Fossil Springs Trail

MODERATE 154 reviews
#1 of 94 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

backpacking

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.

3 days ago

6 days ago

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

hiking
7 days 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.

9 days ago

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20 days ago

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27 days ago

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1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

What a beautiful place

2 months ago

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2 months ago

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2 months ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

2 months 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!!

2 months 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
2 months 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!