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off road driving
1 day ago

Be real careful taking kids around there. Lately, nudest frequent inside rainbow room where the hot tub is inside, or in the outdoor, luke warm, hot tub triangle pool, and they are super friendly, but they don’t typically move or leave and just chill out there sometimes nearly all day it seems, especially the ones camping there; so if that makes anyone uncomfortable in your party, just be for warned and have a plan ahead of time to try again another time???

Can camp there up to 5 days, too, but didn’t see any camping fee or permit required. Cave at the hot springs was kinda interesting. .One restroom in campsite, but none at hot springs. There is a changing area inside the rainbow room but it is not private as it is next to the hot tub without walls dividing the two areas. Camping area (on opposite side of river) had lots of neat shade trees right along river, but must read rules on fire pits and bbq restrictions. One tent was camping right next to hot springs and had its own firepit made of rocks; looked kinda safe, but not sure how legal that was.

We took Child Powers road because heard other road weeks earlier (I assume Dugas Rd) was gated and closed from rock fall, but not really sure about that. We left from Camp Verde around 11 am and got there around 1 and left around 3 or 4pm and got back onto I-17 before dark in mid Nov. We went 15 miles on Fossil Creek washboard dirt road to Child Powers road for maybe another 5 miles down to campsite, but last 500 feet or so of road was horrible with pot holes even with a 4x4 truck, so just took it extra slow and did fine.

No signage for the hot springs trailhead, but it starts just outside campground along old power station building. Used gps to help guide us or might have felt was getting lost.

It is more like a hike than just a flat short walk. Not recommended for everyone, but most people used to any hiking would do fine. Had to rock climb a little bit, took the dotted line shown on gps from this app on where best to cross the river so don’t run into an island and have to cross twice. The dotted line crossing was narrowest and closest to the hot springs, and looked like a boat ramp area, too.

Don’t kayak this area with a lot of experience with right kayak. Apparently kayaking was or is still a thing there. (I recommend kayaking Verde up around Clarkdale and Cottonwood where longer stretches with less technical rapids.)

I recommend crossing the river even in Nov like we did today, but bring appropriate clothes that dry fast and watershoes and switch shoes just before crossing river. Yes it was cold but only mid thigh deep and current wasn’t too, too tough while we were there, but maybe after heavy rains it would be too high and fast and too dangerous; not sure.

(Fossil Creek 1 mile waterfall trail is on way there or on the way back, and I recommend doing both hikes in same day to take advantage of both since sooo close together and if you get a real really start in the day, but fossil creek requires a permit April 1st to Oct 1st and you really want to select the closest parking lot online or may have to walk a long, long ways just to get to trailhead itself. Fossil Creek is worthwhile and not a nudest hangout from what I recall.)

Hiked this trail 8.8 miles yesterday in mid Nov in upper 60s F in 2018 and it took 5.5 hours round trip with flashlights starting around 1 pm and ending at 630pm. With moon out, Flashlights was a must. I stopped 4 times just to switch shoes and eat a snack twice while changing shoes, and having a small towel to dry feet is highly recommended. I only gave it 2 stars for scenery, BUT I have hiked many incredible places like Zion and the Grand Canyon and Flatiron, Flagstaff, Sedona, and seeing some yellow fall leaves still on the trees along the creek and a few red rocky canyon areas and some wide, knee deep creek areas was nice, but nothing to write home about for me. I also didn’t think it was hard; but did it when cool outside, and I am in great shape, but doing in summer would be much harder. I was a little disappointed in lack of signage, too, but was very grateful for restroom at the parking lot and a few shady trees there. If your dog hates getting wet in freezing cold water, probably not the hike for your dog unless don’t cross any creeks and just hangout along first crossing. Difficult enough to cross this creek 3 times without holding a dog, and wind up at creek again at very end of the trail. There is no signage at parking lot saying trail name, no map either, long walk before see actual sign saying West Clear Creek, then descend to one of the most scenic creek areas right away. The first 2 creek crossing are very close together but if switching shoes like I did, keep wet shoes on till cross creek a third time because 3rd crossing is not real far away either. In my opinion, hike is not worth continuing to very end passed third crossing because just wind up back at same creek and it looks pretty much same as all other creek crossings, and canyon views are just same for most part as well. I was expecting to see a 8 ft or higher waterfall at very end or something more spectacular along the way, or an area to swim or require a tube to float around in for 100 feet but I guess I missed it, unless it was a 12 inch waterfall at the very first river crossing. I am not sure I would consider that a real waterfall, but whatever. I brought tubes, but didn’t see a need to use them and not exactly sure how. Definitely couldn’t use one to cross any creek areas that I could tell. (I would like to compare this hike to Bell Trail and Verde Hot Springs because all nearby Camp Verde, and then figure out which was best. Bell Trail sounds like hiking to a big cliff diving pool. Verde Hot Springs sounds like a flat much shorter hike to a natural hot tub that could require crossing a thigh to waist deep river, depending on which road you take and one road has gate closed from fallen rocks.).

We took a high clearance SUV that we weren’t prepared to drive the last mile to the trailhead with as we were scared of getting stuck. The last mile to the trailhead is the most difficult part of the drive. That being said, this hike has it all, scenery, bouldering, crazy elevation gain, a creek, with the biggest payoff being the ruins. I will say that it is physically challenging and serves as a full body work out. The trail is fairly easy to follow and we did leave additional cairns for those future venturers. The 20 plus mile off road was worth it.

Great trail! The first couple of miles are somewhat generic, but once you make it down to the creek it’s really nice.
The trail gets confusing towards the end but keep going as the waterfall all the way at the end makes it worth the trek!

It's one of the tuffer trails of fossil creek. Waterfalls are beautiful but not easily accessible. Be prepared for this one because the road is very rocky and it can hurt the legs.

Things to must have.
1. Good trekking shoes
2. Water
3. Power bars

hiking
27 days ago

Actually 9 miles including trail head. Don't do it if you aren't ready! Waterfall is fabulous. I can't wait to do it again.

hiking
29 days ago

Great trail bring water. Not recommended for dogs or kids

This is a very beautiful hike. To me, it is easy, and I am not a professional hiker. I made it to the top. The top of the mountain is just a road, no scenic views, nothing like that. Be careful with sliding rocks. Pay attention to trail markers like tiny ribbons on branches, stacking rocks, carvings, and affixed markers to find your way to the top and back. The trail is steep and narrow when it’s about 800 feet away from the top. The hike is about 1700ft elevation in change. Bring snacks and water. It took me 1 hour to complete See Spring (extremely easy hike, all scenic views), and 4 hours to complete See Canyon. There is cell service for Verizon customer, but I am not sure about other carriers. Have fun and enjoy!!! Don’t give up half way because the views along the trail are magnificent and breathtaking.

Hike to the water isn’t bad- I’d recommend not going in hot summer months. (Don’t forget your parking permit.) hike up after swimming all day was brutal/ brings lots of water. Also may not be the best hike for a dog.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent and easy hike! Very lush forest, peaceful creek you walk through a few times and beautiful scenery every where. It was cloudy when we went and I was afraid the clouds would let loose any time, which it didn't, but it really provided some nice shade for us. There is camping nearby (tent) and an outhouse. Just a short dirt road to the trailhead. You will see the creek at the beginning of the hike and follow it sometimes as well. Family friendly and relaxing. Highly recommend this hike!

Did the trail in October. Weather was great cold at the start but warmer near bottom. Some tricky spots and not for younger kids. The hike down was pretty easy but back out sucked the energy out of you. At the bottom the river was flowing and sound of water was relaxing

I have done Fossil Creek through Camp Verde but my kids and I were anxious to complete the hike through Strawberry. We could not have picked a better day for this hike on 8.25.18. We went with a group of 13, ages 8-45 and thankfully, everyone survived and had an amazing time. We were blessed with dark clouds the entire day though it never rained. The hike is definitely a workout but the views and waterfall at the end were absolutely worth it. Spent about 4 hours cliff jumping and swimming. Definitely bring food as you will want to sit and enjoy the scenery and the water. The hike out was a challenge for my 8 year old as it was very steep and it definitely got my heart rate up. If you have young kids, I would recommend the hike through Camp Verde and save this one for the older kids. Would absolutely do this hike again next summer!

We did not do the Bull Head Ranch trailhead, but rather took the Bald Hill Road instead. This 1 mile long road ends at the trailhead, but I would caution that any vehicle without good suspension and/or clearance avoid driving this last mile. We were in a car, so we parked at the beginning of Bald Hill Road (also called FR 214A) and walked the mile to the trailhead

This trail is a killer. Especially getting down into the canyon, which I believe is called Copper Canyon. Very steep trail down with too few switchbacks and too many sandy spots to slip on.

Once you get to the bottom, seeing the trail is hit and miss since it's not maintained. But it's not possible to get lost since the canyon funnels you along the creek. If you are headed to the waterfalls (Maiden Falls and also Supai Falls), hike upstream.

The waterfalls are about 3 hours upstream, after rock scrambling, river wading, tree branch swatting, and inner tube floating. It is very slow going, so it's hard to gauge distances.

Do bring an inner tube in your backpack, so you can blow it up when you get to the impassable section (this section is maybe 100 feet of paddling). We sat on the inner tubes with our backpacks in our laps and paddled with our hands. Wasn't too bad, but the water is COLD!!

Also bring about 3 liters of water. And even then, I finished my water during the hike out of the canyon. And bring plenty of snacks, including electrolyte/salty snacks

You will get wet on this hike. Rock scrambling serves you to a point, but there will be times when you must wade in the water. Usually less than knee deep.

The most enjoyable way to do this hike in my opinion is to backpack partway into it and tent camp, and then finish the hike the next day. Otherwise you will be very sore for a couple days afterwards. There are a few "designated" campsites that others have used by the creek. I'd recommend using these so as not to create more vegetation disturbances/fire rings.

The bottom of the canyon and the creek are beautiful. Lots of trees, mostly shady, steep canyon walls, tons of butterflies, clear bubbling creek. But it takes quite a bit of effort to get down into it and is technical in rock scrambling for 3 hours before finally being rewarded with the waterfalls.

As long as you are prepared and know what to expect, you will have a great time! Not recommended for children or anyone with bad knees or poor stamina. Dogs would have a difficult time as well.

Your glutes and calves will burn!
but it's an amazing site to see 4 miles down. The Spring is fantastic to explore. Bring a hammock to hang & perhaps even a float!
Warning: our doggy suffered ripped paw pads and he's a malinois. We had to carry out a 70 pound dog in a backpack.

Completed the trek down in 1.5 hours.
Completed the trek back up (3/4 of trail is uphill) in 2 hours 15 min.
I think I'm slow compared to the guys i hike with, but we kept pace quite fast, passing some hikers on our way out.

Beautiful on the way down, strenuous hike on the way up. In actuality, it's a total of 10 miles round trip.
Here are some helpful tips:
- don't take your dog unless it's in good shape and you bring it booties for its paws. The trail is VERY rocky and tore up our little girls pads :( we also had to take a lot of breaks for her in the way up. If you do bring your dog, make sure you have a bowl, and plenty of water for cooling body temp and drinking.
-take enough water for the way down. I'd say 2 liters per person. When you get down to sign that says dam (right) springs (left) go right to the dam which will take you to the waterfall. On you're way out, go back toward the spring to fill up your water supply. YOU WILL NEED IT GOING UP. The water bubbles straight from the earth and is the best water I've tasted. It's not that far back... it's off to the right, you'll see it feeding into the springs from underground- very cool!
- start early! It'll take time coming up and you'll want to spend time swimming, etc. We hit the trail at 9am, got to the bottom around 1130 (we had dogs and kids), left at around 1pm and didn't reach the top until 4. But again, took several breaks to water our dogs, kids and selves.
- watch for Rattlesnakes! Stay to the middle of the trail when you can, and be aware. My friend almost got bit, but was able to jump outta the way. Beautiful 2 yr old rattler off to the side sunbathing, but could have been the end to a beautiful day.
- I cannot stress enough- water, water and more water, especially if bringing pets. They get thirsty and their body temps rise quickly. Ensure you keep you're pup alive if bringing. Our 5 yr old barely made it out. Might take her again, but with booties next time.
-kids do ok, they'll slow you down a bit, but as long as they have enough to drink they'll do great and absolutely LOVE swimming under the cave.
Water is cold, refreshing, and perfect in September. Best time of the year to go, in my opinion.
We'll be back!

backpacking
2 months ago

Would have given more stars but.......
If you follow the trail it is difficult, hot 100+, uncovered, and long stretches without water. At what appears to be the end of the trail, the way down to the creek is extremely unsafe (with a full pack) requiring navigation over a narrow ledge and 20ft drop.
If you follow the creek it is slow going and your battling loose rock, deep pools, bushwhacking through tons of poison ivy and spider webs, fallen wood and twigs which create trip hazards, and encounters with wildlife like snakes and spiders.
Next time I’ll check out the east entrance to the canyon and see if it is easier. The camping is great. Encountered many other people on the trail and deep in the canyon. I would do this again when the weather cools off. This would be a great hike 20-30 degrees cooler. Bring a fishing pole. Saw many large trout swimming in the deeper areas.

A very nice hike. Was a challenge for my aging body. My app set the distance at 7 miles without adding the short hike to the spring. It was straight up to the top of the rim. No spectacular views from the sperspective at the top. But beautiful coming up the canyon. In September the temperature was 90 by mid morning but it was a lot cooler up at the top. The trail is well marked with reflectors on the trees. The second half of the climb is steep and rocky. Coming down there were sections that felt like skiing down the scree.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! You go down, down, down and more down to the waterfall which was hard on my hips. Also meant you will be going up, up, UP all the way back!! Like everyone else said bring LOTS of water and save most for the way out. I filled my hydro at the waterfall. The water is crystal clear, cold and moving quickly so its fine. I'm still alive after drinking! I wet a towel there and wrapped on my neck for the way back. That helped a lot. I wouldn't recommend kids or dogs going, but they could do it if in good condition. We left our kids and dog home and were very happy we did so. Its very very rocky so you have to be constantly looking down so you dont trip. The group I was with are all in very good shape. We gym several times a week and hike a lot and the next day we could hardly move! The way out seems like never ending and gets tough with all the rocks. Take your time. Get there early and bring lots of water and snacks. You won't regret it!
There is a ranger there checking permits, so make sure you have one and its for the correct lot.

This trail was recommended by a woman who lives in Payson so I had a feeling i would like this one. It was harder and longer than the rating on here but my friend and I hike often so we could handle it, just didn’t expect it. There was hardly anyone on the trail and many parts were grown over. This was great but also made it hard to find the trail so a few times we got lost then had to turn around and figure out how to get back RJ the trail.

The last 2ish miles are VERY steep so you need to watch your step (I didn’t and slipped down the side landing on my wrist) and bring poles if you’re prone to slipping or babe bad ankles or knees. I wear an ankle brace so that helped during my fall.

Overall, I loved this green, peaceful, unique trail. It reminded me so much of Minnesota in the summer. We heard tons of birds, saw a baby tarantula, saw many lizards, and the view at the top is beautiful. It took us 4 hours to complete 10 miles per Fitbit.

I would do this again, but I would go during the winter.
The area was beautiful, though the the water was muddy brown.
There was a few cairns but not much of a trail. We were walking through some tall grass when I stopped to express my concern about snakes and not being able to see my feet. My buddy came up behind me and and suddenly yelled “snake”! A rattlesnake took off through and almost on top of the long grass less than 5 feet from where I had just walked a few seconds earlier. Very scary, and we quickly turned around and got back to where you could see the ground....

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty easy hike which most kids can do. We had our three year old and I had to carry her for some of it, but our older kids did fine. Getting to the spring was great and it was a nice cool hike in the pines.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike was absolutely amazing. The reviews were a little daunting so I almost did not do this by myself, but I had no problems whatsoever. I'm in pretty good shape and did not find this difficult at all. BUT, that's completely relative to an individual's fitness. I would recommend getting there early (9am) because I had the whole waterfall/spring to myself for a few hours. Once it hit 12:30p.m. the crowd started showing up. I drank about 3L of water, but I stayed hydrated and ate well all week before coming. It's not just about the water you drink during the hike, it's also the prep the week before. Just be smart, come prepared, and enjoy yourself! This is definitely worth the 4-mile in and out.

Beautiful area. Very green, due to lots of rain recently.

However, Trail is a misnomer. It is actually a Forest Service road. We could have driven it instead of hiking. Not what we were looking forward to.

Signage is non-existent. Had to completely relied on AllTrails. Very hot. Almost no shade whatever.

No signage at beginning of “trail”, just a walkthrough at the fence along the highway. Followed what is little more than a drainage til reach a fence. No way through. We went to left and hooked up with the road. Right through the gate and just followed the road. Very little water in the creek.

I’d not recommend this trail. Too many others up here that look better.

on See Canyon Trail #184

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! Don’t expect anything at the top. It’s not one of those hikes. It just leads to a road at the very top. But the whole trail itself is beautiful! Plush grass, big trees, rivers and running water! Towards the top it gets a little steep. Take good shoes because there are a lot of loose rocks. But it’s a must see if you’re in payson! The trail is easy to find and the parking area is good!

hiking
2 months ago

As mentioned in other reviews, this trail is not 6.1 miles, its more like 8 miles round trip.
The trail should be rated hard in my opinion.
A lot of shade and tree cover throughout the hike.
You will have a couple of creeks crossings
Great trail

TAKE NOTE: Easy in, strenuous out! The waterfall and pools at the end of the trail are absolutely breathtaking and perfect for swimming! Save your water for the hike out, it is long and ALL uphill, with loose rocks for the majority of the path. When you get to the sign at the bottom that says Spring left and Dam right, go right! Much shorter trek to waterfall. Like many others have forewarned bring LOTS of water and bring sunscreen/sunglasses/hat— the trail is mostly in direct sunlight. 200 people are rescued on this trail every year, so be smart and wear appropriate hiking footwear. I wore my bathing suit underneath my clothes and brought water shoes for the falls. A ranger is also at the trailhead to check permits, so make sure you get one ahead of time online!

hiking
3 months ago

My kids loved it. Out for a picnic and hike turned out perfect. Water is cold but worth it after the heat.

8.17.18 Payson trails are now open. Did this trail, I dont think I did the same route as other people because I didnt see very much running water, mostly stagnate. I might try it again after a few more days of rain.

My first time hiking this trail...and LOVED it!! What I learned:
1) Trail is rocky, wear comfortable, supportive HIKING shoes, your feet will appreciate it. Take water shoes or sandals (Teva is my favorite) for when you’re ready to jump in the swimming holes
2) Have PLENTY of water to drink!! When you think you have enough, take some more. Other option is to fill your water bottle at the spring.
3) Watch our for critters...2 fellow hikers saw rattle snakes and 1 saw a tarantula...I got lucky and saw a deer.
4) The sun can be a bit brutal so make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
5) Pace yourself on the way back up, take breaks in shady areas (when you can find one), the trail is exposed to the sun
6) Pack light snacks
7) DRINK WATER!!
8) Have fun!! Happy hiking!!

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