Phoenix With Kids

Fossil Creek With Kids

Get ready for your Fossil Creek adventure - and swim behind a waterfall! We’ve been to Fossil Creek twice, and the kids have LOVED both trips.

Jana Tingom

Fossil Creek With Kids. Get ready for your Fossil Creek adventure – and swim behind a waterfall!

We’ve been to Fossil Creek twice (blog post here, video here), and the kids have LOVED both trips. Yes, it’s an hour drive on a washboard road after reaching Camp Verde. But it’s so worth it and so memorable!

Reservations must be made online. Parking permits are required from April 1 to October 1, costing $6 per vehicle per day. Outside of April-October, no permit is needed. We’ve been both times in October and it’s been amazing.

Permits are released at 8:00 a.m. Arizona time. Eighty percent of permits are available on a one-month, daily rolling basis. For example, if you want a permit for August 4th, the earliest you can purchase it is July 4th at 8:00 a.m. Arizona time. The remaining twenty percent of permits are released three days in advance. So, if you want a permit for September 4th and missed the one-month release, you can try again on September 1st at 8:00 a.m. Arizona time.

Each permit allows parking for one vehicle at one of eight designated lots: Dixon Lewis (formerly Waterfall) Trailhead, Irving (Flume Trailhead), Tonto Bench, Fossil Creek Bridge, Homestead, Sally May, Purple Mountain, or Mazatzal. If you want to park closest to the waterfall trail, aim for the Dixon Lewis lot. There’s definitely walking mileage added for the lots further away, and we recommend not attempting to reach the waterfall in the photo below if you can’t get a permit for the first two lots.

BUT if you can’t snag the Dixon Lewis Lot or Irving Lot, you can access the creek and enjoy water play at some amazing spots! We’ll have to do a separate post about this option. Note that the water is always cold, and some kids might not enjoy swimming here.

Access to Fossil Creek is via FR 708 from State Route 260 only, via Camp Verde. For more information and current updates, check the official website. Happy exploring!

More things to do in and around Camp Verde can be found here

  • Jana Tingom

    Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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