Fish Creek Trail - #60

Area Status: Open
This area is Open


The area where this trail is located has been severely affected by the Wallow Fire of June 2011. The area is currently open to public use and entry - HOWEVER trails may not have been recently assessed or maintained for hazards associated with the fire, so plan your trip accordingly.

Please keep in mind that any area affected by the wildfire can be prone to hazards such as falling trees, flooding and burned out stump holes. The environment you are entering is highly susceptible to rainstorms and wind events. Any time you enter the forest, you should be aware of your environment and changing weather conditions. You are responsible for your own safety! Always look up, look down, and look all around.

Fish Creek Trail (# 60) drops into the narrow forested canyon from a high bench that overlooks both the Black River and Fish Creek drainages.

Click here for printable information and map.

Once on the floor of the canyon it wanders downstream along Fish Creek past pools, riffles, and stepping-stone stream crossings to the point where this tributary and the Black River join. Along the way it passes an area where what is reported to have been a tornado left its mark on the forest. Dozens of downed trees make the point that nature can bring change to the forest in a number of ways.

Travelers along this trail should know that they have the Arizona Chapter of the Sierra Club to thank for the considerable sections of it that are in good to excellent shape. Although the Fish Creek Trail has been used by the Forest Service for over 50 years for moving fire fighters and other personnel through the backcountry, it fell into disrepair after 1970 when maintenance was discontinued for lack of funds and use. At that point the task of keeping the trail open was left to ranchers who continued to use it to move cattle between Fish Bench and the Fish Creek drainage. The trail stayed open but became quite rough in a number of places. During the summers of 1990 and 1991 three volunteer work groups, consisting of two Sierra Club and one American Hiking Society trips, were successful in restoring and reconstructing the entire 5.5 miles from the junction with Fish Bench Trail # 320 to the Black River.

Fish Creek harbors a pure population of Arizona's state fish, the Apache trout. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has installed a barrier across the creek to keep introduced rainbow trout from swimming upstream from the Black River and hybridizing with the population of threatened natives. You'll find this pleasant path an excellent place to enjoy a day trip or an overnight hike.

Trail Log:

  •  0.0 mile:  Depart Hannagan Campground or Trailhead.
  • 1.5 mile:   Junction with Fish Creek Bench Trail (# 320).
  • 4.5 miles:  Tornado damage
  • 5.5 miles:  Old cattle camp.
  • 6.4 miles:  Confluence of Fish Creek and Black River.

USGS Map: Hoodoo Knoll

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Best Season: May through October
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information


Because FR 24 was damaged by post-Wallow Fire flooding and is clsoed between the junction with FR26 and FR 24U, Fish Creek Trail may only be accessed via the Hannagan Meadow area. The south terminus of the trail may be access via the Acker Lake Trailhead, located on US 191 immediately south of Hannagan Meadow Campground.

The trail may also be accessed via Fish Bench Trail # 320:
On US 191 just north of Hannagan Meadow Lodge, take FR 576 north to the junction with FR 24. Turn north (right) on FR 24 to FR 24U. Turn west (left) onto FR 24U to the Fish Bench Trailhead. Follow Fish Bench Trail # 320 .8 miles to it's junction with Fish Creek Trail # 60.

General Notes:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:
Elevation desc Elevation: 8,400 feet to 6,800 feet
Difficulty Desc. Rating: Moderate
Difficulty Level: Moderate


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Horse Riding & Camping

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  Elevation : 
6,800 feet - 8,400 feet