Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail [CLOSED]

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Coconino National Forest

Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail [CLOSED] is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Camp Verde, Arizona that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.6 miles Elevation Gain: 249 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

closed

Please note: users have reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=75356 NOTE: Printed permits ARE required to drive to the trailhead and park from April 1st- October 1st. There are no permits issued on-site. The permits can be found on Recreation.gov. Permits are NOT required from October 2nd- March 31st. 4x4 vehicles are recommended to make it to the trailhead.

hiking
12 days ago

Can I get to the Fassil Fall on June 2st 2020. I see permits available on Bob Bear Trailhead parking lot. I would appreciate anybodys help

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

Heaven on earth——until a family shows up with infants and diapers and suddenly you’re at raging waters’ daycare. Beautiful turquoise pools, plenty of swimming holes and lots of fish if you bring a mask to see under water. Bring snacks and water and your permit.

hiking
1 month ago

Short easy hike. MUST have a permit BEFORE you get on that road that leads to the parking—rangers turn people away if you don’t, (can print at home). It was an easy hike through a lot of trees—which means, lots of shade. Water was fantastic. A lot of people at the falls, and a lot of trash. (2018)

hiking
1 month ago

Easy fun hike to check out a beautiful waterfall. Bring a hammock and beer!

hiking
2 months ago

Currently Closed. 2 Park Rangers at the locked gate said it was closed due to Corona

hiking
2 months ago

We drove to the trailhead in a Nissan Versa. Did it get us there? Yes. Was it a bumpy, dirty mistake? Absolutely. Highly recommend a 4x4 or expect to end up with a flat tire when you get home like we did. Scramble to the top of the waterfall on the left side of it as you face it. Lots of ugly overweight people throwing beers everywhere since it’s such a short easy hike, but you can escape them if you go into the cave to the left of the fall or up past the waterfall

hiking
2 months ago

The road to the trailhead is gravel and very bumpy. I highly recommend taking a 4x4. We got very lost and stopped at the wrong trailheads. You will want to look for Waterfall Trailhead. Park in the parking lot and then walk back out to the road, make a left and continue up until you find the trailhead on the left. The road is closed and you cannot take your vehicle up. The waterfall itself is pretty, but there is very little room to enjoy it. There is a tiny little space with a tree, but everyone uses this spot to cross over to the waterfall. Also, when we went, people were throwing food wrappers and glass beer bottles all over the place. Rules definitely are not followed here.

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
off trail
2 months ago

The road to the trailhead is pretty rough, recommend truck or SUV. There are parts of the trail that seem like it ends but you have to keep going until you get to the waterfall. There are some muddy parts.

hiking
3 months ago

I can only blame myself for not fully researching the directions to get to this trailhead parking. To be clear Fossil Creek Road from Strawberry, AZ is PERMANENTLY closed!! Despite what you may read or hear, you cannot drive through a 4 mike section of the road at any point during the year. With that said we chose to park along the side of the road right at the fork behind the road closure gate and hike the 4 miles down to the waterfall trailhead. The hike down was easy and took about one additional hour. The views were beyond rewarding and experiencing the once open road was a nice add. However the return hike is 4 miles of continuous uphill which for those not in good physical condition or a hot day would pose extremely difficult. I tracked ~10 total miles from the closure gate + Waterfall trail and back. The road closure sign indicates ~12 miles. The overall waterfall hike was a mellow ~2 miles roundtrip in-out. I recommend wearing good hiking shoes as there is rocks along the way. Would I do the hike again? Yes, but I’ll drive to the trailhead via the Camp Verde entrance opting out of the closed strawberry fossil creek road side.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. You start out driving 15 miles, through high desert on a gravel road. The scenery is nice. Follow the road until it dead ends. Parking for the Waterfalls trail will be on the left. Hike the trail one mile until it dead ends. You may loose track of the hiking trail through the rock beds but keep hiking through, you will find the trail and be rewarded with a gorgeous waterfall.

hiking
3 months ago

Great views and several good trails. However, the drive is hell due to a narrow rocky road that is right on the edge of a death drop.

hiking
icy
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great little hike that ends with a beautiful waterfall. However, the hour drive to and from the main road was a little bit of a pain.

5 months ago

About an hours car ride on the 708. ( 15 miles ). Bumpy dirt road, but doable for most cars; take it slow. A few water crossings but nothing over 4", so passable for all vehicles. Be sure and check weather conditions before proceeding, as rain will make the road impassable for low riding vehicles. Started the hike at 1230 and had the entire hike to ourselves. Was about 43°, but layering up helped. Trail was easy to follow, but had some sporadic ice. Multiple mini-falls enrout to Fossil Falls, so your camera will be full of awesome shots. Very little elevation gain, so it is really an easy, short distanced hike, for all fitness levels. But, well worth the short jaunt. Looks like lots of gorgeous, clear water holes for summer swims, but excellent for a winter hike too! Be sure and wear high ankled support boots as the trail is extremely rocky and currently wet and muddy in several areas. Took approximately 1 1/2 hours to complete. Dispite the short distance, bring adequate water per hiker and the hikers 10 essentials, for safety!

hiking
7 months ago

AMAZING views, but it was a pain in the ass to find. Nobody told us the Strawberry entrance was closed so we had to find the Camp Verde entrance. I have a Chrysler 200S and the drive to the trailhead was very tricky. If you go slow, you’ll make it with little to no problems in a sedan; SUVs would be preferred. The hike was super easy, but we’re all in our mid-20s and in great shape. Bring water shoes if you have them because it’s pretty slippery without. The water is cold, but not horrible. We didn’t see snakes or anything other than spiders and a few tarantulas. Beautiful hike, well worth the difficulties.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

The place is utterly amazing and please don’t make the same mistake as I did to go in a regular sedan. The roads are rough, bumpy, windy, narrow at parts with cliffs and lots of rubble from other pick up trucks that are passing by. Bring a lunch and sight of water plus snacks. There’s absolutely nothing on the road. Go there early because the parking fills up quickly and you might be walking over 2+ miles to the waterfall. Great spot to hike with refreshing crystal blue waters. Enjoy!!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
7 months ago

Just as other reviews have stated, the drive in is going to be brutal if you are coming in from the Camp Verde directions. LETS TALK THE ROAD/PARKING: The road is very rocky, all dirt, thinner, winding and 14-16miles before you reach a parking lot. Unless you have an off-road vehicle you’re looking at a long dive! When you do get to the parking lots, they are far from big so if you’re planning on going make sure you’re getting there earlier. TRAIL: The trail itself isn’t bad, both of my kids and dog are able to hike it. (We are also avid hikers) Some of the trail is “flat” but you’re going to be walking over rocks & you’ll encounter some mud. All throughout the trail you can hear the water, with various stops to go down to see. Almost each one has its own “waterfall” and beautiful. NATURES BEAUTY: The water is gorgeous! So clear in almost all the spots we stop at to admire. If you’re going this time of year, yes it’s colder but if you can take the crisp of it-so refreshing! The waterfall everybody goes to look for is truly stunning. SIDE NOTES: You’re going to encounter groups of people who are “hanging” out for the day. Can’t stress this enough, WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES, the rocks are slippery in the water and basic water shoes won’t help. Watched way to many people slip and fall-in/out of the water. Also, if you decide to go into the water or let your kids remember the water is moving. The currents closer to the waterfall are stronger, it will pull you under! It’s a great trail to start your kids on or even if you’re lookin to start hiking.

hiking
8 months ago

Rating four stars instead of five because of the drive to get there. As other reviews have stated, the gravel road drive is grueling. I took us an hour in a minivan and I felt I was pushing it. Parked in lot three and the out and back was pretty easy. Folks were swimming but it was a tad too cold for us to want to get in. Plan to stay a while to make that long very bumpy drive worth it.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely a must if you like to hike and see the beauty this state has to offer. The water is so clean and clear. The waterfalls are amazing.

hiking
8 months ago

The clear, cold water made for a refreshing break after a simple hike. Other than reiterating what other reviewers have said, the biggest takeaway is to mentally prepare for the 16 mile drive on gravel road. It took us an hour to get through that part even with 4 wheel drive, and you have to have your permit printed out (otherwise you’ve wasted 14 miles of your journey down there).

hiking
9 months ago

Completely blown away by this hidden gem tucked away off an amazing scenic drive filled with wildlife and if traveling at dusk the views are breathtaking

hiking
9 months ago

This is special place. The hiking is easy and pleasant.. the creek and east access ... once you get in to the park there is. A 15 mile drive to get to the permitted parking.. unless you have a car suitable for off roading ( I was in Honda CRV) you can’t drive more 15 miles an hour.. prepare for that.. it is however totally worth it. This place is magical. If you want less hiking to to get a lot closest to lot 3. Then it’s only about 2.5 miles to the main waterfall. the entire hike is 8 miles round trip from lot 9. We were parked in lot 4 and walked a total of 4. miles that includes many stops up and down to the creek for exploring. Bring water, sun block and a good hat... I recommend making a full day of it with a picnic and a tree hammock. This place is heaven.

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