Fossil Creek:

Fossil Creek is a Wild and Scenic River in central Arizona on lands managed by the Coconino and Tonto national forests. The creek flows from its source at Fossil Springs 14 miles to its confluence with the Verde River downstream of the historic and decommissioned Childs power plant. Fossil Creek is one of only two Wild and Scenic rivers in Arizona. At temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, water gushes out at 20,000 gallons per minute from springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. Over the years, these calcium-rich waters 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.

Fossil Creek has a number of Western Apache and Yavapai cultural sites. The Western Apache and Yavapai peoples lived along Fossil Creek for generations and still consider this to be part of their homeland and of great cultural importance.

Because of its beauty and year-round water, people are drawn to this area. The lushness of the riparian area strikes a sharp contrast to the dry and sparse desert vegetation that surrounds it. Fossil Creek recreation sites can be accessed two ways. The first is by taking State Route 260 near Camp Verde to Forest Road 708 and driving the 14 miles of rough dirt road to designated parking lots and creek access sites near Fossil Creek. The second is via a strenuous hike 4 miles one way and 1,500 feet of elevation down to the headwaters of Fossil Creek from the Bob Bear Trailhead parking lot outside of the town of Strawberry. Please note that Forest Road 708 does not provide access into the Fossil Creek canyon from Strawberry. To obtain a permit for Bob Bear Trailhead please visit the Bob Bear Trailhead page on Recreation.Gov.

The Fossil Creek area has very few developed facilities and visitors should be prepared for rustic and remote conditions. There is no camping in the Fossil Creek Permit Area from April 1 through October 1.