Camp Verde AZ (July 1, 2020) – A portion of each parking lot at Fossil Creek will open to the public Friday through Sunday each week, beginning July 3, and remain closed Mondays through Thursdays.
Due to limited seasonal staff and current coronavirus conditions statewide, Fossil Creek will be opening at a capacity of 50 percent through July, and may open additional spaces in August if conditions allow.
“We feel very strongly about our responsibility to maintain recreation access to as many areas on the Coconino National Forest as possible,” said Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “The best we can do right now with the resources we have is to allow half of the normal crowd access to Fossil Creek. At the end of July we will re-assess and decide if we’re able increase capacity in August.”
In order to visit Fossil Creek, one must purchase a permit from the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River page of www.recreation.gov and have the hard copy of that permit with them at the entrance. Visitors without printed permits will be turned away. Permits are $6, entitling the permit holder to a single day-use pass that reserves a parking space in a specific lot between the hours of 8 a.m. and sunset.
Permit reservations fill up very quickly, especially due to the limited access available. Permit holders should remember to practice social distancing and give forest rangers space when speaking with them.
Vehicles: High-clearance vehicles are strongly recommended to travel from State Route 260 down the 14-mile rough dirt Forest Road 708 to the main entrance of the Fossil Creek corridor. Standard passenger vehicles often get flat tires and are typically not suitable for this forest road.
Forest Road 708 access: The only direct access to Fossil Creek by vehicle is from the Camp Verde side off State Route 260. A 4-mile section of Forest Road 708 on the Strawberry side, from just past the Bob Bear Trailhead to the Waterfall Trailhead, is closed to public motorized travel
Cost: The $6 permit is non-refundable, except when Forest Service closes the road due to weather. If you are not able to use your permit, however, please cancel it online to make your parking space available for others.
Permit documentation: People reserving a permit must print their permit in advance to place on their dashboards upon entrance to Fossil Creek. Permits can be printed immediately upon making a reservation online. The confirmation email the customer receives is NOT the permit, and digital versions are not accepted.
At the gate: No permits are sold or able to be printed on site. If you do not have a printed permit, you will not be allowed to continue down Fossil Creek Road.
Camping: At this time, no camping is allowed within the Fossil Creek Permit Area during the April 1 to Oct. 1 permit season. Additionally, the Childs Dispersed Camping Area remains closed.
Rules and regulations: Pack out what you pack in. Campfires, charcoal grills and all glass containers are prohibited year round. For more information about visiting Fossil Creek, please see the Fossil Creek web page or call the Fossil Creek Hotline at 928-226-4611.