Fossil Creek - Middle Falls to Bridge


The classic day run.  Permits are required from April to October, available for $10/car from the Forest Service.  This run can be shortened by stopping at Tonto Bench, Irving, or Waterfall trailhead, depending on how much time you have, and what permit you pull.

A one mile hike (from the Waterfall trailhead) is required to reach Middle Falls.  You can start your trip off with a bang by hucking off the falls (Class IV) or simply put in at the pool below.  From there, its pretty much nonstop small rapids, chutes and falls all the way down.  This is a good run to learn on, as lots of technical manuevering is required to stay on the main flow path for each rapid, but the flow is low enough that pins are unlikely, and the consequence of failure is usually just getting out of the boat to walk it to the pool below.  Some of the notable rapids include Ledge 1, Ledge 2, the Four Steps, and the Rollercoaster.  The biggest rapid of the run is found at the Irving Trailhead, and known as Powerhouse Falls or Double Drop Falls. This is a popular spot for swimmers and cliff jumpers, so get out of your boat to scout, clear out the tourists and position a safety person (see rapid description for more detail).  Below Powerhouse, its more small drops, falls and beautiful blue-green pools all the way to the bridge.


Chris Ramias
Class III+
Current Flow 43.5 CFS
06-25-2024 11:30
Recommended Flow Minimum: 40.0
Average: 45.0
Maximum: 50.0
Typical Season Begins: January
Ends: January
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: No
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: Yes
Fishing: No
Length 4.0 Mile(s)
Gradient FPM

Middle Falls

06-04-2017 - An Arizona Classic!

Photo By: Chris Ramias