Waterfall Trail on Fossil Creek

  

 

Waterfall Trail is the most popular area at Fossil Creek. The one-mile trail follows the creek to a natural waterfall, where crowds spend the day swimming. This rewarding hike showcases the beauty Fossil Creek has to offer. However, swimming and cliff diving near the waterfall is extremely dangerous, and has led to several drowning deaths and severe injuries. Fossil Creek offers miles of gorgeous water features and secluded, crystal clear swimming holes.

Waterfall Trail Photo Gallery [Flickr]

 

Book Now on Recreation.gov!

Permits Required April 1 to October 1

No more fighting the crowds at Fossil Creek! Visitors proclaim the new permit system is a roaring success.

Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): A reserved, printed permit is required. Reserve a parking spot at Recreation.gov for any of the parking areas in the Fossil Creek area. During the Spring-Summer Season, the Fossil Creek and Springs area is day use only. Camping, campfires, and glass containers are prohibited.

See Fossil Creek Reservation System Information for videos, news, and more!

 

 

For current conditions, call the
Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Fossil Creek Road Partial Closure: Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is closed between Fossil Springs Trailhead (just west of Strawberry, AZ) and the Waterfall Trailhead (east of Fossil Creek Bridge) indefinitely. See the Fossil Creek Map, Guide, and Rules (guía en Español) and the Fossil Creek Road Closure Forest Order for information. Flume Trailhead (Irving parking lot) cannot be accessed from Strawberry. 
Operational Hours:
  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Parking lot is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The access gate closes at 4 p.m. daily; however, you may still exit the parking lot after 4 p.m.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2 - March 31): Gates are open 24 hours unless there is a weather related closure.
Reservations: Make parking pass reservations on Recreation.gov. Reservations are required during the Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1).
Area Amenities: Fee charged for some activities,Parking
Fees
  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): $10.00 per vehicle per day. Permits are not issued on-site. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance on Recreation.gov.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2 - March 31): No fees, permits, or reservations are required.
Permit Info:
  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Parking permit required for parking in the Fossil Creek area. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance through Recreation.gov. Visitors must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits cannot be issued on-site.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2 - March 31): No fees or permits required.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Camping:
  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Camping is prohibited anywhere in the permit area.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2 - March 31): Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam.
Campfires and Glass Containers: Campfires and glass containers are prohibited between Ike's Saddle and the head of Fossil Creek. See the Spring-Summer Guide, Fall-Winter Guide and Forest Orders for information. Clear Creek Campground and Childs Dispersed Camping Area are recommended area camping sites.
Closest Towns: Camp Verde, AZ
Restroom: Temporary portable toilets
Operated By: Red Rock Ranger District 928-203-2900
Information Center: Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

General Information

Directions:

Location: Fossil Creek is located about 22 miles southeast of Camp Verde (86 miles south of Flagstaff) off paved and dirt roads. Fossil Creek Rd. (FR 708) and Childs Rd. (FR 502) are steep and very rough. These roads may be extremely muddy, slippery, and treacherous after it rains.

The creek and waterfall cannot be accessed by car from Strawberry, AZ! A portion of Forest Road 708 is closed from Fossil Springs Trailhead to Waterfall Trailhead due to hazardous cliff collapse and damage to the road. The only way to access the Waterfall Trailhead by motor-vehicle is to take the road from Camp Verde.

Access via 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 SR 260 on the right, signed as Fossil Creek/Verde River. Travel 14 miles down this rough dirt road to the trailhead parking on the left.

GPS (Map): 34°24'18.0"N 111°36'50.3"W

 

Download seasonal recreation guides for Fossil Creek and Fossil Springs Wilderness

Fossil Creek Summer Map and Guide

Spring-Summer Guide
April 1 - October 1
(PDF, 1.7 MB)

Fossil Creek Fall-Winter Map and Guide

Fall-Winter Guide
October 2 - March 31
(PDF, 1.6 MB)

 

Mapas y guías de área de permisos de Fossil Creek (Español)

Mapa y guía de área de permisos de Fossil Creek en primavera y verano

Guía para la primavera y el verano
1 de abril - 1 de octubre
(PDF, 220 kB)

Mapa y guía de área de permisos de Fossil Creek en otoño e invierno

Guía para el otoño e invierno
2 de octubre - 31 de marzo
(PDF, 250 kB)

 


General Notes:
  • Mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes and remote controlled aircraft, are not permitted in the Wilderness.
  • This area can be quite hot in summer. Bring plenty of drinking water.
  • No trash service: Take all your trash with you when you leave to avoid fines for littering/trash dumping.
  • Please practice Leave No Trace ethics and help keep this area pristine.

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

Fossil Creek Road Partial Closure: Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is closed between Fossil Springs Trailhead (just west of Strawberry, AZ) and the Waterfall Trailhead (east of Fossil Creek Bridge) indefinitely. See the Fossil Creek Map, Guide, and Rules (guía en Español) and the Fossil Creek Road Closure Forest Order for information. This trail cannot be accessed from Fossil Springs Road in Strawberry, Arizona. From Camp Verde, Arizona: Take SR-260 east to Fossil Springs Road. The 14 mile drive to the trailhead is very rough. A high clearance vehicle is strongly recommended!


Parking:
  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Permit is required for parking. Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance. Visitors must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits cannot be purchased on-site. See Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Fossil Creek reservations.
  • Fall-Winter Season (October 2 - March 31): No passes or permits are required.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Hiking

Show detail SHOW

Amenities

Parking 20 22' parking spaces. Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Printed, reserved parking permit required. Parking permits not required in Fall-Winter Season.
Fee charged for some activities Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): $10 pre-purchased parking permit required. No fees in Fall-Winter Season.