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Fossil Creek in Arizona is the “Wild & Scenic” Adventure to Have This Summer

Fossil Creek is an official “Wild and Scenic” river in Arizona, in which 1,200,000 gallons of crystal clear water flows every hour, out of natural springs from the Mogollon Rim at the base of the canyon. An industrial dam used to clog the creek, but in the early 2000’s it was thankfully decommissioned, thus restoring the area back to its paradise-like state.

Fossil Creek Waterfall AZ
Credit: Fossil Creek Waterfall AZ by U.S. Forest Service - Coconino National Forest

Calcium is abundant in Fossil Creek and is ultimately responsible for the title. The composition allows limestone, or travertine, to deposit onto various objects—when the substance breaks away, fossils are formed. Caribbean-esque blue waters appear like an oasis in the barren desert landscape, offering habitat to wild pigs, otters, and birds.

Fossil Creek Falls
Credit: Fossil Creek Falls by bigstock.com

The 70-degree temperatures allure adventurists and sunbathers to the riparian haven. Hiking to the main waterfall is a bucket list item in Arizona—cascading in multiple directions into a deep cobalt pool, the falls are a dreamy place to dive in. Camp Verde is one of the most proximal places to stay for relatively close access. Fossil Springs Trail will lead to the main swimming hole of Fossil Creek. Be prepared, as it is a rugged eight-mile hike with some steep portions. Fossil Creek’s wilderness is now protected to preserve its beauty, so a few rules are in place.

Fossil Creek
Credit: Fossil Creek by Alan Stark via Flickr

Know Before You Go

  • Between the months of April and October, you need a permit to visit

  • The Forest Service advises hikers to bring 2 gallons of water on the journey  (don’t underestimate any of the surrounding trails)

  • Do your part—all visitors are required to leave with what they bring (trash, gear, food, etc.)

Official Website

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