Beautiful swimming and hiking. Now permits are required but it is really a unique spot. They have been getting tighter on restrictions. If people keep leaving trash then I’m sure they’ll completely close it someday. Pack in/pack out. I lost all of the pictures from this trip but the water is comparable to Grand Canyon/Havasupai, just on a much smaller scale. The high mineral content “fossilizes” the sticks and leaves that sit in the water.
In the middle of the desert, there is an excellent oasis of lush trees and a cold creek. The hike to the creek can be long and hot, so plan accordingly. (It's Arizona. Please always have water with you.) There are parking lots giving better access, but they fill up quickly.
The campsites contain little more than a fire ring; our site did not have a table or any kind. I personally prefer this, but realize many people don't know proper waste disposal. Speaking of waste… no trash service is available and there are few toilets. Basically: Pack it in, pack it out.
Our kids had an awesome time, especially when they found the rope-swing… total freedom.
We took SR 260 from Camp Verde and had no trouble navigating the dirt road in my Subaru, but it hadn't rained recently. I imagine the dirt road becomes quite a bit rougher after rains.
You must have a permit now to camp: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=75356
8 mile hike in, beautiful creek. We filtered our water.