoy!

7 months ago

What a beautiful place

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