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Friday, January 6, 2012

WHERE THE WILD WILLOWS WEEP

DRIPPING SPRING
Willows and pines at the lower spring
Pine-Strawberry


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 Spring and another 0.15 miles to Upper Dripping Spring.
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
ELEVATION: 5,420' -6,100' 
RATING: moderate
DOGS: leashed dogs allowed
KID FRIENDLY?: best for older kids
BEST SEASON: spring, fall, winter
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.
FACILITIES: restroom
INFO: Payson Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 928-474-7900
, 
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tonto/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=35593&actid=50

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