Cliff Jump At Fossil Creek Falls

Arizona Fossil Creek Waterfall Trailhead

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Enjoy a beautiful waterfall with a 25 foot cliff to jump off. There are multiple swimming areas, breathtaking scenery, and nearby camping spots along the adventure. There are no park/admission fees.

The journey is definitely worth it! Don't let the description discourage you from visiting here. This is simply to help you be prepared so that you can enjoy this wonderful place as safely as possible!

Fossil Creek Rd can only be accessed from Camp Verde via FH 9 (Hwy 260) and FR 708 due to road closures until Spring 2017. Before setting off on your journey, it is highly recommended that you travel in a vehicle suited for very rugged and rocky terrain. From the beginning of Fossil Creek Rd to the parking area is a 21 mile stretch of winding, narrow, mountainous unpaved road. There are many rocks, holes and other hazards that can pop tires or cause damage to your vehicle, so drive with caution. Your vehicle is going to get very, very dirty! Wait until after your adventure to take it to the car wash. Be sure to pack plenty of food and water. You will be in the wilderness and won't have easy access to supplies.

Drive on Fossil Creed Rd until you can't drive any farther due to the road closure. Parking is limited, not well labeled and there is a good chance that you will need to find a spot on the side of the road as this is a very popular location. The walk to the waterfall trail head is only about 1/4 mile and then another mile from the trail head to the waterfall. There is no noticeable incline and the terrain is suitable for all ages and experience levels. Boots or hiking shoes are recommended because of rocky areas and the possibility of encountering a rattlesnake. To lessen your chances of finding such a serpent, stay on the designated trail. Keep in mind that you will be in a remote area with no easy access to medical care or cellular service.

The mile walk goes through a beautiful forest alongside the colorfully stunning Fossil Creek. The crystal clear water emits vibrant hues of blues and greens along a rocky yet lush desert landscape that will entice any photographer or owner of a smart phone to capture the scenery in a digital image. If you prefer the serenity of nature over the crowd's excitement at the waterfall, the trail offers side paths to more peaceful locations on the creek that still facilitate swimming and the same beauty as the main attraction; complete with waterfalls! Take a moment to look down at your feet as you stand in the creek and you will discover that you are sharing the water with dozens of fish ranging in size from 3-12 inches. They are friendly and curious but completely harmless. This creek is their home and they don't mind having respectful visitors.

Once you've reached the destination, cool off from the desert heat by taking a swim in the large natural pool at the base of the waterfall. If you're feeling brave, take a dive off of the 25 foot rock ledge! Expect to share the area with people of all ages and walks of life. It's a great place to be social and make some new friends while creating exciting adventures and unforgettable memories.

Please remember to pack it in and pack it out! Keep this natural wonder clean for future visitors and preserve the ecosystem in which it thrives.

Geo Coordinates: 34.414668, -111.605477

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Food & Water
  • An Off Road Worthy Vehicle
  • Swimming Suits
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Spare Tire & Car Jack
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How to Get There

7 months ago

Amazing Oasis

This is my favorite swimming hole in the United States. There is nothing more stunning than being in the middle of the desert and finding this clear and cold water.

7 months ago

Oasis best describes it!

The water was so beautiful and clear and well worth the 14 mile dirt drive down. Be sure to get your Permit from the, you can't go down with out it, and be sure to PRINT IT ;)

12 months ago

about 1 year ago

Fossil Creek Rebounding?

They offer new online parking reservations at if you want to ensure good parking for this very busy area. While I've avoided this area the last couple of years due to all the crowds, trash and injuries. I've heard that it has rebounded since the permit system and will have to check it out!

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Great swimming hole one of the best in the state! Its a short hike so it is great for families. The water is super clear tons of fish and green everywhere!

Make sure if you go in the summer that you get a parking pass and make sure to print it before you go or you will get turned back!! Also be sure to take your trash out!

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Well Worth The Drive/Time!

My two friends and I made the trip from Chander, AZ and it was about a 2.5 hour trip to the start of the *dreaded* 14 mile unpaved road. From there, it was probably about another hour to the trail head. (Make sure you buy a permit online before you go!) the bumpy unpaved road seems unforgiving and everlasting but BELIEVE ME that drive it worth it for the creek. We parked in the Irvine parking lot and walked about .25 miles to the Waterfall trail parking lot (it was full when we went to buy our pass). From there, there are a few trail heads but to get to the waterfall you want to continue walking up what looks like a road after about .5 miles you will find a trail head and walk about another mile to get to the waterfall. Super cool and so worth it but I also recommend stopping in cool spots along the way as they had less people and we're still swimmable and very relaxing.

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Trail update 2016-April-04

Visited the trail on April 4, 2016. Fossil Creek Rd is CLOSED to vehicle travel just after the Fossil Springs Trail head. You cannot continue west on this dirt road. Therefore, we did not make it to the Waterfall Trail on Fossil Creek trail head. The only way to access the trail is to walk/run/bike Fossil Creek Rd to the trail head and proceed north on the Waterfall Trail on Fossil Creek. Or you can take Fossil Springs Trail out to the Fossil Creek Dam (Toilet Bowl) and continue west passing the bowl area. Once the creek takes a south bend and you will notice the trail does as well (approx 34°24'53.2"N 111°36'27.5"W), cut over toward the creek and you will hear the falls. Check out Google maps too, just so you know when to cut over.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

Awesome spot went June 23, 2015 and it was a perfect day. The trail was bumpy but still fine for a sedan type car. The hike to the falls is not bad at all and the water is amazingly beautiful and clear. There are very friendly fish swimming around, truly an incredible place and one not to miss. If you go please keep it safe and pick up trash!

almost 2 years ago

about 2 years ago

We go every year, as students of GCU we are always looking for fun adventures and this is at the top of the list. Bring your go pro for an amazing underwater adventure.

about 2 years ago

about 2 years ago

Great spot, went in from the Fossil Springs Trailhead (4 mile hike down the closed FR 708) and camped downstream from the Fossil Creek Bridge. Hiked back out the next day and stopped by the falls - had the place to myself at 6am. Great swimming hole. Pity that there is quite a bit of trash lying around on the trail.

about 2 years ago

Added by Dane Nilsson

A nature loving, sun seeking, picture taking, music making optimist with wanderlust and a desire to inspire.


Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Hiking, Diving

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



1.5 Miles



Dog Friendly
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

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