Friday, April 10, 2009
JULY 1, 2013:
Fossil Creek area fire closure in effect. Visit this web site
or call the Fossil Creek hotline 928-226-4611 before heading out.
SEE THE LATEST CHANGES TO FOSSIL SPRINGS ACCESS AT:
FOSSIL SPRINGS Fossil Springs Wilderness
OCTOBER 7, 2011: Fossil Creek Road from Strawberry: Please be advised that there was a rock slide on FR 708 in Fossil Creek. The rock slide has completely blocked the road just above the bridge near Irving Power Plant. So Fossil Creek is inaccessible from Strawberry. The road could remain blocked for several weeks.
LATEST FOSSIL CREEK ROAD CLOSURE NOTICE:
AUG. 3, 2011:
FOSSIL CREEK CLOSURE TERMINATION ORDER: Order No. 12-11-002 United States Forest Service Tonto National Forest PUBLIC SAFETY CLOSURE TERMINATION ORDER Pursuant to Title 36 CFR 261.50 (a) and (b), all prohibitions listed in Order Number 12-11-002, affecting areas on National Forest System lands, roads and trails identified as National Forest System Road 708, known as the “Fossil Creek Road” from immediately west of the intersection with National Forest 784, known as “Fossil Springs Trailhead Road” and extending west and down to immediately east of the Waterfall Trailhead (Old Flume Trail Trailhead) within the Payson Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest, Arizona, dated January 11th, 2011 and signed by Gene Blankenbaker are hereby rescinded and terminated; effective 8:00 AM, Wednesday February 16, 2011. Done this 25 day of February , 2011 at Phoenix, Arizona. /s/ Gene Blankenbaker GENE BLANKENBAKER Forest Supervisor Tonto National Forest TEMPORARY CLOSURE NOTICE JANUARY 2011: Section of Fossil Creek Road, FR 708 closed due to unsafe road conditions Release Date: Jan 12, 2011 Payson, Ariz. (January 11, 2011) – Unsafe road conditions caused by recent storm activity has prompted Tonto National Forest officials to close a section of Forest Road (FR) 708, also called Fossil Creek Road. This closure begins at the intersection of FR 708 and FR 784, also called the Fossil Springs Trailhead Road, and extends westerly and down to a point just before the Waterfall Trailhead, also called Old Flume Trail Trailhead. This closure will be in place until rescinded by another order or on April 1, whichever comes first. For more information on this closure, contact the Payson Ranger District at 928-474-7930. Updates will also be provided on the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto.
HIKE DESCRIPTION:Hidden within the walls of a 1,600-foot-deep canyon carved out of rose-tinted sedimentary rock, Arizona’s largest and most diverse riparian area stands in stark contrast against the surrounding arid landscape. Saturated with robust greenery, countless gushing springs, soaring cliffs and refreshing swimming holes, a hike along the Fossil Springs Trail is a veritable road to a desert Garden of Eden. No serious Arizona hiker’s portfolio is complete without a trip down this classic trail. Extremely popular, the Fossil Springs trail holds many delights. The hike begins in the high desert above the canyon where scrub oak, stunted junipers, manzanita, cliff rose, and skunk bush cling to red rock escarpments. There’s little shade for the first three miles, so it’s smart to carry a gallon or more of water per person on this hike. At the bottom of the canyon, the trail becomes somewhat difficult to follow. To find your way, just head toward the canopy of green and you’ll soon encounter a series of progressively larger pools of water in the sandstone. The real adventure begins beyond the pools. After a short scramble through a jungle of cottonwoods and humungous sycamore trees, the sound of gushing water fills the air. Here, at the base of a knarled tree is the first of many springs that pump gallons of icy water per minute into Fossil Creek. At this point, the trail takes on a tropical rainforest flavor. Dozens of species of trees and shrubs grow tall and wide in the rich soil while tangled masses of Canyon grape, yuccas and beds of bright yellow columbine and monkey flowers contribute to an impenetrable undergrowth community. Arizona walnut, alder and hackberry trees make an admirable showing amid massive specimens of water-loving sycamores. The trail continues along the banks of the creek passing numerous pools complete with rope swings and wet dogs. Roughly one mile from the first spring site, the trail reaches an old concrete dam and flume system that at one time diverted Fossil Creek water to a couple of power generating plants downstream. Happily for water-loving hikers, the flume was recently de-commissioned, sending a roaring cascade of water over the cliffs into swimming holes where, on any given weekend, swarms of manic Labrador retrievers and their human companions thrash happily in the warm, mineral-rich spring water. HIGHLIGHTS: Arizona’s largest riparian habitat, splendid waterfalls, gushing springs and sycamore-canopied alcoves. LENGTH: 7 miles round-trip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 3,800’ - 5,100’ Driving distance from Phoenix: 110 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Payson, travel north on Highway 87 to the town of Strawberry. From Strawberry, go left onto Fossil Springs Road (Forest Road 708) and continue for roughly 5 miles to the signed trailhead turnoff on the right. Finding the route: From the trail register, go right and downhill a short distance to an intersection with a dirt road. From there, turn right and descend along a wide path into the canyon. Facilities: vault toilet at the trailhead Information: (928) 477-2255 or fs.fed.us/r3/Coconino NOTE: always check with the forest service before hiking this one. There will be trail closures as work continues on removing the old dam.