GRAND FALLS | CHOCOLATE FALLS

Grand Falls Arizona

Like the chocolate waterfall in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, these muddy falls are a sight to be seen. Known in the Southwest for its many tiers of water and wide stance, the Grand Falls is an incredible phenomenon. These falls were created by volcanic runoff from Merriam Crater and created a lava dam. Located 30 miles East of Flagstaff, this waterfall wonder sits on Navajo Nation land in the Painted Desert. The falls are fed by the snowmelt and rain from the White Mountains and flow into the Little Colorado River. For this reason, there are only specific times of year that the waterfalls are actually flowing. The best time to see the falls are during March and April. This is due to the snowmelt from earlier in the year. There is also a short period in the summer that you can see the falls due to monsoon season but the window is short and is highly dependent on the weather patterns of that year.

Grand Falls ArizonaPhoto Credit: hqworld.net

Grand Falls is over 181 feet tall and known for the beautiful rainbows created by the impact and spray of the falls. For scale, Niagara Falls is 176 feet and the actual waterfall is only 70 feet due to rocks at the base. So yes, Grand Falls is taller than Niagara Falls! If you are looking to spend the day checking out what Grand Falls Arizona has to offer, be sure to utilize the picnic benches and gazebos next to the edge of the gully. This area is pretty remote and bringing food and water with you is recommended. Just remember that you are on Navajo land and need to be respectful of leaving no trace, especially trash.

This area can be difficult to get to, therefore we recommend having a vehicle with four-wheel drive, though it's not necessary. Update 03/2019: The roads are in great condition and any vehicle will be fine getting there. Grand Falls Arizona is an amazing place to explore and some people even choose to hike down to the water. The hike into the gully is less than a half-mile long and easy, but use caution as there is loose rock. The ground gets very mucky at the base of the falls, so wear shoes that can withstand sticky mud if you decide to hike down the water. But please remember to be careful and places that look solid could actually be soft mud that could collapse under any weight. Don't miss this southwestern paradise that emerges from the Arizona desert with breathtaking force!

Directions to Grand Falls Arizona:

From I-40, 15 miles east of Flagstaff, take exit 211 at Winona. Drive 2.3 miles north to Leupp Rd. Turn right and drive 20.3 miles to unpaved and unsigned Indian Road 6910 (between mileposts 5 and 6). Turn left and drive along this rough road 9.4 miles to the turnoff on the left, which leads to the falls overlook (do not cross the Little Colorado River).

Grand Falls can also be accessed from Indian Road 70 (instead of 6910), look for a sign that says "Grand Falls Bible Church" and take a left at that road. This road is located 15.0 miles along Leupp Rd (5.3 miles before Road 6910). Follow Road 70 8.4 miles to the same turnoff on the left before the Little Colorado River (Roads 6910 and 70 join together just before the turnoff). Both roads can have sections of washboard terrain and are rough. 4x4 vehicles are not necessary but will make the drive easier.

Google Maps Navigation Warning: If you decide to put "Grand Falls" in Google Maps on your phone and let Google Maps choose your route, it is very possible that it will take you on a roundabout way through the town of Leupp. This will add over an hour to your drive and put you on the other side of the Little Colorado, standing over the falls instead of looking towards them. Do not drive across the river on the concrete pass when the water is flowing. In other words, if you use Google Maps navigation, force it to put you on the route that uses 70 or 6910.

Currently closed due to Covid-19 precautions

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