Fossil Creek Reservation System Information
Updated: March 3, 2017
April 1 - October 1
(PDF, 1.7 MB)
Tired of fighting the crowds at Fossil Creek? Do you cringe at the idea waking up at the crack of dawn in a rush to get a parking spot at your favorite swimming hole? Annoyed at being turned away at the end of a long drive in the summer heat because Fossil Creek is full? Now you can reserve a parking spot at the parking area of your choice for your day at the creek! Focus on the fun, not the frustration.
A drastic increase in use and over-crowded conditions at the Fossil Creek area has created serious traffic problems and safety issues for you and other visitors to the area. In order to alleviate these issues and give everyone a more fun and pleasant experience, the Red Rock Ranger District has implemented a reservation system for parking at the the day use sites and trailheads in the Fossil Creek and Springs area. From April 1 to October 1, a parking permit purchased and printed in advance is required to park in the Fossil Creek area.
Permit reservations can be made at Recreation.gov during the Spring-Summer season starting March 1. On the first of each month, reservations open for the following month (April reservations open March 1, May reservations open April 1, etc.). Reservations are not available during the Fall-Winter Season (Oct 2 to March 31), and parking and sites are available on a first-come-first served basis.
- In the News: Videos and articles about Fossil Creek and Springs
- Background: History and documentation regarding the area management changes
- Recreation: Learn more about visiting the Fossil Creek & Springs area
- Restrictions and Regulations: Current Forest Orders regarding camping, campfires, glass containers, and other restrictions
- Frequently Asked Questions
In the News
Payson Roundup: The living miracles of Fossil Creek
I visited last week, just ahead of the return of the permit system, imposed to manage the hoards of flip-flop-wearing visitors. Already, I have in my pack four discarded beer cans and an empty bottle of Crown Royal, left by heedless hikers... Read the full article in the Payson Roundup
Payson Roundup: Rescue Seaon in Fossil Creek kicks off over Spring Break
The visit to one of Rim Country’s most popular spots didn’t turnout like anyone expected. For the 39-year-old woman with the broken ankle and the 38 people in her group, the day took a nasty turn. And for the rescuers, the day came too soon... Read the full article in the Payson Roundup
Press Release: Fossil Creek permit reservations open March 1 for 2017 season
The public can begin making reservations through a seasonal permit system to visit Fossil Creek starting March 1, 2017. Seasonal reservations are required from April 1 through October 1, 2017, for day-use visitation in the Fossil Creek Permit Area, located within the Coconino and the Tonto national forests. Permits will now be available to reserve one month in advance on a monthly basis, which is a change from the 2016 season... Read the full press release
Because Fossil Creek is designated a Wild and Scenic River, the Forest Service must manage Fossil Creek through a Comprehensive River Management Plan. This plan will ensure the things that make Fossil Creek special will be protected for present and future generations. Visit the Fossil Creek Comprehensive River Management Plan website for more information.
- Fossil Creek Interim Management Decision Memo: The Decision Memo is a key document outlining the finalized management plan for the Fossil Creek Area.
- Fossil Creek Wild & Scenic River Interim Management Project Documents: Access all the documents and information related to planning the interim changes to Fossil Creek area recreation management. Public feedback in autumn 2015 helped the district develop and refine the final project plan.
Spring-Summer Recreation Map and Regulations flyer (PDF, 1.7 MB). The map shows the trailheads, day use parking areas, trails, restricted areas, roads, and major landmarks in the Fossil Creek area. This flyer describes the regulations and restrictions that go into effect for during the Spring-Summer busy season.
Fall-Winter Recreation Map and Regulations flyer (PDF, 1.3 MB). The map shows the trailheads, day use parking areas, trails, restricted areas, roads, and major landmarks in the Fossil Creek area. This flyer describes regulations, and restrictions that go into effect during the Fall-Winter season.
Visit our recreation pages for detailed information about recreation sites and activities in the Fossil Creek and Springs area:
- Fossil Creek
- Bob Bear (formerly Fossil Springs) Trail
- Flume Trail
- Waterfall Trail
- (area is unavailable)
For up-to-date road status and other information, call the Fossil Creek Hotline at 928-226-4611.
Restrictions and Closures
The following is a list of the current Forest Orders specific to the Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness area.
- Seasonal Restrictions: Restrictions vary by season. Visit the Fossil Creek area Forest Order information.
- Campfires, glass containers, and off-road driving are prohibited in the entire Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor area.
- Camping is prohibited in the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Corridor between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam year-round.
- 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 Road Closure Forest Order (PDF) (from the Tonto NF) for details.