Chasing waterfalls: An insider’s guide to Arizona’s favorite falls

If you and I were playing a game of word association, you probably wouldn’t visualize a waterfall when I say “Arizona”. But believe it or not, there are some spectacular waterfalls to see here.

A waterfall cascades down about 50 feet over several sections of rock.
This fall in Keet Seel Canyon is called Big Waterfall for obvious reasons. There are plenty of smaller waterfalls along the trail, too.

Much of the Grand Canyon State is desert landscape, so chasing waterfalls requires a little work, or good timing. Below are some of the Arizona’s favorite waterfalls that I encourage you to add to your Arizona Bucket List.

Arizona waterfalls you can experience year round

Tall waterfall cascades into pool of light blue water

The falls of Havasuapai

Considered the crown jewel of the Grand Canyon by many adventure seekers, the Havasupai area is rich with culture and a series of beautiful waterfalls.

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View of Grand Canyon from behind Ribbon Falls

Ribbon Falls

If your only perspective of the Grand Canyon is scanning the expanse from the rim, it’s hard to imagine that an amazing natural wonder like Ribbon Falls exists down below.

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Waterfall on most popular hiking trail along Fossil Creek

Fossil Creek

Tucked deep in a canyon roughly 15 miles from the nearest paved road, the cool, clear water of Fossil Creek gushes down falls, over rocks and through natural pools on it’s way to the Verde River.

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A waterfall cascades down about 50 feet over several sections of rock.

Keet Seel Canyon

On the hike to Keet Seel Ruins in Navajo National Monument, you’ll cross a stream many times. The trail leads you through a canyon graced with towering red rocks, wild horses and waterfalls.

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Timing is key to catching these Arizona waterfalls

The falls below are just lifeless, rocky structures much of the year. But when rain and snow fall uphill, they come to life in magnificent ways.

Barnhardt Trail

Barnhardt Trail is less than an hour’s drive from Phoenix and will likely reward you with spectacular falls if you time your visit well.

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Large fall along Barnhardt Trail near Payson, AZ

Grand Falls

Would you believe there is a set of waterfalls in Northern Arizona that is taller than Niagara Falls? It’s true. There’s a spot in Navajo Nation where the Little Colorado River makes an abrupt dogleg turn and falls 185 feet.

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chocolate covered water cascades over a series of falls

Hieroglyphic Trail

Two of the most exciting things to find when you’re out hiking the trails of Arizona are rock art and waterfalls. If you set out on Hieroglyphic Trail at the right time of year, you’ll likely find both.

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Water trickles over rocks with petroglyphs on Hieroglyphic Trail

Madera Canyon

This secret, hidden waterfall in Madera Canyon south of Tucson may be the most accessible in Arizona. It’s only a three minute walk from the trailhead parking area.

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Madera Secret Waterfall

Massacre Grounds Falls

Yes, there’s an actual waterfall at the end of Massacre Grounds Trail. No, it doesn’t flow at all times.

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Massacre Grounds Falls viewed from base

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is famous for its hiking trails. What’s rarely seen, though, are the waterfalls that run off the steep rock faces on the west end of the mountain that form the head of the camel.

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waterfall cascades down a rock face

Believe me, there are plenty more waterfalls to see in Arizona. These are just some of the more popular falls that I’ve been able to experience and write blog posts about. As I visit more falls over time, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Leave a comment below: What are your favorite waterfalls in Arizona?


    1. Here are a few to consider:
      Sabino Canyon/Seven Falls
      Mt Lemmon
      Tanque Verde Falls
      Saguaro National Monument
      Madera Canyon

      Please report back if you go to any of these places. Enjoy!

      1. I’ve been mentioning Reddington pass to you for quite awhile. It is beautiful whether it is wet or dry. The Granite rocks are carved out by the water flow. I recommend driving past the first turn out and heading instead to the second parking area, Upper Reddington pass. It is cleaner and more cared for as it is clothing optional and people take care of it. It is a short hike down to the pass. You can walk up or downstream and off to side areas, too. So beautiful and healing.

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