Fossil Springs Trail

#7 of 109 trails in Tonto National Forest
Fossil Springs Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pine, AZ that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until October.

8.4 miles 1479 feet Out & Back
hiking waterfall
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Tamara J.
4 days ago

Steep canyon trail. Beautiful creek waters. Wear sturdy shoes and bring lots of water for hike back uphill.

Cheryl Therese
1 month ago

5 Completed3 Reviews

Easy hike on the way in. Parked on the Tonto parking lot side from Payson. Parked as close as I could and hiked in. Brought my dog, daypack, and picnic, but there are a lot of people, depending on the time of year. Made it to the falls, but then decided to picnic further downstream so I can hang with my dog. It can be really hot on the way back, and definitely uphill all the way back. Great hike!

todd clark
2 months ago

23 Completed2 Reviews

I've done this many times over the years. Really miss the old dam and swimming holes.

Steve Ramsdell
2 months ago

11 Completed3 Reviews

Great Saturday spent

mallory garcia
3 months ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

so much fun with friends! the waterfall was breathtaking !!

Kate Warren
5 months ago

13 Completed13 Reviews

Absolutely beautiful and worth the 4 mile uphill climb on the way back. Make sure to fill up your water bottles in the natural spring on the way out.

Jade Ph
8 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

The hike was amazing !!! Hiking to the waterfall is easy .... But hiking back is hard !!! Lots of hiking up... My cousin wasn't ready for that kind of hike. She almost die from legs cramp !! LOL we had to stop lot of time. Hiking in the dark is nice also but make sure to have a flash light or use your phone like we did :)

Ron Thomas
11 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Beautiful hike! But the hike up is tough, need to make sure your well geared.

mark baldwin
1 year ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

My wife and I just went to Fossil Springs trail via Houston Mesa Campground this past weekend. I read at least 10 reviews prior and none were very accurate. We arrived at the trailhead at about 9 am. the parking lot was 1/2 full by this time. It was about 55 degrees but FELT warmer than that. We are avid hikers and fitness enthusiasts. being 47 years old I consider myself to be in very good shape. The hike down was easy, took us about 1.5 hours as I expected( 20 min per mile). The TOTAL distance to the "bowl" is 5 miles, not 8. By 11:00am, we could feel the heat despite the temperature only being about 65. Trust me, it feels much hotter than that. We stayed at the waterfall and bowl for about 45 mins enjoying the scenery. Our water supply was 60 oz per person and we packed bars, sunflower seeds and crackers for the hike. we started our ascent about 11:45 am and arrived at the top at 1:30 at a very brisk pace. Although I was tired, I wasn't exhausted, but I started feeling slight dehydration about 1 hour into the ascent. You can never drink enough water on these things despite the temps only being in the high 60's and low 70's. We saw people descending at 12:30 pm with NO WATER! how stupid. The heat is a fooler and it will catch you offguard.

The springs itself was magnificent. I am glad I made the 10 mile hike roundtrip. Again, its advertised as 8 but its 10. 5 miles there, 5 back. Please people, plan accordingly and get there early.

Richard Le Mieux
1 year ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

My wife and I went down for an over-nighter on Friday (Nov21). It was about a mile and a half of roughly graded road before the trail-head. TH allows parking for up to 30 vehicles. It has two clean pit toilets and bear-proof trash receptacles. We found one of the springs near the end of the trail and it was impressive! Water rushing out from the ground crystal clear. There are no campfires allowed in the creek/spring area nor improvements to the camp sites. On Friday we encountered no one on the trail down, but saw several people swimming in the 72 degree water below the falls (milepoint 4 or so). Ambient temp got down to freezing the next morning. Encountered a couple dozen people on Saturday morning (several trail runners, some hikers and a Boy Scout troop). Beautiful. Great time.

Allen Foos
1 year ago

13 Completed9 Reviews

Wow! I heard about this trail and finally ventured out last December from the Mesa area. Didn't think to check the weather closely and I arrived to 4 inches of snow on the ground! Decided to give it a go anyway and hiked for about 3+ hours, made it to the water before I decided I should head back given I was the only person for miles around .. kinda erie and no cell phone reception if I twisted an ankle! I'll be back when the weather is warmer to fully complete.

Brigid Dixon
1 year ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

LOVED this hike. The only thing I did not enjoy was the drive to get to the trail head. That you will want a truck or Jeep. I was able to do it in my Inifiniti G37 but would NEVER do it again. Thought I was going to puncture something in my undercarriage or lose my exhaust, saw a Mustang with an exhaust that was just all jacked up from the drive there.

The hike on the other hand is BEAUTIFUL. Make sure to stay near the water and you will find rope swings and a lot of hidden swimming holes along the way to the waterfall at the end. My suggestion would be to go during a weekday due to the fact that thew waterfall can be VERY crowded and was during our hike.

Richard Swanborg
2 years ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

We were prepared to hike there today. However it appears ALL of the roads (east and west) are now closed. This was posted in by the Forest Service "Payson, Ariz. (February 28, 2012) – Tonto and Coconino National Forest officials announced today that a portion of Fossil Creek Road (Forest Road 708) will remain closed until next year. (UPDATE: FR 708 from Strawberry will remain closed through 2015)
The road is closed from 1/2 mile west of the Fossil Creek entrance to the Upper Fossil Springs Trailhead extending west and down canyon to immediately east of the Waterfall Trailhead (old Flume Trail Trailhead).

Christina Lane
2 years ago

3 Completed1 Reviews

Loved this hike. It was tough, but with friends, food and lots of h20, you're good. Once you get down to the creek, that's where it hits you, how beautiful it all is.

Sergey Mitroshin
2 years ago

27 Completed1 Reviews

Amazing trail.
Long and hot, but with a great waterfall and swimming as a prize in the end.

2 years ago

6 Completed3 Reviews

Amazing hike! Bring lots of water! The waterfall and swimming hole is amazing.

Chad Zaneis
3 years ago

15 Completed2 Reviews

Incredible payoff at the bottom of the hike. Swimming holes & awesome waterfalls. You could spend all day down at the water. You wont believe you are in AZ. Easy hike down almost all downhill as you descend from the rim down to the riverbed. Tough hike out as its all uphill. We saw tons of ill-equipped people on a busy Labor Day weekend. You can also approach from the Camp Verde side but we came from the Pine, AZ side. There is an easier trail to get down there from that side but the road is closed (maybe permanantly?) to the easier trailhead so people mistakenly take the harder/longer trail and have no idea what they are in for. This is a long hike and you will need plenty of water. Be sure to check the trailhead map and make sure you are doing the correct trail.

Joshua Vigh
3 years ago

8 Completed4 Reviews

Fossil springs was a very enjoyable hike. The road to the trailhead is fairly rough. I would recommend a vehicle with a higher clearance, otherwise you will scrape your oil pan a few times. Beautiful views even from the trailhead. You will also catch some great views of coconino national forest as you descend into the canyon. Once in the canyon the trails are not well marked and it is easy to lose your way. I recommend marking which way you go so you can find your way back. The waterfall , river, and springs at the bottom are beautiful and refreshing. Plan so that you can spend some time swimming and still make it up before sunset.

John Kuhn
3 years ago

12 Completed2 Reviews

Hike was fun. It does get a little steep so it is kind of challenging on the way back up. Once you get there you can cross over the river and go maybe a half mile to a mile
Down stream where there is a waterfall. In the middle of said waterfall is a rock formation that you can climb and jump off of. Pretty fun. Only down side to this hike was the amount if garbage/trash EVERYWHERE!!! Please pick up after yourself :)

Ryan DiGaetano
4 years ago

6 Completed1 Reviews

The best hike in AZ hands down! Bring your snorkel gear and swim the fishes in the crystal clear water. Don't go on the weekend, a lot of dipshits from Phx there.