Drive Time: 2 Hours Main Activity: Swimming in Waterfalls Park Pass Required: Yes Months Offered: Year-Round Hiking Guide: Extra Fee Meal: Yes in Strawberry or Pine
  • Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Booking

Fossil Creek is one of two wild and scenic rivers in Arizona. Its 70 degree water and waterfall pours at 20,000 gallons per hour from springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. Due to its beauty and year-round water, people are drawn to this area and the waterfalls. The lushness of the riparian area strikes a sharp contrast to the dry and sparse desert vegetation that surrounds it.

Over the years the calcium rich waters of Fossil Creek have laid down huge deposits of a material called travertine. That rock-like substance encases whatever happens to fall into the streambed forming the fossil-like formations for which the area is named.

Fossil Creek is a rare riparian area within an arid landscape. Many plants and wildlife depend on Fossil Creek for habitat, including otters, beavers, leopard frogs and black hawks. Native fish populations have been successfully restored to some segments of Fossil Creek.

The Hike In

Access to Fossil Creek from the Waterfall Trailhead Lot 1 is only 1 mile. The hiking point and length depends on which permit you purchase. You want to buy the “Lot 01-Waterfall Trailhead Parking” permit. This puts you at the closest hiking point to the falls.

Hiking Guide: there is an extra $50 fee to hire me as a hiking guide.

Fossil Creek Reservation and Permit System Information

Booking your permit a month in advance will give you a better chance
at getting the Lot 1 Waterfall Trailhead.

Advance permits are required to park a vehicle within the Fossil Creek Permit Area from April 1 through October 1. During this season and dependent on availability, a maximum of one permit per person per calendar month may be reserved (one permit = one day). Permits are made available one month ahead of time, on the first of the month. For example, permits for the month of April will be available to reserve beginning March 1. The permit allows parking for one vehicle only at one of nine designated parking lots. The maximum vehicle length is 22 feet. All persons listed on the permit must be accommodated inside the vehicle with a legal seat belt on. The permit guarantees a parking space within the specified parking lot, but specific parking space assignments are not made. Parking spaces are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis.

Buy your permit online hereFossil Creek Permit

    1. Click “Book Now”
    2. Permit Type select: “Vehicle Parking”
    3. Select your desired entry date.
    4. Click: “Check Availability”
    5. Book a free date next to “Lot 01 Waterfall Trailhead Parking
    6. Book the same travel date on my website here.

NOTE: Permits are not required from October 2 through March 31.

Hazardous Wet Weather Road Closures

Be advised that during monsoon season, June 15-Sept. 30, and Fossil Creek can close due to hazardous wet weather roads. If Fossil Creek closes due to wet weather roads, a full refund will be issued to the permit holder. Fossil Creek permit holders should call the Fossil Creek Hotline (928) 226-4611 for the most up-to-date information about Fossil Creek road closures.

Here is the itinerary for this excursion to Fossil Creek.
It is important that we leave earlier in the morning.

Itineraries

MEET

Departure

Meet in and Depart from Fountain Hills. (Hotel Pick-up Included)

TRAVEL (PART 1)

On-Road

Travel on-road for 1 1/2 hours

TRAVEL (PART 2)

Off-Road I (Drive In)

Travel off-road in for 14 miles to the parking area.

HIKING I

Hike In

The hike in depends on which permit location you purchase. This can vary from an easy 1 mile hike or a strenuous 4 mile hike!

Waterfalls

Swimming and Cliff Jumping

Enjoy the amazing clear blue waters of the falls which you can get behind.

HIKING II

Hike Out

Again the hike out depends on which permit location you purchase. This can vary from an easy 1 mile hike or a strenuous 4 mile hike!

Travel (Part 3)

Off-Road II (Drive Out)

Travel off-road back out for 14 miles from the parking area.

MEAL

Dine Out

There are a number of restaurants to choose from in the towns of Strawberry and Pine.

RETURN HOME

Drive Back

Drive back 1 1/2 hours to Fountain Hills.
  • Trip Name
    Departure Date
    Group (Min-Max)
    Pricing
     
  • Trip Name 1 to 4 People - No Guide
    Departure Date
    1 - 4 Pax
     
    Available Seats: 4

    Group ( 1 - 4 Pax ) $385.00 /Person

    - +
  • Trip Name 1 to 4 People + Hiking Guide
    Departure Date
    1 - 4 Pax
     
    Available Seats: 4

    Group ( 1 - 4 Pax ) $435.00 /Person

    - +