Fossil Creek reservations: How to reserve your spot to see the waterfall

Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 22, 2017

One of Arizona's natural beauties is the waterfall at Fossil Creek.

Each year, thousands of Arizonans and visitors make their way to Fossil Creek to see the waterfall, the 20,000 gallons of water that flow 14 miles into the Verde River, and the wildlife.

Before you go, between the months of April and October, you need a permit to visit Fossil Creek. Permits are not available on-site. (Permits are not required between Oct. 2 - March 31).

Click here to view directions and a map to Fossil Creek, which is located 22 miles southwest of Camp Verde.

So before you make the drive up, here is how to plan your trip and reserve your spot:

How to reserve a permit:

There are three permit options:

  • Vehicle parking (Waterfall Trail)
  • Park and Hike (Fossil Creek Trail)
  • Horse and Trailer (Fossil Creek Trail)

Permits are $6. They can be purchased up to a month in advance. As an example, permits for April 1 became available on March 1.

One permit lets you into Fossil Creek for the day and gives you an assigned parking space. There is a total of 148 permits available per day.

The parking lot hours are 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. The entrance gate closes at 4 p.m. However, if you're inside, you will be allowed to exit after 4 p.m.

Make sure to print your permit before heading up to Fossil Creek. You cannot print it once you get to the entrance.


As temperatures start to heat up in Arizona, the Coconino National Forest rangers have asked us to pass along some safety reminders.

  • The Fossil Springs trail is four miles long with steep inclines and downgrades.
  • The Forest Service is recommending two gallons of water per person to hike Fossil Springs.
  • Wear quality shoes, sunscreen, a hat.
  • There are no restrooms or garbage cans on the trails. Leave with everything you bring in.
  • Camping is prohibited.

Visit Coconino National Forest's website for more information or call 928-226-4611.