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 material called travertine. Read more...


Restrictions, Warnings, and Important Notices

Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

Partial Road Closure: Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is closed between Fossil Springs Trailhead and the Waterfall Trailhead until further notice. 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 creek day use areas, Flume Trail, and Waterfall Trail access.

Campfires are strictly prohibited between Ike's Saddle and the head of Fossil Creek. Camping is strictly prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam. See the Fossil Creek Map, Guide, and Rules and Special Restrictions Forest Order for information. Clear Creek Campground and Childs Dispersed Camping Area are recommended camping sites near Fossil Creek.

Warning: Fossil Creek Periodic Road Closures

Roads may be closed due to traffic problems caused by high visitor traffic and traffic congestion issues). See Safety Information: Health and Safety concerns warrant periodic Fossil Creek Road closures for more information. For an up-to-date information, call the Fossil Creek Hotline at 928-226-4611.

If you wish to visit Fossil Creek, we recommend arriving early in the morning (before 7AM), or planning your visit during late fall, winter, or early spring to avoid issues caused by high visitor traffic.

Get involved in the future of Fossil Creek and Springs: Learn how to receive details about management changes and to be able to provide comments.


Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness:

At a Glance

Open Season: Year 'round
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Camp Verde, AZ and Strawberry, AZ
Restroom: Temporary portable toilets
Operated By: Red Rock Ranger District - 928-203-2900

General Information

General Notes:

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



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

From 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 SR260 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.

  • 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: 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: The 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.


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Recreation Map

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Camping & Cabins

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River and Stream Fishing

New Fishing Regulations for Fossil Creek!

Fishing is allowed seasonally, from the first Saturday in October through April 30 (starting Oct. 3, 2009). 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.


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Nature Viewing

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Fire Danger Level: Low
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