Fossil Spring (via flume trail)
PLEASE NOTE: Vehicular access to the Flume trail is now closed from the town of Strawberry. The only vehicular access is from Camp Verde.
To get to the trailhead: from the Phoenix area, take I-17 North to the town of Camp Verde (exit 287). Head east on HWY-260 past mile marker 228. Turn right here onto signed FR708. Follow rocky FR708 (high clearance needed) for 13.7 miles to the junction with FR502. Turn left here to stay on FR708 and go an additional 2.6 miles. Park at the well signed parking area (Irving) on your left (signed for the Flume Trail). Please note: From April 1st to October 1st, a you'll need to purchase and display a parking permit.
Hike to Fossil creek and Fossil Spring via the Flume trail in Arizona.
From the well signed parking area, the trail immediately crosses Fossil Creek. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to rock hop across the creek. When we did this hike in March, the water was flowing strongly, so we removed our shoes and socks to keep them dry as we crossed the creek. The trail is easy to follow as it used to be a service road.
There used to be a flume next to this road, but it was removed in 2008 when the power plant was decommissioned.
This part of the trail is mostly desert and scrub, with views of the larger trees covering the creek in the valley below.
After about five miles of hiking, you will reach the entrance to the wilderness area. Quickly, you come upon the creek and some of the reasons this area is so special. Cottonwood, Sycamore, Walnut, and many other trees and shrubs suck up the water from this creek. The water is heavily mineralized and a constant 72 F, so the swimming is great. There may be a few naturists on this hike so you may want to leave your inhibitions at home. The water feels great so don't pass up the opportunity to take a dip. The waterfall is truly impressive. This is a pretty amazing area so be sure to explore around.
When you are ready, return the way you came. There is also an Alternate Route to this area.