Fossil Creek Reservation System Information

Updated: March 3, 2017

Get Your Spring and Summer Season Parking Reservations at Fossil Creek!

Book Now on!Parking permits purchased (and printed) in advance are required for all vehicles entering the Fossil Creek Wild & Scenic River area during the high season (April 1 through October 1).

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 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.


Learn more...



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


News Archive >






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.





Recreation Information

Fossil Creek Summer Map and Guide 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.

Mapa y guía de área de permisos de Fossil Creek (Español)
(PDF, 400 kB)


Fossil Creek Fall-Winter Map and Guide 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.

Mapa y guía para otoño e invierno de Fossil Creek (Español)
(PDF, 250 kB)


Visit our recreation pages for detailed information about recreation sites and activities in the Fossil Creek and Springs area:

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.