Best Flagstaff Summer Day Trip: Wet Beaver Creek

This Arizona swimming hole feels like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Drive a quick 45 minutes down I-17 and hike a few miles along a river to reach “The Crack,” a large swimming hole where you can jump head first into cool water. 

How to Get There:

From Flagstaff, drive south on I-17 until exit 179, turn left (heading east) off the highway onto Forest Road 618. The road is well maintained and any vehicle will be adequate. You can park at Bell Trail No 13 parking lot or Bruce Brockett Trailhead. Oftentimes, the Bell Trail Parking lot fills up quickly. Regardless of where you park you can follow the well marked signs onto the Bell Trail No 13. Twice while on the trail, you will come to a fork, stay left at both forks. 

It’s just over three miles one way to reach the watering hole. If that is too much walking, much of the first two miles follow along a stream. Feel free to exit the trail to the right and enjoy a spot along the creek for the day instead of hiking all the way to the crack. This will still be a beautiful day. 

What to Expect

When you reach the Crack, you’ll know! It’s a large swimming hole with lots of places to jump into the water. You can wade in the water, set up camp along a flat rock, or jump right in! Unless you travel here on a weekday, there will likely be lots of people exploring the area with you. So be prepared to share the space! 

If you enjoy a solitary experience, continue to head up the river, hiking through water or on the rocky banks. There are many other quiet spots along the river that are deep enough for a great swim. 

What to Bring

  • Because Wet Beaver creek is close to 4,000 ft in elevation, it will be much warmer than Flagstaff. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. 
  • If you plan to spend the day here, bring plenty of snacks! We suggest locally made Huppy Bars. 
  • You’ll be walking through sand and rocks to reach the river, so wear sturdy sandals or tennis shoes. We recommend Tevas, Chacos or Bedrock Sandals. 
  • Pack your day pack with a towel, sunscreen, a first aid kit and a headlamp. It’s always better to be prepared! 
  • You won’t have service once you reach the trailhead, so be prepared to fully disconnect for the day.