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Fossil Creek Waterfall

Best of Arizona

There’s an oasis with a crystal clear creek and a beautiful waterfall 2.5 hours north of Phoenix! The waterfall is open for swimming and cliff jumping.

This past weekend, I hiked the Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail… a gem in the high desert. If you live in the valley, this is definitely something to add to your bucket list.

Below are a few photos and directions. It was cloudy outside but you can still see the beauty of this place in the photos… Enjoy!

Fossil Creek Waterfall TrailheadThe waterfall trail is 2 miles roundtrip but you can also hike other trails in Fossil Creek area if you want something more intense and challenging.

IMG_1213You can follow the trail along the creek for a challenge or follow the flat path which is easier and takes you above the creek.

IMG_1214When you see the creek, you will be impressed by the beautiful blue colors and clearness of the water.

IMG_1209You can see how clear the water is in the photo above.

IMG_1245You’ll find a few pleasant surprises like this handmade bridge in the middle of nowhere.

IMG_1228If you get tired, you can stop at several places and enjoy the scenery.

IMG_1232The geological aspects of the trail are fantastic… lots of cool rocks and formations.

Fossil Creek RiverAround each bend, there is a new scene of beauty and tranquility.

IMG_1221The whole trail is beautiful. If you are physically able, I recommend following the creek.

IMG_1278Photo of the waterfall from a distance.

Fossil Creek Trail Waterfall 3The waterfall is about 15-17 feet high. It was a cold and cloudy day so I didn’t cliff jump but I’d estimate you can do so from a good 30 or so feet. I will have to visit in the summer to beat the Arizona heat!

Directions from Phoenix to Fossil Creek Waterfall Trailhead: 

  • Take the 17 North
  • Exit 287 and turn right onto the 260 East
  • Follow the 260 for 10 miles
  • Turn right on Fossil Creek Road
  • Take the Dirt Road for 15 – 16 miles
  • You will know you are close once you cross the Fossil Creek Bridge
  • The first parking area is marked by the Tonto Bench Sign. You can park here and walk up the road for about .5 mile to find the Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail or you can keep driving to the Fossil Creek Waterfall Trailhead with parking area.

If you don’t have 4×4 wheel drive, you can still drive on the dirt road but it will take you about an hour. The road is very remote and not for the faint of heart.

After the hike we had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant called El Patio. This a a great spot to eat after the hike!

2 Comments on Fossil Creek Waterfall

  1. Jason Hackney // April 13, 2015 at 1:25 pm // Reply

    Looks like a great hike. Can’t wait to check it out when I am in Arizona next.


  2. Oh wow, I am bookmarking this for our next day trip!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Allie @ LunaVida


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