Two hours north of Phoenix, and a bit of a jaunt down a slow-paced gravel road, you’ll find the Fossil Springs Wilderness in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest. Fossil Creek is one of only two National Wild & Scenic rivers in Arizona and is fed by springs coming from the cliffs of the Mogollon Rim.
Let’s all take a moment to swoon together. This is what day trips are made of, friends.
From April - October, you’re required to snag a $10 permit to enter/park, which is one of the many reasons this is a must-add to your itinerary. With a cap on visitors, you’re guaranteed minimal crowding. There’s nothing worse than gearing up for an adventure only to realize everyone and their second cousin’s new girlfriend’s uncle has the asme idea.
Two years ago, this was the location of a birthday hike for my bestie, Hannah, and it turned into one of the best parts of our Phoenix weekend.
We arrived early, which gave us ample time to stop for dips in the quite cold, azure waters before making it to the final destination: the waterfall.
And, honestly, thank goodness we did. We were not prepared for how long the drive in would be. The road was rough, and reminiscent of Jurassic Park, to be honest. Arrive early, drive slow, enjoy the moment.
What you should know:
I recommend high-clearance vehicle to enter. At the time, I drove a Chevy Trailblazer and couldn’t imagine driving a smaller vehicle.
From April 1 - Oct. 1 you must secure a $10 parking permit to enter. While it secures you a spot, it does not secure a specific spot.
Arrive early. This is a destination. If you arrive early, you’ll get a good spot and the hiking trail will be empty. And, thee stops on the trail are just as good as the final destination.
Fossil Creek has its name for a reason. Don’t go barefoot! I wear Chacos and they did the trick!
Bring lunch and plenty of liquids. It is Arizona, after all. If you’re feeling fancy, snag a Yeti backpack cooler.
Would I go again? Yes. Should you go? Yes.
Happy birthday, Hannah.
Next year we adventure. We’ll celebrate your birthday. And, we’ll celebrate #kbyecancer being in the past.