Bob Bear (formerly Fossil Springs) Trail-No. 18


Area Status: Open

Fossil Creek

There are ten recreation sites and trails along Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River. Each site features deep pools and beautiful scenery.

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There is no water along the first four miles of this strenuous trail which descends into a 1600' deep canyon. It is important that visitors know that the Bob Bear Trail parking lot DOES NOT provide direct access to Fossil Creek's water. Additionally, loose rock and a steep ascent make the return climb challenging. During summertime, the hike out can be brutally hot. The trail ends at the historic old dam.

Do NOT attempt this trail without sturdy footwear (flip flops have proved disastrous for hikers), sunscreen and enough food and water to last the whole day. For current conditions, call Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611

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April 1 - Oct. 1

Spring-summer season.
Parking permit required.
No camping allowed.

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Oct. 2 - March 31

Fall-winter season.
No permit required.
Some camping allowed.

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Never allowed

Campfires and glass containers are never allowed in the area.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: April 1 - October 1: 
  • Day use only! Camping is prohibited during the season. 
  • 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.
October 2 - March 31:
  • Gates are open 24 hours unless there is closure due to hazardous conditions.
Reservations: Reservations for a specific parking lot must be made in advance on Recreation.gov.
Area Amenities: Fee charged for some activities, Parking
Fees: April 1 - Oct. 1, Spring-Summer Season
  • $6 per vehicle per day.
  • Permits are not issued on-site.
Oct. 2 - March 31, Fall-Winter Season
  • No fees, permits, or reservations are required.
Permit Info: April 1 - October 1, Spring-Summer Season:
  • 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.
October 2 - March 31, Fall-Winter Season
  • No fees or permits required.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: Summer and weekends
Restrictions: For all rules on Fossil Creek review Camping:
  • April 1 - Oct. 1, Spring-Summer Season
    • Camping is prohibited anywhere in the permit area.
  • Oct. 2 - March 31, Fall-Winter Season
    • Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam.
Campfires and Glass Containers:
  • Campfires and glass containers are prohibited throughout Fossil Creek in its entirety.
Recommended area camping sites
Closest Towns: Strawberry, Ariz. (10 miles), Camp Verde, Ariz. (60 miles via state Route 260)
Water: Bring at least 1 gallon each hiker
Restroom: Vault Toilet at Bob Bear TH
Operated By: Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611; Red Rock Ranger District 928-203-2900
Information Center: Fossil Creek Hotline 928-226-4611
  Destinations: Flume Trail | Dixon Lewis Trail | Fossil Springs Wilderness | Other places to go

General Information

Parking:

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 can NOT 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.
  • Horse Trailer Parking: There are three designated parking spots for vehicles towing a horse trailer at Bob Bear Trailhead parking lot. The vehicle and horse trailer maximum length is 50 feet. If you need a parking spot for a horse trailer be sure to make a specific reservation for one of these three equestrian-only parking spaces. 

Directions:

Location: Five miles west of Strawberry, Ariz. This trail does NOT access the waterfall! Access the waterfall is a 60 mile trip to the creek-side access via state Route 260 out of Camp Verde. The waterfall is a 20-mile round trip hike through the desert from this trailhead.

GPS (Map): 34°24'24.3"N 111°34'06.4"W

Access: From Stawberry, AZ, take Forest Road 708 to the turnoff to the trailhead. The trailhead will be on your right. NOTE: FR 708 is closed just beyond the turnoff to the trailhead! you can NOT reach the eight Fossil Creek parking lots from this location. Between April 1 and Oct. 1 a parking permit is required to park at this trailhead.

Download Fossil Creek Seasonal Permit Area Guides

English

Fossil Creek Summer Map and Guide

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

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

Español

Fossil Creek Fall-Winter Map and Guide

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

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


General Notes:

Attractions: Trails for hiking and horseback riding, unique rock formations, great scenery, wildlife viewing, and lush riparian area.

Hiking Time: 4 - 6 hours (round trip), this does NOT count the time spent at the creek or in the water.

Rating: Strenuous, 1500' elevation change over four miles between the trailhead and the springs. Hot with little shade in the warmer months. Wear appropriate footwear (e.g., hiking boots) and carry at least a gallon of water per person.

Notes:

  • No motorized vehicles or mechanical equipment, including mountain bikes and remote controlled aircraft.
  • Spring water is not suitable for drinking.
  • This is a very hot hike in summer. Carry at least one gallon of drinking water per person.
  • Carry all waste material out with you. "Pack it in and Pack it out."

Related Links:

 


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Day Hiking

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 can NOT 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.
Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Backpacking

Camping is prohibited between Fossil Creek Bridge and Fossil Creek Dam year round.

Camping and overnight parking are prohibited anywhere in the Fossil Creek permit area during the Spring-Summer Season (April 1 to October 1). See the Spring-Summer Guide for more information.

Parking

  • Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): A permit is required for parking at this trailhead. Parking overnight at trailheads in the permit area is prohibited. You must bring printed permits and passes to the site. Permits can NOT 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. Overnight camping is permitted in some areas in and around the Wilderness, and overnight parking is permitted at trailheads.
Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Amenities

Parking: 30 22' parking spaces, plus 3 horse trailer spaces. Spring-Summer Season (April 1 - October 1): Printed, reserved parking permit required and NOT available on site. 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.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
3.1 miles

  Latitude : 
34.406742

  Longitude : 
-111.568443

  Elevation : 
4303 at springs - 5689 at trailhead