Changes at Fossil Creek Area
See The Hidden Treasures of Fossil Creek Canyon and Fossil Springs, (Part 1) for complete details of changes at Fossil Creek and get a current map of the area.
Rattlesnakes near Fossil Creek
Rattlesnakes are quite common in brushy desert areas. In the spring, they will frequently come out of the brush for some sun especially early in the day. They are NOT aggressive and will always retreat if you stop advancing on them. However you must be aware of where you put your hands and feet. You’ll get a warning only if the snake sees you coming.
People will often try to kill a rattlesnake (or other snakes) when they encounter one. This is a serious mistake as they are an important part of the desert environment. They eat small rodents and insects and help keep the ecosystem in balance.
Watery Scenes at Fossil Creek
At right is a photo of THE Swimming Hole. This huge pool on Fossil Creek is deep enough to swim. Note the folks lounging on their air matresses at right. At left is another huge spring. It blasts out of a huge mass of vegetation so you can’t even see its source. The lighting (or lack of) made for difficult shots here.
The photo, right, shows a huge pool just below the dam. The pool contains a large school of fish and is also a popular swimming hole. The washed out area in the upper right is the base of the dam. Note how the highly mineralized water has dissolved the concrete into strange formations. There is another large swimming hole just below this one.
The Flume at Fossil Creek
The Flume is a rather simple device which operates primarily by gravity. It is said to deliver an amazing 1,000,000 gallons an hour from Fossil Springs. One advantage to this hike is that the flume’s water is readily accessible. The flume is covered (photo left), but there are gaps through which water can be obtained. Personally, we refrain from drinking unpurified water on hikes (and we recommend that you treat ALL water when hiking), but we did soak wash cloths a few times to get some relief from the heat.
There are a few maintenance areas along the way where there are tools and materials lying around. Many are quite antiquated as shown in the photo left. There was a small storage shed with a large bolt inscribed with the date 1904.
Location: Take Interstate 17 north from Phoenix or south from Flagstaff. Exit State Route 260 heading east to Camp Verde. Turn right on Forest Road 708 (sign says Fossil Creek) less than 10 miles from I-17. The forest road is very winding and also very washboarded but it’s passable by standard vehicles if you take it slow.