Bell Trail No. 13
Bell Trail is the primary trail used to access Wet Beaver Creek Canyon and the Wet Beaver Wilderness (2.7 miles from the trailhead). Starting from the trailhead, the trail follows the contours of the canyon from a bench well above the streambed. What starts as a hike through the canyon bottom surrounded by junipers and mesquite trees slowly becomes an escarpment of red sandstone and scenic views of the riparian area, the canyon, and the surrounding mountains and valleys. After crossing Wet Beaver Creek, 3.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail begins ascending the canyon’s southern wall to a high, grassy plateau where it winds through pinyon juniper stands and open grasslands, offering views that stretch past the Sedona Red Rocks Country and to the San Francisco Peaks.
At 7.7 miles long one-way, it traverses a long stretch of the wilderness before exiting and connecting with Forest Service Road 214. Those interested in a more challenging hike can go the entire length, but those who prefer a shorter hike have options as well. Diverging from Bell Trail are White Mesa (1.7 miles from trailhead), Apache Maid (2.2 mi), and Weir (2.5 mi) trails, all offering alternative opportunities for recreation. Many hikers and anglers take advantage of the creek that runs parallel to Bell Trail for several miles. Swimming holes are popular destinations during the summertime.
Wilderness areas are rare, wild places set aside by Congress where the land is allowed to retain its natural state, serving as a natural haven for humans to escape modern civilization and for nature to be itself. To help minimize human impacts in wilderness, motorized and mechanized equipment are prohibited by law, including bicycles, strollers, carts, and remote control aircraft, and drones. We also ask that visitors practice Leave No Trace ethics.
In order to protect this fragile desert riparian area, campfires and camping are prohibited along much of the Wet Beaver Creek to help minimize damage to soil and vegetation, reduce disturbances to wildlife, and prevent pollution of the creek. Wet Beaver Creek flows into the Verde River, a critical water source for many cities and communities in Arizona.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||Do not attempt this trail in the summer without being prepared! Bring the necessary footwear, plenty of water and food.|
|Operated By:||Red Rock Ranger District - 928-203-2900|
Location: 43 miles south of Flagstaff on paved and all-weather graveled roads.
Access: Drive 40 miles south from Flagstaff on Interstate 17. Leave the interstate at the AZ 179 interchange. Turn east under the highway and drive about 1.5 miles east to the old Beaver Creek Ranger Station turnoff. Turn north about a quarter mile to the parking lot and trailhead.
GPS (Map): 34°40'26.0"N 111°42'50.0"W
- Forest Service Topo Map (FSTopo Geo-enable PDF):
Click on the map thumbnail for a larger view.
Hiking time: 6 hours
7.7 miles one way.
- Pets must be on leash.
- Do not disturb cultural/archeology sites. (Antiquity’s Act 1906)
- No motorized equipment or vehicles allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
- No motorized or mechanized transport (ie... bicycles, strollers, etc) allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
- Day Use Only. (No camping or campfires on the Bell Trail and Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness Areas - See Forest Order and Map [PDF])
- The trail is poorly marked and hard to follow across the high plateau where there is also no water.
- The sign at the Bell Trailhead is correct in that we discourage trailers at this Trailhead. That is the reason we constructed the Bruce Brockett Trailhead (just north of the Bell Trailhead) for trailers and equestrian trailer parking and the trail from this trailhead connects to the Bell Trail.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
In the warm seasons, the first 3.5 miles of this trail (to the creek crossing) is very crowded with people accessing the creek.