Aptly named, Dripping Springs is a duo of seep areas in a muddy embankment held together with a lattice of roots and vines. Unlike the typical gushing mountain spring, these natural water tanks – lodged beneath dirt parapets topped with ponderosa pines – work like giant earthen sponges issuing a steady dribble of moisture. Slick with moss and algae, the nutrient-rich ooze of these “weeping cliffs” sustains a green valley that spills into the hamlets of Pine-Strawberry below.
From the Pine trailhead, pick up a trail beginning at the southeast end of the parking lot near the corral. Follow this winding path a short distance to the Highline No. 31/Pine Canyon Trail No. 26 junction. From here, veer north (left) on Trail No. 26 and hike 0.5 miles to the Pineview Trail No. 28 junction and stay straight on Trail No. 26. From here, it’s one mile to Lower Dripping Springs and another 0.15 miles to Upper Dripping Springs.
Note: To extend this hike, continue 6.25 miles uphill on Trail No. 26 to the 7,200-foot crest of the Mogollon Rim.
LENGTH: 7 miles roundtrip
ELEATION: 5,420-6,100 feet
DOGS: leashed dogs allowed
KID FRIENDLY?: best for older kids
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 105 miles one way
GETTING THERE: From the intersection of SR 87/260 in Payson, go north to just south of the town of Pine, turn right at the sign for the Pine Trailhead and go 0.25 miles to the parking lot.
Bio: Serial blogger, manic hiker and “mom” to a dozen adopted dogs, Mare Czinar has been exploring Arizona trails for more than 20 years. After being led astray (or just plain confused) by outdated hiking books and online resources (hence the tagline: We got lost, so you don’t have to), Czinar sought to create a fully vetted, frequently updated online hike travelogue with current driving and hiking directions to spare fellow hikers the mental and physical wear-and-tear of aimless wandering.
In addition, blog entries are amended when road closures or wildfires restrict trail access. When not working, blogging, writing about the great outdoors or picking up dog poo, Czinar attempts to “stay found” while checking out new trails.