Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail

EASY 89 reviews
#13 of 168 trails in

Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail is a 2.4 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 is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
203 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

Printed permits are required to drive to the trailhead and park there from April 1 - October 1. There are no permits issued on-site. The permits can be found on Recreation.gov. Permits are not required from October 2 through March 31. The road to the trailhead is unpaved and might be difficult for 2WD vehicles. Fossil Creek Road (FR 708) is closed between Fossil Springs Trailhead (just west of Strawberry, AZ) and the Waterfall Trailhead (east of Fossil Creek Bridge) indefinitely. There is no access to the creek or waterfall by car from Strawberry, AZ.

hiking
19 days ago

Great day trip. Hike is good for all ages. Bathrooms at every parking lot. Beautiful views!!! Who doesn’t love a short hike that leads to gorgeous waterfalls!?

1 month ago

08.08.18 Late review. Permit required. They have a list with names as long as you didnt purchase it the same day. Use a high clearance vehicle!! I do not recommend using a sedan, I rented a Nissan Rouge for this trip. Went last week during the rains / hail and hiked the entire trail. It was marvolus! Gorgeous fall after fall. Will definitely go again when it's not raining. Was afraid of flash flood.

1 month ago

Great for all ages, easy 1 mile hike if parked in the designated water parking lot. Must have and reserve pass ahead of time.

hiking
1 month ago

This place is amazing. The weather was perfect. My family of four went thru 6 water bottles and a bag full of snacks we drove up thru Payson, from fountain hills and it took us 3.5 hours to get to the parking lot. Here are some pointers for you. 1. get a permit 2. wear your suit 3. bring aqua socks 4. wear sunscreen 5. pack food(a meal and snacks) and water 6. plan for a whole day. We went on a Monday and it wasn't busy at all. The water holes along the way were great to hang at or cool off. We will go again.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful, clean hike. Definitely get your permit before you go.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail and waterfall! Easy hike. Dirt road is 14 miles and takes at least an hour very bumpy recommend high clearance vehicle!

3 months ago

FYI: I was planning on hiking this trail over memorial weekend but just received an email that they are closing this area on Wed May 23, 2018 due to wild fires. Anyone who have bought a permit will be refunded. Will plan to go again when they reopen.

hiking
4 months ago

the hard part is the drive in, make sure you have no loose fillings in your mouth, it takes almost an hour to get in.
Although we went on a week day, the waterfall was very busy, so once we took some pictures we retreated back to the one of the many accessible natural pools we saw on the way. I just wish people were more considerate and stop littering such natural beauties with crap they no longe needed. SMOKING SHOULD ALSO BE BANNED!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing place to hike to and swim in the gorgeous clear water. The drive is about 14 miles down a dirt/rocky road. I advise people to use a suv/truck or something with 4x4 if you have. Be nice and let cars that can drive the road faster go by you. We have seen small cars go down this road and either get stuck, or damage their car with the rough road. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen cars make it, but just saying if your driving a Tesla down the road, then don’t be surprised if you see people pointing and laughing at you. You need a permit, $10 to park and hike. We have been when it’s crowded and not so crowded. Parking within the first 3 areas, are the best and after that it makes for a much longer hike. It is dog friendly and great place to hang a hammock up. The best part is the waterfall where you can jump off into the water or do like some people and slide down the middle into the pools. If your wondering if the water is cold, it is! It’s 70 degrees but wonderful when it’s hot out.

nature trips
4 months ago

This is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. Easy hike, many cool stop offs to the creek off the main trail. Water was cold in September but eventually you get over it because you just cant not be in the water. My 10 year old son had an amazing time as did the rest of us adults. My brother and best friend jumped off the waterfall but Im not quite brave enough.

hiking
5 months ago

This was much more my speed as a beginner vs the longer hike to the upper falls via Flume trail and in my opinion just as pretty. The only negative comment I have is the amount of people trying to drive Hondas or Prius. It's about a 30-45min drive down a rough dirt road. They didn't let the Jeeps like us and 4x4s pass and we saw a few get stuck. Common courtesy let people with more suitable
off-road vehicles pass.

hiking
5 months ago

Went this last weekend with my husband and friend- was absolutely stunning! Easy hike and well worth it! So many swimming holes! We were in a Kia and the ride down was a little nerve racking but slow and steady and you’ll be ok!

hiking
5 months ago

How can anyone refuse the “awesomeness” of FC?! It’s such an amazing little hike that ends at a crisp, cool watering hole. The hiking trail was easy will little issue climbing over rocks and branches. The only downfall is we went on a weekend. Even with the permit requirement it was still like a miniaturized version of salt river. Instead of the normal peace and solitude that I prefer the end of the trail was full of 20 somethings partying. Be prepared for the 45 min bumpy drive in where we saw a couple people stuck from blown tires.

5 months ago

Do you need a pass or reservation to hike this trail?

5 months ago

So how bad are the roads exactly? I have a mini van, would I be able to make it?

hiking
5 months ago

absolutely breath taking!!

hiking
5 months ago

So great!! About a 13 mile drive on a dirt road with tons of rocks but kind of manageable with a compact car. The waterfalls were super pretty super easy hike and lots of fun.

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing place. Super easy. The google driving directions are wrong as it takes you to the Strawberry side. Road is from the Camp Verde side. Long dirt road and rough in areas but worth it.

hiking
5 months ago

This is an amazing trail for beginners and kids! Beautiful waterfalls and the water is crystal clear!

hiking
6 months ago

Went in the last part of January in the late afternoon and we had the place to ourselves. Absolutely beautiful river and waterfalls. We went swimming. The road in is rough, but certainly doable in a 2 wheel drive truck or SUV.

hiking
6 months ago

Too crowded for my taste but a beautiful travertine river

7 months ago

Beautiful! Had the place to ourselves. Come in from Verde valley and stop by the ranger station. They have road conditions an trail maps

7 months ago

DO NOT TAKE THIS DRIVE. About 7 miles in, on a crazy cliff there was a rock slide. Unless you have a razor or quad. You can't make it in a truck. I had to reverse up the cliff and it was truly intense. I have a branda new toyota tacom trd sport 4by4 lifted and this road was insane still. But it's not doable now. Just take the long hike

7 months ago

Fun hike! Waterfall is the best in the valley.

8 months ago

Easy hike. Went middle of the day, spur of the moment during non permit season. Had the waterfall to ourselves, was magical!

hiking
9 months ago

We did this drive, more so than a hike, yesterday Nov. 24, 2017 and came from Mesa. The map will take you through Strawberry. You need to go closer to Camp Verde (depending on where you’re coming from) turn on Fossil Creek Rd and drive the 14 miles of the bumpy dirt road until the last parking lot. Then a 25 min walk to the big waterfall. Along the way you can stop and swing from the ropes and there are less crowded swimming areas. At the waterfall you can jump off into the icy crystal clear waters. It’s beautiful! My 6 year old an I climb up to the waterfall and jumped into a little pool before the waterfall. It’s a small jump and something she wanted to do. Very crowded and make sure you bring your gopro and snacks! Better yet, make sure your car can handle the road!

hiking
9 months ago

10 months ago

lovely ill hike. get there early to get a parking spot. water is crystal clear.

10 months ago

The key is to do the hike early in the morning (right when the parking is open) before it gets busy. Enjoyed about two hours of relative peace before the crowds started to show. I plan on going back next summer...early in the morning.

hiking
10 months ago

despite the trash and slew of teens with ice chests full of beer I thought this was a great hike. I did it with my 3 year old daughter and 67 year old dad. everyone had a great time. there are plenty of places to hang out on the river away from the craziness the teens and drinking brings.
I hiked this before the permit system, so the situation under the permit system may be different.

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