Confirmed: Fossil Creek reservations 100% booked Memorial Day weekend (Saturday May 28 through Monday May 30, 2016)

Release Date: May 26, 2016

Contact(s): Red Rock Visitor Center 928-203-2900, Media Contact: George Jozens 928-527-3412, Media Contact: Brady Smith 928-527-3490

Waterfall on Fossil CreekCamp Verde, Arizona — The Fossil Creek reservation system is working.  All 148 parking spaces within the Fossil Creek area have been reserved for each day of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. 

The Coconino and Tonto National Forests have required visitors to use the reservation system since May 1 for parking at the Fossil Creek area (Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River, AZ). The system helps manage the area better and allows visitors to reserve spots for the day during busy summer months, while reducing traffic and protecting the beautiful and fragile resources that make Fossil Creek special.

This means those who do not have reservations for the area need to look at one of the other awesome places to enjoy the forest this Memorial Day weekend. Crescent Moon Ranch, Beaver Creek Day Use Area, Beasley Flat Picnic Area, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, White Bridge Picnic Area, and Clear Creek Picnic/Fishing Area are great day-use alternatives with water access.  For more ideas, see our list of other great sites to visit.

For those who want to go to Fossil Creek at a different time, the reservation system can be accessed online at, where they can purchase a permit for $6 for the “Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River, AZ.”  The reservation entitles the permit holder to a guaranteed parking space for a single day. Reservations can also be made by calling 877-444-6777. The permits are only required from May 1 to October 1 in 2016 and from April 1 to October 1 starting in 2017 and future years. Visitors to Fossil Creek will not be required to obtain a permit and parking pass during other months of the year.

“In the past several years we have seen an enormous increase in traffic at the (area is unavailable) area during summer months, with vehicles often blocking the road.  With 207 people rescued from the Fossil Springs area alone last year, it is essential to maintain access for emergency responders,” said Nicole Branton, District Ranger for the Red Rock Ranger District. “I am thrilled to see that the public is using the new system to reserve their spot at Fossil Creek so that they can have a fun and safe experience on their public land.”

There are approximately 148 designated parking spaces within the permit area, which equates to having about 740 visitors per day within the permit area. Parking locations include Fossil Springs Trailhead, Waterfall Trailhead, Flume Trailhead/Irving, Tonto Bench, Fossil Creek Bridge, Homestead, Sally May, Purple Mountain and Mazatzal.

During the summer of 2015, the Fossil Creek area had reached full capacity by 7 a.m. on most weekends, and hundreds of people were being turned away each day. Many of the visitors had driven more than two hours to reach Fossil Creek and expressed strong support for a reservation system that would guarantee entrance to the creek upon arrival.

Individuals who are 18 years or older can make reservations to visit Fossil Creek up to six months in advance and may only park in the parking lot assigned on their parking pass for the day reserved. Only six reservations per year are allowed per person.