Fossil Springs Trail

HARD 272 reviews
#3 of 120 trails in

Fossil Springs Trail is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Strawberry, 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
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1486 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 drive/hike here from April 1 - October 1. The road is closed west of this trail, so visitors must drive from Strawberry, AZ area.

hiking
13 days ago

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

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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!!

2 months ago

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!

2 months ago

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
2 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

hiking
2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

Great hike!

2 months ago

Fun

hiking
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

Where do you get the permit?

2 months ago

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

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice trail! The end with the waterfall gives you strength to go back up! Take you time and drink lots of water! Dont try yo take nice pics over the waterfall edge! Helicopter ambulances cost a fortune!

3 months ago

amazing trail, the springs look straight out of Lord of the Rings. it's a constant climb on the way back from the springs which are a must see! explore the pool depths because cliff jumping is worth it. the far cave is also worth exploring.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views. Hike is a tough one, but doable. Need a LOT of water. I carried 3L and ran out.

hiking
3 months ago

We went the first part of March and I felt it was a perfect time to go to miss the crowds and heat. I did this hike several years ago in the summer and it was miserable. This time this hike was fantastic! Yes, it had it’s difficult moments but it was beautiful down and back and the falls were worth everything you go through. Great, great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

fantastic hike, well worth the trek back up. definitely need to make it an overnighter next time, 2 hours exploring just isn't enough!

4 months ago

Loved it. Great hike!

backpacking
4 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in Arizona. I've done this as a day hike and a weekend camping trip. It's worth spending the night at the bottom. Hiking down, swimming for a couple hours and then hiking out can be exhausting, but it's doable. Bring lots of water, or plan on collecting water at the bottom. The hike out is hot. Be courteous and remember fires are not allowed, I was disappointing to see a scout troop having a fire down there. Fires disrupt camp sites, and often turn into dump sites for trash. This trail gets a lot of traffic, and camp sites are dispersed at a premium, so hike during the week or on Friday to get a good spot. Good spot location of those who hammock camp. I will be doing that next time.

hiking
4 months ago

Loved it! 4.2 miles down to the falls which were amazing. Hiked it on Feb 13th and didn’t see one person. Beautiful hike but the hike back up was a challenge took about an hour and a half. Well worth it!

4 months ago

Hiking down to the falls you can easily see what all the hype is about. We saw only one other party that day on the way out, so we were fortunate to have the place to ourselves. In the summertime this hike is restricted to a permit for parking your car. Do your research before showing up. There were signs in multiple places how 200 people need medical and rescue every year coming back up trail. Personally I think you have to be very out of shape to not complete this hike.

4 months ago

I did this trail on January 31st. It is an amazing trail. Of course pretty easy going down the mountain. There was snow at the top when we started. It gets rocky going down. The whole time thinking going back was going to be tough. I took my two dogs. Pit bull mixes and they're great hikers so they made the hike ok. But I wouldn't recommend taking dogs who don't hike a lot or in the summer. It took about an hour to get down to the falls. I was there all alone for about 2 hours. Was warm and hot in the canyon so I was able to swim which was awesome. The place is definitely a reward and worth the hike back up. I broke this down into 1 mile pieces and took a little break. Take your time going up, it's no joke.

hiking
4 months ago

Overall was a great trail. At first you sense how easy this trail seems to be but don’t be fooled. The decent to the waterfall was fairly simple with few exceptions and equates to about 6 miles. Although the sign says this trail doesn’t reach the waterfall, it does. The trek up from the creek is pretty intense and in the winter with snow/ice it made for a challenging time. Plan ahead and make sure you can handle the ascent; it’s no joke.

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