Fossil Creek

  

Fossil Creek along the FR502

Fossil Creek, one of two "Wild and Scenic" rivers in Arizona, seems to appear out of nowhere, gushing 20,000 gallons a minute out of a series of springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. Over the years these calcium laden waters have laid down huge deposits of a type of limestone called travertine. Read more...

 

Parking Pass Reservation System - Coming March 2016!

Tired of fighting the crowds at Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness? Our new parking pass reservation system is coming in March!

Starting May 1, 2016 a reserved parking pass will be required during the busy season (April 1 through October 1). No more getting up at the crack of dawn to get a parking spot at the creek! Starting March 2016, you'll be able to reserve a parking spot through Recreation.gov at any of the day use areas or trailheads in the Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness area.

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

 

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

 

Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness:

 

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.
  • From Strawberry, AZ: Use this route to access Fossil Springs Trail.
  • From Camp Verde, AZ: Use this route for creekside day use areas, Flume Trail, and Waterfall Trail access.
Reservations: Parking pass reservations are scheduled to be available March 1, 2016 through Recreation.gov.
Area Amenities: Fee charged for some activities,Parking
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Camping, Campfires, and Glass Containers: Campfires and glass containers are prohibited between Ike's Saddle and the head of Fossil Creek. Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam. See the Fossil Creek Guide and Special Restrictions Forest Order for information. Clear Creek Campground and Childs Dispersed Camping Area are recommended camping sites near Fossil Creek.

Watch this page for additional camping restrictions are planned for spring 2016.

Closest Towns: Camp Verde, AZ and Strawberry, AZ
Restroom: Temporary portable toilets
Passes: Parking Pass Required Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking pass will be required to park in the Fossil Creek area during the high traffic season (April 1 to October 1).

Watch this page for updates during February and March 2016.

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:

Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking pass will be required during the busy season (April 1 through October 1) for all day use sites and trailheads in the Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness area. The reservation system is scheduled to be available March 1, 2016. Watch this page for updates in February and March 2016.


General Notes:

Attractions: Trails for hiking and horseback riding, swimming holes, waterplay, unique rock formations, great scenery, wildlife viewing, photography, and a lush riparian area.

Notes:

  • Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking pass will be required during the busy season (April 1 through October 1) for all trailheads in the Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness area. The reservation system is scheduled to be available March 1, 2016. Watch this page for updates in February and March 2016.
  • Periodic closures of Fossil Creek Road may occur due to weather, health, and safety concerns.
  • Mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in the Wilderness.
  • This area can be quite hot in summer. Bring your own drinking water.

Directions:

Fossil Creek is located about 22 miles southeast of Camp Verde or 86 miles south of Flagstaff off paved and graveled roads some of which are always steep and very rough and usually muddy after rains. 

GPS - Bridge(Map): 34°23'39.6"N 111°37'48.1"W

Access via Camp Verde: From Interstate 17, exit 287, turn east on State Route 260 towards Payson and travel 10 miles. Between mile 228 and 229, Forest Road 708 (Fossil Creek Road) will intersect SR 260 on the right, signed as Fossil Creek/Verde River. Travel 12 miles down this rough dirt road (high-clearance vehicles recommended) to the intersection with Forest Road 502.

Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking pass will be required for all creek-side sites and trailheads during the busy season (April 1 through October 1).

  • For Day-Use Sites: Continue straight on FR708 to cross the bridge and find parking in the Tonto Bench, Irving, or Waterfall trailhead areas. 
  • For Camping (October 1 through April 1): Continue straight on FR 708 to the Homestead area before you get to the bridge or turn right on FR502 for the Old Corral, Sally May, Purple Mountain, Mazatzal, or Stehr Lakebed dispersed camping areas.

NOTE: Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is partially closed until further notice:

  • From Strawberry, closed at Fossil Creek Trailhead: Use this route to access Fossil Springs Trail.
  • From Camp Verde, closed at Waterfall Trailhead: Use this route for creek day use areas, Flume Trail, and Waterfall Trail access.

Know your destination and plan your route carefully before heading to Fossil Springs and Creek.

 

Click map thumbnail for a full resolution, detailed information flyer [PDF].

Click image for full size


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

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Activities


Fishing

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River and Stream Fishing

Fishing Regulations

Fishing is allowed seasonally, from the first Saturday in October through April 30. Fishing is allowed between the waterfall located approximately 1 mile above the Flume Trailhead parking lot along FS 708 and the downstream-most power line crossing (immediately below Sally May Wash). Catch-and-release only for roundtail chub.

Roundtail chub must be immediately released unharmed; no chub may be kept; artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only.

Parking Pass: Reservation Required

Starting May 1, 2016, a reserved parking pass will be required during the busy season (April 1 through October 1) for all trailheads in the Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness area. The reservation system is scheduled to be available March 1, 2016. Watch this page for updates in February and March 2016.


Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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Amenities

Fee charged for some activities Starting May 1, 2016, Parking pass required during busy season (April 1 to October 1)
Parking Starting May 1, 2016, Parking pass required during busy season (April 1 to October 1)
Fire Danger Level: Low
Areas & Activities

Featured Events

Location

 
  Latitude : 
34.394321

  Longitude : 
-111.630025

  Elevation : 
3605