Fossil Springs Trail

MODERATE 143 reviews
#2 of 93 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 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.

DISTANCE
8.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1633 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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

hiking
1 day 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!

hiking
4 days ago

8 days ago

What a beautiful place

9 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

13 days ago

16 days ago

18 days ago

Overall we were satisfied with the hike. It is one of the more challenging we have done. The signs say 10 miles round trip but I believe it is longer than that. Closer to 11-11.5. It is downhill there with loose stones in areas and patches of shade. It was not difficult to climb down and took us 1.5 hours. When we got to the bottom we were pleased with the waterfall and went swimming. Defiantly wish I would have brought some water shoes because the rocks are slick trying to get in. Some people even had blowup floaties which would have been relaxing. We also brought our 5 month old puppy. It was too hot for him to walk such a long distance so he rode in a dog backpack most of the way. If you bring your dog please bring plenty of water for them and allow them plenty of rest time because there were other dogs there who struggled getting back to the top.
The climb back to the top was tiring. It is a constant incline back to the top and was in the high 80's. We brought enough water but wish we would have packed even more. A gallon or more is good! I brought an umbrella to shade my puppy but it ended up coming in handy for us as well. Everyone we passed commented on how they wish they had an umbrella too. Defiantly worth bringing!!
Make sure to enter this hike through Strawberry, AZ as the other entrance has been closed off due to landslides blocking the road. You need a permit to park because they only allow so many cars each day. We didn't have a problem getting a permit 3 weeks in advance.
Overall it was a great hike!!

25 days ago

This is probably my favorite hike. Absolutely stunning views the whole way, such a fun & easy to follow trail, amazing swimming at the bottom, and just beautiful! Totally worth the whole hike & loved every minute, if you have the chance to go then DO IT

hiking
30 days ago

Amazing hike. Visited through Strawberry. As previous reviewers note - it is all down, down, down to begin. Which, of course, means it is up, up up as you leave. Take your time, drink PLENTY OF WATER, and rest when needed and you'll be fine. Trail is well-signed. . . but somehow we missed the turn to the water!!! Accidentally hiked an extra 1.5 miles. Once you see the falls (there is a big info sign to your right), head down and left. Swim, sunbathe, relax. Pack out what you pack in!!!!! Not a lot of litter, but the few pieces we saw (including a large deflated raft) made us sad. I can't wait to return!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a moderately hard hike but worth the effort...it was beautiful! We started at the Fossil Springs trailhead. About 4 miles down the trail split to either Fossil Springs or the Old Dam/Toilet Bowl. We took the Old Dam/Toilet Bowl trail which led us to Flume Trail. The Flume Trail goes fo about another 5 miles, which we did not do. Early on the Flume Trail you will start to see some one off paths that lead to the waterfall and cave. That part was AMAZING and I definitely recommend it. By that point we were about 5 miles in total. The first 2-2.5 miles back are difficult/strenuous. Some parts are steep and require navigating through loose rock. The last couple miles back are not as difficult as most of the path is smooth (er) and have Little Rock to navigate over/through. Definitely bring water and pay attention to the warnings. We did the hike when temp was below 80. Couldn't imagine doing it above 90 as that would have made the hike much harder. ALSO NOTE: PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO BE BOOKED JN ADVANCE DUE TO POPULARITY!

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes!! Over 20 years hiking this beautiful hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome spot to hike. Beautiful place to go cliff jumping. Arizonas way better then Michigan!!!

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Worth hiking to the Falls!

1 month ago

Best hike I've done in AZ! I'm an experienced hiker here in Arizona and I wish I had been recommended this trail sooner. Views along the way are great and the springs and water holes are AMAZING. Follow the signs and go to the toilet bowl. That is where the waterfall and swimming pools are. The water temperature was great! Bring lots of drinking water, hiking shoes, and a swimsuit (water shoes and goggles if you can) cause you'll want to swim in this pristine water. We also brought a packed lunch and some cards to spend some time in this haven. It's great that this location is permit only, because we did not have to fight any crowds and we felt like we got to enjoy paradise all on our own! Go down the stream a bit from the toilet bowl to find some beautiful caves. The hike was not hard. We made it down in an hour and 15 and hiked back up in an hour and 45. The hike back is not bad, take your time if you need to! *Note: there are signs at the beginning of the trail that says this trail does not go to "the waterfall". We arent sure what those signs meant because we went to a big waterfall (toilet bowl)! So perhaps there is another waterfall or the signs are incorrect? I think they are incorrect...But never fear, follow the trail and you'll get to the waterfall you see in the pics here.

hiking
1 month ago

It's hard to do only because it's so long and flat. They are warning signs every couple feet in the beginning to scare you. If you're an experienced hiker and have a couple bottles of water you'll be just fine. If you go up to the "toilet bowl" it's an amazing swimming hole

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago