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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Grand Falls, Arizona

The Grand Falls is a little known waterfall in Arizona east of Flagstaff. I have also heard people call it Chocolate Falls due to the brown muddy color of the water. Grand falls is in a peaceful and surreal location on the edge of the Painted Desert on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Almost every time I have been there I was the only one there. This water fall is 185 feet tall and very wide. There are times in spring when it has a heavy flow and times when it is just a trickle. The waterfall was formed when a lava flow blocked the path of the Little Colorado River and caused it to take a sharp right turn. The falls drop into a deep gorge that then continues on for miles and gets deeper and deeper at it makes it's way to the Grand Canyon. This is really in the middle of nowhere. There are no homes or structures seen for miles. The best time to be there is in early spring when there is snow melt from the White Mountains, and sunset is the best time of day. You could make a nice day of seeing Walnut Canyon National Monument and its ruins east of Flagstaff and then end the day with a trip out to Grand Falls. This is a picture of the falls in the dry time of the year. As you can see it is just a trickle of water compared to the massive flow during spring. But even then it is a beautiful spot and when it is dry we found we could walk right down to the base of the falls and walk across some ledges down at the bottom. The road out there is a rough dirt and cinder road. To get there you take I-40, 15 miles east from Flagstaff. Then 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). If you try to cross the Little Colorado when it is flowing you could get stuck and there is not going to be anyone to help out there. Grand Falls can also be accessed from Indian Road 70 (instead of 6910). 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) This panorama was made by splicing together two photos. It is so wide it is hard to get it all in one picture from the front perspective.

1 comment:

  1. Dusty Boots, Cowboy philosipher and poetJune 10, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Agreeded it is a great place to visit. One of the truely hidden treasures that Arizona has to offer on her back road adventures. Was there in the spring and wont soon forget the experience.

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