Fossil Springs Trail No. 18

  

 

This strenuous trail descends four miles into a 1600' deep canyon to Fossil Springs. Loose rock and the steep ascent makes the return climb out challenging. Discover a little Shangri La where you can swim, picnic, study fossils, or explore the waters of travertine pools along the creek. 

 

Book Now on Recreation.gov!

New! Parking Permit Reservations!

Tired of fighting the crowds at Fossil Creek? Our new parking permit reservation system is here for the 2016 Spring-Summer Season!

Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): A reserved, printed parking permit is required. No more getting up at the crack of dawn to get a parking spot at the creek! Reserve a parking spot at Recreation.gov at any of the parking areas in the Fossil Creek area. During the Spring-Summer Season, the Fossil Creek and Springs area is day use only. Camping is prohibited.

See Fossil Creek Reservation System Information for more details, videos, news, and more!

 

Fossil Creek Summer Map and Guide

Spring-Summer Guide
May 1 - October 1, 2016
(PDF, 1.7 MB)

For information about current conditions, call the
Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Fossil Creek Road Partial Closure: Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is closed between Fossil Springs Trailhead (just west of Strawberry, AZ) and the Waterfall Trailhead (east of Fossil Creek Bridge) indefinitely. See the Fossil Creek Map, Guide, and Rules and the Fossil Creek Road Closure Forest Order for information. Access this trail from Strawberry, Arizona. Fossil Creek cannot be accessed by car via this route.
Operational Hours:
  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016) - Day use only! Camping is prohibited during the season. Parking lot is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The access gate to this parking lot is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The access gate will close at 4 p.m. daily; however, you may still exit the parking lot after 4 p.m.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): Gates are open 24 hours unless there is closure due to hazardous conditions.
Reservations: Make parking pass reservations on Recreation.gov. Reservations are required during the Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016).
Area Amenities: Fee charged for some activities,Parking
Fees
  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): $6.00 per vehicle per day. Permits are not issued on-site. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance on Recreation.gov.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): No fees, permits, or reservations are required.
Permit Info:
  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): Parking Permit Required Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking permit and pass are required for parking in the Fossil Creek area during the high traffic season (May 1 to October 1, 2016). Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance. Visitors must bring printed permits and passes to the site.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): No passes or permits are required.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: Summer and weekends
Restrictions: Camping:
  • Spring-Summer Season: Camping is prohibited anywhere in the permit area.
  • Fall-Winter Season: Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam.
Campfires and Glass Containers: Campfires and glass containers are prohibited between Ike's Saddle and the head of Fossil Creek. See the Spring-Summer Guide, Fall-Winter Guide and Forest Orders for information. Clear Creek Campground and Childs Dispersed Camping Area are recommended area camping sites.
Closest Towns: Strawberry, AZ (10 miles), Camp Verde, AZ (60 miles via Highway 260)
Operated By: Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611; Red Rock Ranger District 928-203-2900
Information Center: Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

General Information

Parking:

Parking

  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): Permit is required for parking. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance. Visitors must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits cannot be purchased on-site. See Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Fossil Creek reservations.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): No passes or permits are required.

Directions:

Location: Five miles west of Strawberry, Arizona. Access the waterfall from the creek-side access via Camp Verde. The waterfall is a 20-mile round trip hike through the desert from this trailhead.

GPS (Map): 34°24'24.3"N 111°34'06.4"W

Access: From Stawberry, AZ, take FR 708 to end of road. The trailhead will be on your right. Between May 1 and October 1, 2016 a parking permit is required to park at this trailhead.

 

 

Download seasonal recreation guides for Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness

Fossil Creek Summer Map and Guide

Spring-Summer Guide
May 1 - October 1, 2016
(PDF, 1.7 MB)

Fossil Creek Fall-Winter Map and Guide

Fall-Winter Guide
October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017
(PDF, 1.6 MB)


General Notes:

Attractions: trails for hiking and horseback riding, unique rock formations, great scenery, wildlife viewing, and lush riparian area

Hiking Time: 4 - 6 hours (round trip)

Rating: Strenuous, 1300' elevation change over four miles between the trailhead and the springs. Hot with little shade in the warmer months. Wear appropriate footwear (e.g., hiking boots) and carry at least a gallon of water.

Notes:

  • No motorized vehicles or mechanical equipment, including mountain bikes.
  • Spring water is not suitable for drinking.
  • This is a very hot hike in summer. Carry at least one gallon of drinking water.
  • Carry all waste material out with you.

Related Links:

 


Recreation Map

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Activities


Hiking

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Day Hiking

Parking

  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): Permit is required for parking. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance. Visitors must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits cannot be purchased on-site. See Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Fossil Creek reservations.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): No passes or permits are required.

Backpacking

Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam.

Starting spring 2016, camping is completely prohibited in the Fossil Springs Wilderness and surrounding area during the Spring-Summer Season (May 1 to October 1, 2016).

Parking

  • Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): You may purchase a permit to park a vehicle at this trailhead for multiple days to hike to a camping destination outside the seasonal permit area. A permit is required for parking at this trailhead. Reservations for this specific parking lot must be made in advance for each day of your backpacking trip. You must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits cannot be purchased on-site. See Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Fossil Creek reservations.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2, 2016 - April 1, 2017): No passes or permits are required. Overnight camping is permitted in some areas.

Horse Riding & Camping

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Amenities

Fee charged for some activities Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): $6 reserved parking permit required. No fees in Fall-Winter Season.
Parking 30 22' parking spaces, plus 3 horse trailer spaces. Spring-Summer Season (May 1 - October 1, 2016): Printed, reserved parking permit required. Parking permits not required in Fall-Winter Season.
Areas & Activities

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Location

 
  Area/Length : 
3.1 miles

  Latitude : 
34.406742

  Longitude : 
-111.568443

  Elevation : 
4303 at springs - 5689 at trailhead