The Bull Pen Swimming Hole

On July 16, Aleisha and I took some friends to the Bull Pen Swimming Hole, a lovely place near Camp Verde. We used directions found on this website to get there, but we had some trouble finding our way. Below are pictures of our excursion as well as directions on how to get there. The swimming area is lovely, there’s a 20 foot jumping rock, and the hike is less than 1 mile.

If you search “Bull Pen Day Use Area” in your maps, your phone will take you where you need to go. The dirt road is pretty rough, lots of rocks and uneven ground. It took us 30 minutes to drive the 5.2 miles back in our Honda Accord. A bigger vehicle would’ve been nice. The entrance looks like this. *there’s a “618” marker on the right*

Drive on this road for 2.18 miles until you come a clear fork in the road. Take a right.

Then continue for another 3.1 miles until you reach a large parking lot. Do not stop driving until the road ends. It’s tempting to pull off too soon. The parking lot and trail head look like this, and there’s a very large gate by the entrance of the West Clear Creek Trail. That’s the trail you want.

You need to continue on this trail for 0.64 miles until you see a stone structure. You’ll be hiking upstream, but several hundred yards from the river. Take a right only once you’ve reached the old stone house. This will take you towards the river.

This continues to a fork in the trail which is marked with a sign. Follow the sign’s arrow to the right.

You’ll soon see a piece of metal equipment and then a trail split. Stay right at both places, towards the river.

And then feast your eyes upon the beautiful Bull Pen Swimming Hole!

This is a great summer hike! The swimming hole and surrounding area is shaded, and there’s plenty of room to spread out food, hammocks, etc. Plan on a half hour to drive in and then 20 minutes to hike.

Thanks to Aleisha and Christy for photos.

Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

4 thoughts on “The Bull Pen Swimming Hole

  1. This is an A+ description on how to get there and what to expect. My wife and I came from out of state and with no knowledge of the area at all and used this guide with no issues.

    The water is really cold, FYI. But it’s so worth it. We went on 11/4 and were the only ones there and the water was plenty deep to jump into. I’m 6’3″ and it was fine.

    No joke on the roads. A sedan is not the way to go, we made it with one, but it was tricky at times. A truck or SUV is definitely better.

    Thank you for this guide!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tried to find this a couple years ago but no luck. I did see the stone house, though! Thank you for some very detailed directions. I’m hoping to take the kids there for some summer fun.


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