Fossil Springs Trail

#6 of 105 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 offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

8.4 miles 1479 feet Out & Back
dog friendly kid friendly birding camping hiking nature trips trail running walking horseback riding forest river views waterfall wild flowers wildlife rocky scramble
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Fossil Creek is a 8 mile out and back trail located near Pine, Arizona that features a waterfall. The trail is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Noël Fleming
6 days ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

I left a piece of my heart at fossil springs! Bring lots of water, good hiking shoes, and a bathing suit! I could have spent days here. The water felt perfect after the hike down, and although the hike back up was difficult, I was able to keep a steady pace. I brought my dog with my and we encountered a few other dogs off leash, so be weary. Make sure to get a permit before you go, inexpensive and limits the crowds which was nice. Can't wait to go back!

Michelle Frew
7 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

FYI you NOW need a permit to hike here from May 1 through September 30. I Don't want you to learn the hard way. We Didn't know this, drove 2 hours to be turned away! No joke, they did, cause they limit the sale of permits per day! The guy in front of us took the last one! Was very disappointed. Go to select fossil creek scenic river or call 877-444-6777....We ended up going to the Tonto natural bridge.

Randy Stay
11 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Joslyn Brown
13 days ago

2 Completed1 Reviews

Fossil Springs is a great hike, but come prepared. Wear good shoes or hiking boots, & plenty of water. It's all downhill, so it's all uphill coming out. Swimming is a must.

Jennifer V.
17 days ago


Steven Bell
21 days ago

6 Completed2 Reviews

Great hike, took my 6yr son and had a blast. He was a real trooper.

Jeff Manes
27 days ago

6 Completed1 Reviews

Tamara J.
1 month ago

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

Nicole Steppig
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Sally Pisano #mimi_getsfit
1 month ago

10 Completed8 Reviews

Awesome hike with beauty all around. Please stick to safety advisories people... Two kids almost drowned today in the toilet bowl . Signs were clearly posted to stay out. There's so much beauty elsewhere to adventure to. Also, remember to save water and energy for the hike out. Steep elevation will drain you quickly. Amazing trail... Enjoy!

Chris Longwell
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

This is a great hike. You can only access this trail through Strawberry AZ. Fossil creek road does not continue through. You can not reach the fossil creek trailhead from the camp verde side. Only flume trail is available from Camp Verde after 14 miles of dirt road. Both fossil creek trail and flume trail reach the waterfall. Fossil creek trail you descend 1500 ft to the creek. Roughly 4 miles. At the very least make sure you have trail running shoes. Having shoes to jump in the cool water is helpful too. You can drink directly from the bubbling spring so if you need more water on those hot days fill up there. The spring is before you reach the waterfall.

Note there is an official sign that states you can not reach the waterfall on this it goes directly to the waterfall. My wife and I were scratching our heads over that sign. It seems as the local authorities are deterring people from going down. Just be prepared with lots of water and some quick energy like oranges for the hike backup.

The swimming is fantastic. Water in the low 70s cool but not cold. If the main waterfall is busy just head down stream. There is a pool to swim in every few hundred feet. It is a beautiful oasis in the desert!

2 months ago

15 Completed5 Reviews

It's long but steady climb down/up and absolutely worth it!
I agree with everyone, can't stress enough the importance of being prepared, and there were at least 3 warning signs at the start of the descent warning of potential challenges, especially in the heat! However, I hope this doesn't deter anyone from continuing towards the creek.

We enjoyed the waterfalls, cool water and young kids appreciating nature. I'll also venture to include "awesome" and "toilet bowl" in the same sentence....

Jauna Mazzocco
2 months ago

5 Completed7 Reviews

I completed this hike....that does not mean I should have done it. This hike is not for the faint of heart. It is breathtaking and the falls were beautiful, with that said, you must have experience to hike this trail. It is a down and then up and out. Avoid during the hot months.

Cheryl Therese
2 months ago

5 Completed5 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!

Demisendra7 M.
2 months ago

Gorgeous and refreshing

Brad Evans
2 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

todd clark
3 months ago

25 Completed16 Reviews

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

Steve Ramsdell
3 months ago

12 Completed5 Reviews

Great Saturday spent

mallory garcia
4 months ago

3 Completed4 Reviews

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

Stefan Nicholas
4 months ago

4 Completed4 Reviews

Excellent Hike, recommend being in good shape as hiking out is extremely taxing. Make sure to continue on to the waterfall, it make all the hard work and time worth it. Leave early in the AM so you can give yourself 3+ hours by the waterfall. Also continue downstream for multiple falls. Our dogs love the hike as well. Please pick up after yourself, it's very upsetting to see a plastic bottle or wrapper along the trail. Bring lights in case you don't get up in time.