• In the fall of 2004, nearly 100 people from around the state worked together to restore Fossil Creek to a native fishery. This work involved removing non-native fish that had invaded the stream so the few remaining native species would have a chance to survive. Native fish in Fossil Creek include headwater chub, roundtail chub, speckled dace, Sonora sucker, and Desert sucker.

    Fossil creek currently requires a reservation do to the number of visitors.

    Fossil Creek flows from Fossil Springs, 14 miles to its confluence with the Verde River downstream of the historic and decommissioned Childs power plant. Fossil Creek is one of two Wild and Scenic rivers in Arizona. Its 70° F water pours at 20,000 gallons per hour from springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. Over the years these calcium rich waters have laid down huge deposits of a material called travertine. That rock-like substance encases whatever happens to fall into the stream bed – forming the fossil-like formations for which the area is named.

    The 4 mile stretch of fishable water starts from the Old Fossil Creek Dam 1 mile upstream from the Irving trailhead, down to a set of powerlines that crosses the creek just below Sally May Wash. This section is open for catch and release fishing between the first Saturday in October all the way through April 30th.

    Roundtail chub must be immediately released unharmed; no chub may be kept; artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only.- Coconino National Forest

    Attached is a pdf of detailed fishing information about Fossil Creek.
  • GPS:
    Latitude: 34° 46' 55.6" N Longitude: 111° 13' 33.8" W
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    Game and Fish Phone: (602) 789-3701
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    Fossil Creek is open all year but check with the Coconino Forest in Winter for Road closer
    Road Conditions:
    Land Ownership:
    Coconino National Forest
    Ranger Station/District:
    Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 282-4119 or the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900.
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    There is no fee for Fossil Creek
    6700 feet
    Max Surface Acres:
    60 surface acers
    Average Depth:
    3+ feet
    Boats to Rent:
    Camping is limited at Fossil Creek. Theres a big deal about were you can camp there so be sure and print out or study this document from the COCONINO and TONTO NATIONAL FORESTS
    Barrier free Access:
    Trailer Spaces:
    Launching Area:
    Water Skiing:
    Cleaning Stations:
    No marinas at Fossil Creek
  • Fossil Creek and is accessed by Highway 260 east of Camp Verde, or Highway 87 north of Strawberry. Be sure and readthis document if your trying to camp at Fossil Creek.

User Comments

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  1. HookedAZ
  2. azfisherman
    They closed fossil creek on Thursday due to the fire. Access to fossil creek from strawberry and Campmp Verde are closed. They are kicking folks out who have already set up shop there. This was done by a joint decision by the Coconino and Tonto National Forest.
  3. Sheyleen
    If you go camping are there any dangerous animals?
  4. ben johnson
    wanting to head to childs at fossil creek tomorrow.could you please tell me if you can camp or is it day use only at the childs power plant.thanks