Arizona is known for its desert landscape, so you might be surprised to know that it is also home to many incredible waterfalls! Even though some might take a little hiking to get to, the waterfalls provide much relief in the hot weather. No matter if you’re looking for a day hike or a waterfall that’s steps away from the carpark, here are four Arizona waterfalls to check out!
1. Havasu Falls
Note: Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Havasupai will remain closed until 1 February, 2022.
Havasu Falls is probably one of the most well known Arizona waterfalls. It is deep in the Havasupai Reservation, which means visitors need to buy a permit from the Havasupai Tribe to access the area. A trip to Havasu Falls is not a day trip, as all reservations will require a one night stay, whether at the campground or at Havasupai Lodge. Once you have a permit and reservation, it’s time to make your way to Havasu Falls. The hike begins from Supai Village and is strenuous, with changes in elevation compounded by the heat. There is also no water along the trail, and you’ll need to bring everything you need. In addition to soaking up the wonder that is Havasu Falls, you should also make time to explore the area’s other waterfalls, such as Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls and Navajo Falls!
2. Grand Falls
Grand Falls is definitely, well, grand. At over 181 feet tall, it is even taller than Niagara Falls! Fed by the melting snow and rain from White Mountains, Grand Falls is a seasonal fall, and the best time to visit is during March and April. It is also called Chocolate Falls because of the water’s color. The waterfall is very remote and visitors will need to travel off-road to access it. In fact the closest road, Grand Falls Road, crosses the floor of the Little Colorado River and at times only a four-wheel drive can cross it. There is no permit required or entrance fee to visit Grand Falls, but it is within Navajo Nation, so do respect the land. Watch your speed, don’t disturb the homesteads, and make sure to not leave any trash behind.
3. Fossil Creek Falls
In Coconino Forest within the Fossil Springs Wilderness Area is Fossil Creek Falls. If you are a daredevil, this is a beautiful waterfall with a 25 foot cliff to jump off. It can only be accessed via Camp Verde, and you’ll need a high clearance vehicle because the road is rocky and rough. Before you make your way there, you’ll also need to apply for a parking permit during spring and summer which helps to control the crowd. The hike to the waterfall takes about 30 minutes. Though it’s easy enough to do in flip flops, it’s best to have some proper shoes. Once you get there, you’ll be amazed by the crystal clear waters. With some water and snacks, it’s easy to spend the better part of the day here just letting your inner child play!
4. Cibecue Falls
Cibecue Falls is one of the most beautiful Arizona waterfalls, with a 40-foot plunge into an emerald pool surrounded by red rocks. You will need a Cibecue Falls Access permit, which you should purchase online and print out. As with some other falls here, having a high clearance vehicle will be helpful in navigating the bumps and potholes. The scenery is pretty spectacular though as the road winds along Cibecue Creek. Getting to the falls itself will require a two-mile water hike. You will need to cross the river a lot, as well as climb up and down boulders, so make sure you have water shoes! Swimming is prohibited here, as well as in any of the waters on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. On a hot day it will be incredibly tempting to jump into the waterfall pool, and you will most likely see people breaking the rules too. Our suggestion is to refrain and respect the rules.