Fossil Creek, Arizona, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(IV) (for normal flows)|
|FOSSIL CREEK NEAR STRAWBERRY, AZ|
|usgs-09507480||35 - 500 cfs||III+(IV)||00h43m||52 cfs (running)|
Fossil Creek is designated as a Wild and Scenic Area, and has restrictions for camping and fire restrictions. Because this area is being "loved to death" by visitors, the Coconino Nationa Forest Service is implementing a permit system for spring 2016.
For the majority of this run, you are alongside the trail or the road, should you need to quit early and walk out. Fossil Creek is the only navigable travertine waterway in the U.S., creating a truly unique section of whitewater. The travertine and limestone deposits create a fun low- water run unlike anything you’ve paddled before. Being a spring-fed creek with annual flows around 40cfs, this is a low volume “micro- creeking” destination, with narrow chutes and several 4-5ft drops or slides. This technical run requires advanced maneuvering/ edging around the unique travertine geology to avoid scraping up your boat/ you. If you do not have a solid roll, you may find this stretch too difficult.
Put- In: Fossil Creek Waterfall
The start of the run is at the Fossil Creek waterfall, a 20ft drop in to a crystal clear pool. If you wish to run the falls, you need to scramble up 50ft with your boat, otherwise put in on the pool.
Option 1: Powerhouse Falls/ Double Drop Powerhouse/ Double Drop is roughly the halfway marker for the run. You’ll recognize it from the old foundation/ clearing on river right before the falls. There are plenty of spots to eddy out on either side to scout, but to end your run eddy out on river left. There is a parking lot approximately 100ft from the creek with a maintained trail.
Option 2: Bridge This is the end of the classic run for Fossil Creek. Beyond this point you will go further from the road and have less river access points to stop. Due to the over-use of the area, there are now paths on either side just before the bridge and just after to hike up with your boat. You’ll need to hike up the steep bank with your boat to the road.
A permitting system is being put in place for the high traffic season starting Spring 2016. The Coconino National Forest Service is currently reviewing plans to find the best solution/ type of permitting.