Arizona Is Not Just Desert

June 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
The Waterfall Trail at Fossil Creek near Pine, AZ is not a place you decide to just pop over to. You must intend to visit. During summer months, you must purchase a parking permit ahead ($6, available online). Weekend parking slots fill way ahead but if you can go on a weekday, it's relatively easy to get a decent spot just a day ahead.

From the Waterfall parking area, walk up the road past the barriers. Pass under or around the barrier arm. Walk a bit until you see the trailhead opening in the fence to your left. Walk down the hill and follow the trail. It's easy to get off on side trails, so if you think "hey, this is a lot of rocks and shrubs", you likely got off on a side trail.

By all means, go the end to see the main waterfall. But once you've had your fill of the view and the building crowd, mosey back and stop at all the little vistas and mini-falls along the way. You're likely to find a perfect spot to sit and have a snack while you watch the fish swim by in crystal clear green spring water.

Fossil creek is billed as "wild and scenic." And, it is! But as midday rolls around, it gets a different kind of wild and scenic - more people, coolers, music and floaties. If that's not the experience you want, go early and leave by noon.

Bring water shoes for a better view of the main fall. Even if you don't bring them, stick your feet in the water anyway. There are a few rocks to contend with but it's cool and refreshing.

Now, as to the challenge of getting there. The road is AWFUL! I am not exaggerating - it's 15 miles (one hour each way) of bumping and vibrating and rocks and awfulness. You will question (more than once) why you are making this drive. High clearance is really helpful. And, while I commend the person who drove in behind me in a Camaro, no way I'd of done that. So long as it's not wet or rainy, AWD/4WD is not necessary.

I understand the need to keep this place wild and scenic and to manage the number of visitors, but wow, did I tell you how bad this road is?


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