Childs Dispersed Camping Area

Area Status: Open
The Childs Power Plant as seen from the camping area.

In 1908 the Arizona Power Company began construction of the Childs Power Plant. For more than 90 years, the water of Fossil Creek had been diverted by a system of pipes and flumes from its natural course to power the turbines of the Childs and Irving hydroelectric plants. During this time, Fossil Creek had been reduced to a mere trickle, compared with the normal one million gallons per hour flow once witnessed by early inhabitants of the region.

In 2004, APS, the current owner of the plants, agreed to decommission them and restore the creek to its natural flow. (From "Pine-Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society")

The area is now a very popular dispersed camping area. It sits below the remnants of the old power plant buildings on the edge of the Verde River. A short hike upstream and some wading will get you to the ruins of the Verde Hot Springs, a once famous resort.

Photos & Multimedia

At a Glance

Fees: Free. There is no fee for dispersed camping at undeveloped camping areas on the Coconino National Forest. There are no amenities at this camping area.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: Weekends
  • 14 Day Stay Limit.
  • Seasonal closures or fire restrictions/closures may be in place.
  • No garbage services.
  • Please practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out your trash.
  • During both Stage 1 and Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, campfires are prohibited at this site.
  • Gas operated devices with an on/off switch are allowed.
Closest Towns: Camp Verde, AZ and Strawberry, AZ
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Operated By: Red Rock Ranger District - 928-203-2900

General Information


Location:  About 30 miles southeast of Camp Verde or 86 miles south of Flagstaff off paved and graveled roads some of which are always steep and rough and usually muddy after rains.

GPS (Map): 34°20'52.9"N 111°41'50.5"W

Access: From the White Bridge in Camp Verde, go east on Hwy 260 6.8 miles to FR 708 (Fossil Creek Road); turn right and go 15 miles to the junction of FR 708 and FR 502. Go south on FR 502 for 6 miles of VERY BAD Road to the Childs Power Plant and the Verde River.

General Notes:

Attractions: Trails for hiking and horseback riding, Unique rock formations, Great scenery, Wildlife viewing, Lush riparian area.

High clearance vehicles highly recommended. Four-wheel-drive may be helpful.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Dispersed Camping

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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