There’s no other way to describe this list of 10 waterfall hikes in Arizona other than jaw dropping. However, besides seeing where these places are, you’ll also going to learn what it takes to find them (permits, difficulty level, what to expect, how to prepare, ect…).
While Arizona is a mostly desert environment (and a beautiful one at that), there are many waterfalls spread all across this state. Some are mild in beauty and hiking difficulty, while others, such as the ones you’ll be seeing shortly are just out of this world beautiful.
Here are 10 of the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Arizona (now 11):
- Fifty Foot Falls.
- Cibecue Falls.
- Ribbon Falls.
- Fossil Creek Falls.
- Mooney Falls.
- Little Navajo Falls.
- Beaver Falls.
- Grand Falls.
- Deer Creek Falls.
- Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (waterfall inside).
- Sycamore Falls.
These waterfalls can be found all across Arizona, but some are closely located to one another in particular regions of the state. Depending on what kind of road trip you decide to do, you can fit in multiple ones on this list.
Fifty Foot Falls:
Description: Fifty Foot Falls is an extremely scenic waterfall located within the Grand Canyon area, specifically the Indian Reservation known as Havasupai.
The waterfall is parallel to the main trail that goes into the village and other parts of the reservation.
In some angles, it looks as though the waterfall is coming from the woods above it.
Location: Havasupai Reservation.
Hiking distance: This waterfall is located about 1.5 miles from Supai Camground (south of it).
You’ll first need to reach the actual village, register there, then explore the main trail which takes you to this waterfall. From the main entrance into Havasupai, it’s about 8-9 miles one way.
Permits required? Yes.
Description: Cibecue Falls is not very large, but it’s location which is within a gorge area is very scenic. There is a swimming hole right by it and while swimming itself is not allowed, certain people do it anyway. Cibecue Falls is itself also very scenic and worth exploring if you have the time. I don’t have a picture of it yet but will be uploading it as soon as I do.
Location: Gila County (parking area off the road to the trailhead).
Hiking distance: 1.5 miles one way to the waterfall (3 miles total).
Permit required? Yes. To see info on that, here is info on getting a Cibecue Falls permit. Basically you’ll pay at a station ($30) to get in.
3) Ribbon Falls:
Description: Ribbon Falls is a small but very scenic waterfall that people who hike the Grand Canyon can check out.
There is a small “swimming hole” right by it, but the key features to this waterfall is the moss that grows under it, and the sprinkle type falls that is over covering it. It almost looks like a small oasis within the Grand Canyon.
Location: Grand Canyon (Between the North and South Rim trail).
Hiking distance: From the South Rim, about 13 miles (one way).
From the North rim, about 12 miles (one way).
Some people choose to do the rim to rim tail which takes them past this waterfall (it is located slightly past the main rim to rim trail).
Permit required? No.
4) Fossil Creek Falls:
Description: Fossil Creek Falls is a very popular swimming hole and waterfall hike tourists and locals go to.
Some of the roads leading to it may be closed (temporarily) so be sure to check before you go here.
Location: Coconino National Forest, specifically the town of Strawberry, Arizona.
Hiking distance: 2-3 miles in and out.
Permit required? Yes. There is a very long line for this particular waterfall hike, but you can register here.
I would strongly recommend doing this at least a month or two before you go on this particular hike. It’s a seriously popular spot and these permits help curb that problem and I also think that in addition to the waterfall, that this is also one of the best day hikes in Arizona too.
5) Mooney Falls:
Description: Mooney Falls is arguably the most popular waterfall (and well known) in all of Havasupai.
It’s also a highly photogenic and gigantic waterfall that has a beautiful swimming area right by it’s base.
Hiking distance: 1 mile from Supai village or 7-8 miles from the main trail head to Havasupai.
Besides the main hike to get to the village, you have to walk through a slippery cave area that is pretty steep in many parts. Chains are provided for support, but you should be careful.
Permit required? Yes. You have to buy a permit to enter Havasupai reservation which grants you the ability to visit this waterfall.
Some people recommend registering at least a year ahead of time to get to this area!
Description: This is another awesome waterfall that you’ll only find in Havasupai.
It is located off the main trail which also takes you past Mooney Falls, as well as Fifty Foot Falls.
It’s not a large waterfall, but like most of them in this region, they are stunning to look at.
Location: Also Havasupai.
Hiking distance: About 2 miles from Supai village.
Permit required? Yes, since it’s Havasupai. Again, if you have serious intent to visit these waterfalls in Havasupai, make your reservation today and plan a year ahead. Trying to book anytime before a year time is likely going to result in no spots being filled up.
7) Beaver Falls:
Description: The last waterfall on this list (that is in Havasupai) is Beaver Falls.
It’s a series of cascading waterfalls where you can hike to, swim in and just enjoy the beautiful, calm waters.
The color of the water here is also absolutely stunning to behold and it’s all located within a beautiful gorge within this reservation as you can see.
Hiking distance: About 3 miles from the Supai Village.
Permit required? Yes.
Once again, see the above waterfall locations located in Havasupai for details (and again, sign up a year ahead). I do also want to note that aside from these beautiful waterfalls, this region does have other amazing ones to see when you go.
8) Grand Falls (Chocolate Falls):
Description: Grand Falls is the largest waterfall on this list (and in AZ). It’s even larger than “Niagara Falls”.
Another feature of this waterfall that makes it so amazing is that it’s not actually a clean looking waterfall, as mud and dirt is what flows down from it, thus making it a very dirty looking waterfall (which is also why it’s called Chocolate Falls), yet something that is still amazing to behold.
The height of this waterfall is nearly 200 feet and there are “3 steps” to it as you can see. Depending on which time of the year you go here, the flow of the waterfall may be little or a lot.
Location: About 1 hour from Flaggstaff, Arizona (north east).
Hiking distance: 0.2 miles from the parking lot.
Difficulty: Very easy.
Permit required? No but you do have to pay an entree fee to get in.
Note: Since this isn’t far from Flaggstaff, it’s also pretty close to Sedona and I highly recommend visiting that area if you can! Here are some great hikes there:
- The very popular Devils Bridge trail.
- The awesome Birthing Cave.
- The hike to Soliders Pass Caves.
- And also the famous Boyton Canyon Subway hike.
9) Deer Creek Falls:
Description: This waterfall is over 150 feet high and is located deep within the Grand Canyon.
You should be a very experienced hiker to get to this waterfall.
Here is a guide to Deer Creek Falls for reference. It is a very stunning waterfall that bears a lot of resemblance to Mooney Falls but again, I have to stress the importance of being able to get here.
The guide I shared with you is going to help you get to the trail head, but the drive is very remote, as is the area, so if you’re going to go here, be aware of the risks, plan ahead and again, be experienced.
Location: Within the Grand Canyon.
Hiking distance: 5-6 miles (one way).
Difficulty: Very difficult.
Permit required? No.
10) Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (waterfall is inside it):
Description: This waterfall is more of a sprinkle, but it’s location is what makes it so special.
It is located within a famous park called Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. In it, you will find a very large natural bridge and walkway inside of it.
The waterfall flows from over the natural bridge making it a very stunning sight. The water flow also echoes inside the Natural Bridge giving this spot an even better experience in my opinion.
Location: Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.
Hiking distance: 1-1.5 miles to the Natural Bridge (one way).
Permit required? No, but a parking fee is.
It’s about $7 for an adult and $5 for kids.
11) Sycamore Falls:
Description: Sycamore Falls is a small waterfall located within a canyon with a swimming hole. There is an overlook you can reach to get to it and it’s very beautiful hike to explore around sunset. I will add a photo of Sycamore Falls in the future but it is a beautiful area.
Location: It is about 30 minutes from Flaggstaff, at the Sycamore Falls trailhead. Do note that the road to reach the trailhead is very dirty and sometimes muddy. I would recommend you only come here in an all wheel drive.
Hiking distance: It’s only about half a mile to reach the waterfall from the trailhead.
Difficulty: Moderate. You will have to scramble to get to the overlook of this falls and it may be slippery.
Permit required? No.
Questions about waterfalls in Arizona:
What is the biggest waterfall in Arizona?
Grand Falls is the biggest waterfall in all of Arizona.
Is there a waterfall in Flagstaff?
There is a giant waterfall near Flagstaff called Grand Falls.
Does Sedona have waterfalls?
The only place you may find decent waterfalls in Sedona is Slide Rock State Park. Other than this, it’s rare to see waterfalls there due to the region.
Other states with beautiful waterfall hikes to check out:
I regularly explore the US for waterfall hikes and post them on this website. If you have any suggestions of ones to look for in Arizona, do let me know below!
12 thoughts on “Waterfall Hikes in Arizona – 10 Jaw Dropping Spots to See”
Thanks for sharing this information as we will be traveling through Arizona this summer. Also, I love waterfalls and have experienced checking several out throughout the country. Ribbon Falls is definitely on the list as we will be visiting the Grand Canyon. It’s amazing that Grand Falls is larger than Niagra Falls. This I have to see. Since we will be traveling around Flagstaff this will be on our list as well. Deer Creek Falls is a possibility when we are at the Grand Canyon.
Hi Joseph, if you’re heading through Flaggstaff, I would strongly recommend taking the time to visit Sedona (30 minutes south). It’s incredible there and while there aren’t any waterfalls in the area, it’s still a stunning area overall for hiking, sight seeing and more.
Jaw-dropping indeed, Vitaly. What an amazing set of waterfalls. I was especially attracted to the Chocolate Falls, they look really spectacular. And I also found the Ribbon Falls to be quite intriguing, though I must content myself with your photo because I am unlikely to be able to hike for 13 miles!
Chocolate falls certainly gets a lot of visitors Jenni and it’s easily accessible, so I’d certainly recommend visiting it when you get the chance!
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Arizona before. However, even though I travelled throughout the state to see various sights, I was not aware that there are so many beautiful waterfalls and hiking spots. The pictures you’ve provided also are really spectacular! It’s great to have the basic information on level of difficulty and whether or not you need a permit for these hikes. I will definitely be bookmarking this page for reference on planning my next AZ adventure. Thanks for the information.
No problem! I certainly understand why you would think AZ doesn’t have that many waterfalls being that most of the state is a desert, but there are amazing oasis looking areas all over it if you know where to look!
Did you say 10 waterfall hikes? Just so many and all of them in one place?
The image of a waterfall gushing out of the woods will forever stay with me making Fifty Foot Fall etched in my memory.
The Ribbon Falls is what is taking my heart away. The green mosses underneath makes it look like a doll being ribbon dressed by the fall. It’s a great motivation to take up this hike.
And behold, the best is saved for the last-:The Grand Falls. Majestic by all measures.
Great informative article. Thank You.
I used to live right next door to Arizona over the border in southern Utah, which is beautiful by the way. I never imagined that Arizona had waterfalls, and so many of them. I would have loved to see the locations on a map, so I can visualize where they are possibly go to some of these beauties. Arizona is a beautiful state. I just love desert scenery..
I’ll likely make a map of the 10 waterfalls there soon Lea. I’m actually visiting Arizona as I write this message and am planning to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon tomorrow and head over to Utah, so it’ll be exciting to see the landscape you’re talking about.
I found your website looking for new places to hike and be able to stay away from large crowds. I have hiked Fifty Foot Falls and its a beautiful area. I’m really liking Fossil Creek Falls and Beaver Falls. I like the picture you included with the red clay rocks, this one will provide great scenic pictures for my scrapbook travels. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful places.
Thanks Jannette! One of the few places on this list where you won’t find large crowds would be Ribbon Falls since it’s so deep in the Grand Canyon, but that does require a serious hike down to it.