Drive Time: 2 Hours Main Activity: Swimming in Waterfalls 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.

Travel Time: 3 Hours

On-Road: It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive on-road to the off-road entrance in Camp Verde from the greater Phoenix area.
Off-Road: From the off-road entrance it is a 16.5 mile route that takes an additional hour to reach the Waterfall Trail Parking lot.

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.

Parking permits are required to park a vehicle within the Fossil Creek Permit Area from April 1 through October 1. NOTE: Parking permits are not required from October 2 through March 31. During the permit 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. For current road conditions you can call the Red Rock Ranger District (928) 203-2903.

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




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



Travel on-road for 1 1/2 hours


Off-Road I (Drive In)

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


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!


Swimming and Cliff Jumping

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


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.


Dine Out

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


Drive Back

Drive back 1 1/2 hours to Fountain Hills.

  • Trip Name
    Departure Date
    Group (Min-Max)
  • Trip Name 1 to 4 People - No Guide
    Departure Date
    1 - 4 Pax
    Available Seats: 4

    Group ( 1 - 4 Pax ) $385.00 $0.00 /Group

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

    Group ( 1 - 4 Pax ) $435.00 $0.00 /Group

    - +