Arizona News – The Coconino National Forest has modified the current Fossil Creek reservation system to increase accessibility and decrease the number of no-show permit holders. These changes provide two opportunities to obtain a permit through recreation.gov for any specific date.
Most permits (80%) will be available on a one-month, daily rolling basis each day at 8 a.m. (Arizona time). Visitors will be able to obtain a permit for dates up to one month from the date accessing the system. For example, the earliest a visitor could purchase a permit for Aug. 4 would be July 4 at 8 a.m.
Approximately 20% of permits will be released three days in advance. These permits, also available at 8 a.m., allow a second opportunity to visit the popular forest destination. For example, the visitor wanting an Aug. 4 permit can reserve a permit Aug. 1 at 8 a.m.
Permits are required only during the spring-summer season from April 1-Oct. 1. A maximum of one permit per person per calendar month may be reserved, and all permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
The following changes have also been made for the Fossil Creek area. The Waterfall Trail and parking lot have been renamed “Dixon Lewis,” honoring an influential Tonto Apache elder and teacher who both lived in Fossil Creek and worked at the Irving power plant when it was operational.
Access gates to the Dixon Lewis, Irving/Flume, Tonto Bench, Fossil Creek Bridge and Homestead parking lots now close at 3 p.m. each day. The maximum group size per permit is 12 people, and identification is checked upon arrival to ensure the permit holder is in the permitted vehicle.
In addition to being one of only two National Wild & Scenic rivers in Arizona, Fossil Creek has several Western Apache and Yavapai cultural sites. The Apache and Yavapai people of the Verde Valley lived along Fossil Creek for generations. They recognize and care for the canyon as their Ancestral homeland and return here to connect with their past and honor their heritage.
The Fossil Creek area has very few developed facilities, and visitors should be prepared for rustic and remote conditions. Recreationists seeking to explore Fossil Creek are reminded to bring ample water, pack out all trash, stick to developed recreation areas, and abide by all posted signage indicating restrictions or closures. Campfires and glass containers are never allowed in the area.
There is no camping in the Fossil Creek Permit Area from April 1-Oct. 1. Please note that the state of Arizona does not follow Daylight Savings Time.