Waterfall hikes in Arizona are a top activity loved by outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and families. It is no surprise, as there are many fantastic waterfalls in Arizona worth adding to your bucket list.

While waterfalls, lakes, or beaches may not be the first thing you can think of in Arizona, not many know that the Grand Canyon State is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.

Hundreds of turquoise waterfalls and crystal-clear swimming holes lie tucked away in some of the state’s grandest landscapes.

Whether you love chasing waterfalls just because, or want some respite from the hot Arizona sun to swim, cool off, admire splendid forested landscapes or enjoy picnic lunches, in this post, we cover the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Arizona.

From the challenging to the easily accessible ones, trail details, valuable tips, how to reach and what to expect while visiting these gorgeous Arizona waterfalls.

Have you heard about the beaches in the Grand Canyon State? If you want to know more, check out this guide to the 25 best Arizona beaches!

TOP WATERFALL HIKES IN ARIZONA

Read on to start planning your Arizona waterfalls hikes adventure. Let us begin with the best waterfall hikes in Arizona, loved by the locals and tourists.

HAVASU FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation, near the Grand Canyon
  • Distance – 10 miles to reach the Havasupai campground, and another mile to the Falls
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Elevation – 2000 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yesa backcountry permit
  • Parking – Hualapai Hilltop parking 

Among the top waterfall hikes in Arizona is Havasu Falls, the iconic landmark and the most popular Arizona Waterfall. Havasu Falls is located in Havasupai Reservation, a remote area of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. 

It is known for its spectacular thunder and roar as it plunges amidst rocky canyons forming splendid blue-green pools below. It is no wonder that Havasu Falls is one of the top destinations on the Arizona Bucket List for millions of people worldwide. 

hikes in Arizona with waterfalls

The challenge in getting here and the fantastic beauty of the falls make this a once-in-a-lifetime hike. The magnificent colours of the falls are due to the dissolved calcium carbonate and magnesium, resulting in stunning turquoise blue water at Havasu Falls.

Due to its immense popularity, getting a permit to do this hike is more challenging than the trail itself, so you need to plan for this epic waterfall hike in Arizona.

Although Havasu Falls is the main highlight for those that hike into Havasu Canyon, the whole Canyon is full of waterfalls that you will encounter along the way, including the nearby 200-foot Mooney Falls, the cascading pools of Beaver Falls, Navajo Falls, and many other waterfalls waiting to be explored.

The Havasupai Trailhead is in the Hualapai Hilltop parking area. Although it is just a short walk of over a mile from the Havasu Campgrounds, you have to hike a total of 11+ miles just to get to the campgrounds, and reservations require a minimum of 3 nights’ stay. 

The trail starts at Hualapai Hilltop, at an elevation of about 5200 feet. The trail drops 2,000 feet from here as you make your way through switchbacks down to the canyon floor, passing through narrow slot canyons, boulder crossings and hopping the rocks before reaching the village of Supai. 

water hikes in Arizona

From the campground, complete the last mile to check this off your bucket list and be truly rewarded by the glowing oasis in the desert.

Havasu Falls plunges from hundred feet canyons towering over the landscapes with a thunderous noise as it bounces off the tall red rock cliff faces. It is a sight to behold. 

The water is cold throughout the year. You can swim, relax and enjoy picnics after the challenging hike.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May and September to November, are the best months to explore Havasu Falls.

BEAVER FALLS

  • Location –  Havasupai Reservation, near the Grand Canyon
  • Distance – 15 miles one way to the Havasu Campground; 4 miles more from the campground to the falls
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 6 to 8 hours(from the Havasu Campground)
  • Elevation – 1200 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yes, a backcountry permit
  • Parking – Yes

Another spectacular fall in the Grand Canyon National Park is Beaver Falls, one of the most challenging waterfall hikes in Arizona and among the best ones for adventure lovers.

Beaver Falls is an adventurer’s dream, a series of meandering falls forming beautiful pools and turquoise water that spills over limestone terraces and waterfalls, surrounded by fascinating rock formations created by aeons of flowing water. 

The magical cascading pools filled with turquoise water are an oasis worth adding to your Arizona hiking bucket list.

waterfall hikes in Arizona

Since Beaver Falls is the furthest in the series of waterfalls in the Havasupai Reservation area, it is one of the least-visited waterfalls. So if you do not mind the other 8-mile round trip trek to Beaver Falls from the campgrounds, you will be one of the few visitors treating yourselves to the gorgeous falls and the trail.

You will start your hike to Beaver Falls from Havasu Campgrounds and return the same way, as no camping is allowed at Beaver. It takes about 6 to 8 hours to do the trek.

The last part of the hike leading to Beaver Falls is steep and dangerous but can be managed with the help of many well-placed bolts, chains, and ladders that will help you in getting down.

Arizona hikes with water

Bring a bathing suit to swim in the gorgeous blue waters of Havasu pools, the perfect respite during the hot months. Depending on how much fun you want to have, you can enjoy diving from cliffs of various heights. 

GOOD TO KNOW

Start the hike early if you wish to spend some time at the base of Beaver Falls, which is highly recommended. Make sure to head back to the campgrounds before dark.

You will be hiking amidst slot canyons, so beware of water levels and check about flash floods before starting the hike.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May and September to November, are the best months to explore Havasu Falls

MOONEY FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation
  • Distance – 1.5 miles
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Elevation – 200 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

One of the top waterfall hikes in Arizona is Mooney Falls, the tallest waterfall located near Havasupai Campground in Supai, Arizona. 

The fantastic Mooney Falls cascades plunging down from 200 feet forming a turquoise pool below.

The base of the Mooney waterfall may be a little bit harder to access but is definitely worth visiting for the gorgeous views that you will be rewarded with.

It may not be for everyone, especially beginners or if you are traveling with young children, as it requires some climbing down through old mining tunnels. In that case, it is best to admire the views from the top, easily accessible by all and only a mile long from the northwest end of Havasupai Campground.

If you are up for an adventure and not scared of heights, start the difficult hike of about 0.5 miles to reach the base of Mooney Falls. 

Since there will be many moving up and down and you may have to wait, it is best to begin your hike early if you plan to go to the base of Mooney Waterfalls. Follow the trail where you will start descending down the series of tunnels. It is best to hold tightly onto chains and walk down ladders to descend the cliff face.

You will also have to climb some rocks and ladders with the help of chains before passing down to these old tunnels that open up the fantastic waterfalls offering spectacular views of the rocky hills and giant trees around. 

GOOD TO KNOW

It is best to wear gloves, and sturdy hiking shoes and hike slowly and carefully.  Since the currents in the pool in the cascades below can be high and dangerous, swimming in the pools is not recommended. Avoid hiking in winter and monsoons as the trail can get slippery.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall, i.e, from March to May and September to November are the best months to visit Mooney Falls. Note that Mooney Falls is currently closed to visitors. Check for opening details and other updates on access on the official website here.

SYCAMORE FALLS

  • Location – Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, near Williams
  • Distance – 6 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 6 to 7 hours
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – No
  • Parking – Yes

One of the stunning waterfall hikes in Arizona is Sycamore Falls, located in the beautiful Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, the first official wilderness area of the Copper State.

Sycamore Falls is less than an hour from Flagstaff and only about 20 minutes away from William, making it worth adding to your itinerary if you wish to visit any of the cities.

Sycamore Falls is a gorgeous, 100-foot seasonal waterfall, formed from Sycamore Creek, beautifully plunging to form cascading pools, nestling amidst the rugged landscapes, and unlike other famous waterfalls in Arizona, accessing Sycamore Falls is relatively more straightforward on an easy-to-moderate trail, over 5 miles one way.

water hikes in Arizona

You can access the waterfalls from the Sycamore Rim Trail in the Kaibab National Forest. TheSycamore Falls Trailhead is located about 15 miles southeast of Williams and 60 miles northwest of Sedona in north-central Arizona.

You’ll hike along the Sycamore Canyon rim, a popular spot for rock climbing, passing through fragrant woodlands, sunlit meadows dotted with cacti, desert blooms and splendid views into the Sycamore Canyon.

Depending on when you are doing the hike, you will scramble and make your way over the boulders amidst the distinct vegetation before seeing Sycamore Falls cascading into a giant pool of water. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May and September to November, are the best months to explore Havasu Falls

FOSSIL CREEK FALLS

  • Location – Camp Verde
  • Distance – 1 mile one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 2 to 3 hours
  • Elevation – 250 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – Yes, $10 per person
  • Parking – Available at the trailhead

Fossil Creek Falls, located near Camp Verde, is one of the most famous waterfall hikes in Arizona, plunging from about 25 feet and also a lot wider than many waterfalls, forming a stunning turquoise pool below.

It is an excellent half-day trip that you can easily add when visiting Payson, as it is only 30 minutes away, or Strawberry, only 15 minutes away from the waterfalls. Fossil Creek Waterfalls is located 2 hours North of Phoenix, or 1.5 hours South of Sedona. 

It is suitable for all levels, so if you are traveling with kids, this is one of the recommended waterfall hikes in Arizona worth adding to your itinerary. Bring snacks and water, and look out for rattlesnakes on your hike.

waterfalls in Arizona

To get to the trailhead, drive for about 21 miles down Fossil Creek Road, and most of the route is unpaved. You must pay a $10 fee to enter Fossil Creek, allowing parking space at the trailhead. 

If you love adventure, you will love your visit to Fossil Creek falls, as you can enjoy diving from the edge of the cliff 25 feet high to the pool below. But check the water levels before plunging as sometimes the currents can be strong and deeper in some places.

The journey to the waterfall is a beautiful one-mile-long hike amidst the stunning Fossil Creek in the Fossil Creek Wilderness area, which boasts abundant lush forests, and rich wildlife, especially many birds.

There are several swimming spots and campsites on the way to the waterfalls. Stop by and swim in the pools or picnic on your hike. After reaching the falls, you can swim at the beautiful pool, admire the beautiful landscapes and relax.

You can also walk, sit behind the waterfall, and even snorkel to see the fish in the water.

GOING FURTHER

You can also access the waterfall following the path along the creek, which is more adventurous if you want to explore more, head to Fossil Springs, the source of Fossil Creek waterfalls. 

The hike to Fossil Creek springs is a moderate trek with an elevation gain of about 4 miles one-way, and a permit is required.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Fossil Creek Falls is worth visiting throughout the year. Spring and summer are the popular months, so if you plan to go during these seasons, it is best to secure your permits in advance.

GOOD TO KNOW

Fossil Creek Waterfall and the surrounding area are open to the public from April to October and are available solely for day use with a reserved permit.

The permits sell out very early, especially on the weekends, so be sure to get your permit soon. You can get your permits online here, issued one month before the arrival date. 

The permit is for day use only, and no camping is allowed. No fees or permits are required if you are visiting during Fall and Winter, from October 2 to March 31.

CIBECUE FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation
  • Distance – 3.2 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 200 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – YesCibecue Falls Access Permit, $30 per person
  • Parking – Yes

One of the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Arizona is Cibecue Waterfalls, located near Globe in Salt River Canyon, about a 3-hour drive away from Phoenix.

The waterfall, over 40 feet tall, is a beautiful majestic fall gushing from a narrow canyon or an alcove into a pool of emerald water, surrounded by the red rocks blanketed landscapes of Arizona.

It is one of the moderately challenging hikes involving a long trail with an elevation gain of about 220 feet, but it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls known for its stunning location.

It is one of the best Arizona waterfall hikes that will introduce you to the spectacular rugged wilderness the state is renowned for as you walk among the towering canyons of the White Mountain Apache Tribal Land.

waterfalls in Arizona

This 3-mile-long trail(one way) begins at Cibecue Creek Falls Trailhead in Gila. You can drive to the trailhead along the Salt River Canyon area, which is bumpy as some stretches are still unpaved. This lovely road trip offers stunning views of Salt River and Salt River Canyon.

At the end of your drive, you’ll have to drive over the running Cibecue Creek to reach the parking lot. 

This adventurous rock hopping, river crossing hike begins at the trailhead on the Fort Apache Reservation. You will soon be wading through the Salt River, passing through rocky boulders.

As the trail begins to narrow, you can hear the roars of Cibecue Falls echoing off the canyon walls, which means you are near the end of your hike.

The view of the Canyon gets better and more spectacular as you arrive at the magnificent waterfall, which pours into the turquoise pools below.

After an adventurous Arizona waterfall hike, enjoy the best views of the Canyon from the waterfall’s base. Note that swimming is not allowed to preserve the delicate ecosystem.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to do this waterfall hike in Arizona is during the spring or summer, around May or June, before the monsoon, as the rains cause flash floods, and the trail remains closed.

GOOD TO KNOW

Wear appropriate shoes as you will be crisscrossing your way and hopping boulders on the hike.  Camping, swimming, and fishing are not permitted at these falls.

SEVEN FALLS

  • Location – Sabino Canyon
  • Distance –  8.3 miles from visitor’s centre or 4.3 miles via shuttle
  • Difficulty – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 5 to 6 hours
  • Elevation – 900 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – $5

Seven Falls, located in Sabino Canyon, in the Catalina Foothills, close to Tucson is one of the relatively more accessible and most popular waterfall hikes in Arizona in the middle of the desert. As the name suggests, you will be treated to not one but a series of seven beautiful cascading waterfalls surrounded by stunning desert landscapes.

The trail leading to the falls is usually crowded as it is one of the most famous falls and attractions for people exploring Tucson.

The hike is 2.5 miles one-way if you use the Bear Canyon Tram. And if you do not use this shuttle, it will be 4.5 miles one way.

The best part is that you can access this all year round, but like other Arizona waterfalls hikes, know that the water levels are seasonal. So if you want a fully-flowing fall, it is best to hike in the right season.

The hike goes through the Catalina Foothills amidst lush landscapes, where you will pass through forests encompassing many cacti, saguaros, sycamore, and cottonwood trees.

You will cross a river at several points during this hike, which is a great relief, especially while hiking through the arid landscapes of the Sonoran Desert in the heat.

Sedona hiking trails with waterfalls

The trail begins in a small parking lot marked Bear Canyon Trail. Although it is a little longer hike at 8.2 miles, it is primarily flat. Throughout the trail, you can find pockets of swimming holes on your way up to the Seven Falls. 

The first 3 miles involve many creek crossings and are generally flat. The last part of the hike leading to the Seven Falls involves a moderately challenging climb. 

You will be rewarded with stunning views of the Seven Waterfalls right after this climb, with each fall forming a vast pool. Scramble to the top levels to reach the best swimming holes. 

Sunbathe, enjoy picnics, cliff-jump, swim, scramble, and slide until your heart’s content before making your way back on the same trail that you used.

GOOD TO KNOW

Arrive at the trailhead early, as the parking lot fills up quickly. Also, starting the hike around sunrise means avoiding the sweltering Arizona desert heat. Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated, as the weather can wear you down more.

If you want to cut down your hiking distance and time, take the shuttle, which costs about $6 per person and the parking fees. You can buy the ticket to the shuttle at the visitor centre using cash or credit cards. These shuttles run from 9 AM to 4 PM, with one every half hour. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Fall and Spring are the best times to visit the Seven Falls, as the temperature is manageable during these months.

WATER WHEELS FALLS

  • Location – Payson
  • Distance – 1.8 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 150 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – $6 per person
  • Parking – Yes

One of the most popular waterfall hikes in Arizona with kids and pets is Water Wheel and Ellison Creek Waterfalls located near Payson, one of the best options for beginner hikers as well, thanks to the short distance and easily accessible trail.

You can enjoy a nice swim at the waterfalls and the swimming holes on this hike or picnic with your kids, soaking in the fantastic views around you as crystal-clear mountain water pours from the East Verde River, creating deep gorges and dramatic waterfalls. 

Since the entire trail runs the length of the river, you have the options to sunbathe, picnic, swim and relax at many places before making it to the waterfalls.

The waterfall hike starts from the Houston Mesa Road parking lot. In a short while, you will pass through the East Verde River on your right, amidst boulders. About 0.25 miles into the trail, you’ll get your first chance to dip into the chilly water of Ellison Creek.

You can stop by and picnic or continue your hike to encounter huge granite boulders, soon after which the small creek turns into a beautiful turquoise river. You only have to go on this trail for about half a mile past these boulders to arrive at the roaring waters of Water Wheel Falls.

If you are looking for a longer walk, continue on the trail to the Bridal Veil Falls, another among the list of the best waterfalls in Arizona. If you want to avoid crowds, weekdays are the best days to enjoy picnics here.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Spring, summer and Falls are the best months to visit Water Wheel Falls, but it is best to avoid monsoons since the area is frequently prone to flash floods. Ensure to check the forecast before heading out on the trail to avoid dangerous conditions. 

GRAND FALLS

  • Location – Flagstaff
  • Distance – 5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Also known as the chocolate waterfalls, Grand Falls located near Flagstaff is one of the best easy waterfall hikes in Arizona worth adding to your itinerary when you visit Flagstaff. 

As the name indicates, Grand Falls, a part of the Navajo Nation, are grand indeed, plunging from 185 feet(higher than Niagara Falls) and forming many cascades as they widen to flow into the Colorado River. 

Grand Falls is a volcanic waterfall formed by a vital flood area formed when lava from nearby Merriam Crater created a lava dam in the river’s original path, creating the waterfall. 

You will need to get a permit from the Navajo Nation before you visit. 

While the hike is short, the drive from Flagstaff will take about 1.5 hours one way since most of the drive will be on a dirt road, including a Little Colorado river crossing, with the best way to go being on a high-clearance vehicle.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Unlike some Arizona waterfall hikes you can spontaneously plan, the flowing water is primarily dependent on snow melt or monsoon rain. March and April are the best months to visit Grand Falls as they flow in full vigour due to snowmelt from earlier in the year.

RIBBON FALLS

  • Location – Grand Canyon National Park
  • Distance – 8.4 miles one-way from the North Rim at North Kaibab Trailhead, 5.2 miles one-way from Phantom Ranch
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 6 to 7 hours
  • Elevation – 4521 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – Not recommended
  • Permit – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Located in the magnificent Grand Canyon National Park on the north rim, one of the underrated waterfall hikes in Arizona that have been recently getting more attention is Ribbon Falls. 

This tucked-away gem, a 100+ feet waterfall dropping onto a distinct travertine mass, is known for its splendid location, surrounded by red rocky canyons and typical desert landscapes along the North Kaibab Trail.

Since the trail is long and difficult involving a very steep quick elevation gain, it is best to avoid day hiking to reach Ribbon falls.

falls in Arizona

The trailhead to the falls is roughly 1.5 miles from the Grand Canyon Lodge. So if you plan your trip months before, it is possible to book your stay in this historic lodge, offering one of the most popular experiences to stay in the Grand Canyon National Park. 

Alternatively, it is best to obtain overnight backcountry permits for Cottonwood Campground, 1.6 miles away from Ribbon Falls through the Grand Canyon Backcountry Office.

Like the many splendid landmarks and wonders in the Grand Canyon, the origin and formation of Ribbon Falls are spectacular as right after the rains on the remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the water seeps through the layers of limestone, emerging as a 100-foot-tall waterfall, rich in minerals, plunging down with vigour forming pretty cascades.

BEST TIME TO KNOW

The best time to visit Ribbon Falls is spring, winter, and fall, from October through May, for the best chances of high volumes of water and pleasant temperatures.

GOOD TO KNOW

Since the hike is very long and strenuous, carry sufficient water and snacks, and start the hike before sunrise to beat the heat and get time to acclimatize when the elevation gain occurs.

If you want to cut down some distance, it is best to camp at Bright Angel Campground or Cottonwood Campground, from where it is under 2 miles one way to Ribbon Falls.

NAVAJO FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation, near the Grand Canyon
  • Distance – 10 miles to reach the Havasupai Campground; 1.5 miles from the campground
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 4 to 5 hours
  • Elevation – 250 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

If you want to see the beautiful blue-green waters, one of the most famous waterfall hikes in Arizona is Navajo Falls. Navajo Falls is a great alternative if you want to avoid the more crowded Havasu Falls.

These cascades, located just upstream of the famous Havasu Falls and below Fifty Foot Falls in Supai, Arizona, originated as a result of flash floods that altered the landscapes leading to the birth of these beautiful waterfalls.

It may be one of the more challenging Arizona waterfall treks to get through. Still, if you are an experienced hiker, its location on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and its gorgeous beauty make Navajo Falls rewarding.

To reach the Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, you need to go along the 1.5-mile-long unpaved hike from the Havasupai Campgrounds, with an elevation gain of around 500 feet.

Once you’re here, you can swim, and admire the refreshing pools and the smaller falls. For swimming, the large pool at the bottom of the Upper Navajo Falls is a great pick.

Cliff jumping is not permitted here as the water in the pools is deep and rocky. There is also a ledge that allows you to climb on and see under the waterfall. It can be slippery, so take care if you want to go there.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May, and September to November are the best months to visit Navajo Falls for excellent weather, stunning views and the full flow of the falls.

OFFBEAT WATERFALL HIKES IN ARIZONA

BLUE WASH FALLS

  • Location – Scottsdale
  • Distance – 1.5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 2 to 3 hours
  • Elevation – 400 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

One of the favourite waterfall hikes in Arizona, loved by families and people traveling with pets, is Blue Wash Trail, located close to Scottsdale. It is one of the top attractions you should add to your trip when visiting Scottsdale, as it is a fun, family-friendly hike to a pool and small waterfalls. 

Expect large crowds due to its popularity and proximity to the Phoenix. It is best to arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy picnics and relax after the hike. It is also recommended to begin your hike early as the trail is not shaded anywhere, and it can get very hot as the day progresses.

The hike starts at the Blue Wash trailhead, and you’ll hike down the wash until you meet up with Camp Creek, descending about 400 feet. After reaching Camp Creek, continue on the trail until you find an American Flag, at which you should turn left to arrive at the fall and the pools.

The trail is easy to follow, featuring beautiful views of wildflowers, mountains, and a primarily dry wash with intermittent pools. 

On the way back, you will have to climb a corridor of boulders, which is the only slightly tricky part, but enjoyable for kids and pets. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May, and September to November are the best months to visit Blue Wash Falls for excellent weather, stunning views and the full flow of the falls.

GOOD TO KNOW

During more rainy seasons, watch for flash flooding and deep waters. It is best to check the weather if you want to do the hike around or after the rains. Carry enough food and snacks for your journey. Depending on the water levels, you may have to do a few fun creek crossings.

HIEROGLYPHIC TRAIL

  • Location – Superstition Mountains
  • Distance – 1.5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 2 to 3 hours
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – YesCibecue Falls Access Permit, $30 per person
  • Parking – Yes

Another in the list of family-friendly waterfall hikes in Arizona suitable for kids of all ages and those traveling with pets is the Hieroglyphic Trail, located in the Superstition Mountains. 

This seasonal water at the trail’s end is an excellent spot for picnics and swimming. Enjoy the stunning views of the desert wildflowers, the rocky Canyons and the many creeks on your hike.

The trail is primarily flat and easy, with short switchbacks until the last part, where you gently climb through the Superstition Mountains until you come to a series of rock formations or petroglyphs, cliffs, and small waterfalls. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Early Spring or late Fall seasons, between March to May, and September to November are the best months to visit Blue Wash Falls for excellent weather, stunning views and the full flow of the falls.

CHEYAVA FALLS

  • Location – Grand Canyon National Park
  • Distance – 9 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Elevation – 1000 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yesbackcountry permit 
  • Parking – Yes

The tallest waterfalls in the state should obviously be on your list if you love chasing waterfalls.  Located deep in the Grand Canyon, the 800-foot-high Cheyava Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in Arizona if you are up for a challenging, multiple days hike amidst some spectacular landscapes in the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon’s tallest falls can only be accessed by backpacking, and you will need a minimum of three nights to hike 9 miles one way to arrive at the falls along Clear Creek Trail, classifying it as a moderately strenuous hike.

The hike follows the creek bed and is slow moving due to climb and meandering through boulders. 

According to Grand Canyon NPS, it is best to spend your first night at Phantom Ranch, the second around Clear Creek Use Area and spend the rest of the nights as needed, camping at Bright Angel Campground.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Spring is the best time to visit Cheyava Falls when the creek rises due to the snowmelt along the North Rim. Since this is one of the peak months to explore the national park and around, it is best to secure your permits and book campsites months in advance.

Wear sturdy shoes and proper clothes ideal for long-distance hikes also, you may need to cross creeks, so plan your luggage accordingly.

SLIDE ROCK

  • Location – Slide Rock State Park
  • Distance – 0.3 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Elevation – 100 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit – No
  • Parking – Yes

Although technically not a waterfall, Slide Rock is one the best waterfall hikes in Arizona for a quick relaxing getaway you can add as a side trip.

Slide Rock is a series of beautiful short cascades cut into the sandstone at Slide Rock State Park and is only about 15 minutes away from Sedona.

This stretches for about 80 feet and comprises many cascades of various sizes and shapes, ideal for sliding, as the name suggests. Due to the deposition of algae on the rocks, Slide Rock forms a nature waterslide, allowing fun for adults and kids.

Arizona waterfalls

Plus, you can also enjoy swimming at the many holes along Oak Creek surrounding Slide Rock for about half a mile. To reach Slide Rock, you have to only do the easy walk for about 0.3 miles from the trail.

You will start the hike at the historic apple-packing barn in Slide Rock State Park, home to hundreds of apples in the orchards along the creek, another attraction worth stopping by.

You will pass through old cabins and historical buildings before descending steps leading to the banks of Oak Creek, crossing a small bridge. 

HIDDEN FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation
  • Distance – 10 miles one way until the campground; 1 mile from Havasu Campground
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 2000 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Although the beautiful Havasupai Reservation is packed with many famous and gorgeous falls, one of the waterfall hikes in Arizona that have been gaining an increase in visitors is the Hidden Falls, located on the Havasupai Reservation.

Although it is only a mile from the campground, the steady gain in elevation of about 2000 feet makes it a moderately difficult climb for some hikers.

You can access this stunning 50 feet waterfall via Havasu Campground in Supai, Arizona. If you are daring for an adventure, you can jump off the cliff from the top of the waterfall at many places of various heights.

Nearby the falls is the picnic area for you to relax and use the restrooms. As Hidden Falls is located on Navajo Nation land, always be respectful of the landscape and people that live here.

TANQUE VERDE FALLS

  • Location – Tucson
  • Distance – 2.5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 400 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

One of the best day trips from Tucson is heading to Tanque Verde Canyon, which offers one of the fun waterfall hikes in Arizona leading to the stunning 80 feet tall Tanque Verde Falls, surrounded by beautiful red-rock landscapes.

There are many swimming holes around the falls for you to cool off soaking in the views, the perfect way to unwind after a hike.

Since the road leading to the trailhead is a dirt road, it is best to drive a high-clearance vehicle to reach the Tanque Verde trail.

Although it is a relatively short hike to Tanque Verde Falls, it is a moderately challenging trail on the edge of the Sonoran Desert partly due to the unmarked trail and needing to cross a creek if the water flow is good. 

best waterfalls Arizona

About a mile in, you will find the first fall, Lower Tanque, which has a 30 feet cascade. Stop here for a quick swim, or get going for a short while until you see the main waterfall roaring down to form many cascades.

Depending on the water levels and the season you are visiting, you will have to move along the creek bed to get to the falls.  Although swimming and cliff jumping is allowed, be cautious about the slippery granite rocks and strong water currents.

There is also a rope swing, and you can add more miles and hike further along the creek into the canyon if you are up for it.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Since the waterfall is seasonal, it is best to go after the snow melt, during spring and early summer or right after the monsoons from October. Check for flash floods and trail details before planning your trip.

BRIDAL WREATH FALLS

  • Location – Saguaro National Park, Tucson
  • Distance – 3 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes 
  • Parking – Yes

Another waterfall hike in Arizona you can add is the Bridal Wreath Falls, which you can combine while exploring Tanque Verde Falls or Tucson. Located in the famous Saguaro National Park in the Rincon Mountain District, Bridal Wreath Falls is 25 feet tall with a small pool, great for swimming.

The Bridal Wreath Falls can be accessed via the Douglas Spring Trailhead in the Saguaro National Park. This 3-miles long one-way hike starts easy, where you’ll hike amidst the Rincon Mountains views and the giant cacti. The path gets steep and becomes challenging as you go through rocky stretches and boulders.

waterfalls in az

It is one of the best hikes to experience the vast expanse of distinct desert wilderness in the Saguaro National Park, including wildlife such as deer, javelina, and coyotes and colourful desert blooms in the spring.

Although the entire trail is out in the open with little shade, you can cool off after reaching the waterfall area, well-shaded by tall canyon walls and a cottonwood-willow canopy.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Since the water flow in the fall is seasonal, it is best to visit the Bridal Wreath Falls during spring, post-monsoon and fall seasons, between

March and October when the weather is fantastic and high water levels in the fall and the pool.

GOOD TO KNOW

Since it is a fragile wilderness area, do not touch or go off the trail and leave no trace. Watch out for rattlesnakes and poisonous Gila monster lizards on the trail.

APACHE FALLS

  • Location – Salt River Canyon
  • Distance – 1 mile
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Elevation – 10 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes 
  • Parking – Yes

If you are looking for an easy and short waterfall hike with your kids and pets, one of the best-recommended waterfall hikes in Arizona is Apache Falls, at the heart of the Salt River Canyon

It is a small waterfall that you can stop by while visiting Cibecue Falls as Apache Falls are near the Cibecue Falls turnoff. Apache Falls is part of a river, and hence there are good enough water levels although the size of the waterfall is small.

You can access the trailhead to Apache Falls at San Carlos Apache Recreation area or White Mountain Apache Salt River Canyon Recreation Area.

Both entrances will require a permit that can be purchased via the tribe’s online website or locally and costs $30.

You can drive right up to Apache Falls if you have a high-clearance vehicle. The trail is flat and easy and takes only about 20 minutes from the parking lot, where you will see the falls surrounded by vast canyons. For better views, head past the waterfall upstream along the river.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Although you can visit apache Falls throughout the year due to its proximity to the river, like other Arizona waterfalls, Spring and after monsoon months are the best time to be here.

MASSACRE FALLS

  • Location – Superstition Mountains
  • Distance – 2.75 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Although the name sounds sombre, Massacre Falls is a moderate-level trip and one of the recommended waterfall hikes in Arizona, ideal for intermediate-level hikers. 

Apart from the pretty waterfalls, you will be treated to stunning views of the desert wildflowers, and towering saguaros, while navigating through rocky desert landscapes. It is one of the best day trips from Phoenix if you are an outdoor enthusiast or love exploring waterfalls as Massacre Falls is only 30 minutes away from downtown Phoenix.

Nestling in the Superstition Mountains, this seasonal waterfall comes to life during spring and after monsoons as the falls drop amidst rocky mountains cascading over a large rock face. 

The hike, almost 3 miles long one way, starts from Crosscut Trailhead off First Water Road along Massacre Grounds Trail. The hike to Massacre Falls is perfect as you steadily climb up the Superstition Mountains, gaining an elevation of about 1000 feet by the time you make it to the base of the falls.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Spring is the best time to visit Massacre Falls as the water levels are at their highest. Although it is doable after rainy months, the hike becomes difficult as the trail can get slippery.

WOLF CREEK FALLS

  • Location – Prescott
  • Distance – 1 mile one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Elevation – 600 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

One of the best-hidden gems waterfall hikes in Arizona is Wolf Creek Falls, located only 15 minutes drive away, making it worth a short stop while exploring Prescott.

Wolf Creek Falls plunges 90 feet over granite cliffs in the spring after snowmelt from the Bradshaw Mountains increases the flow of Wolf Creek, where it meets the Hassayampa River downstream, forming a vast waterfall cascading to several pools below.

best waterfalls in Arizona

You can access Wolf Creek Falls via a mile-long hike along Wolf Creek Loop Trail 384 that will lead you to the creek. You will pass through stunning views of the mountains and a historic mining site.

Follow the signs where you must take a right to arrive at the waterfall, passing through boulders and small canyons. If you want to camp overnight, Lower Wolf Creek Campground and Upper Wolf Creek Group Campground offer excellent camping choices with great amenities.

PACHETA FALLS

  • Location – White Mountain Apache Reservation
  • Distance – 1.25 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Elevation – 180 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Permit –  Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Located in the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Whiteriver, one of the best easy waterfall hikes in Arizona is Pacheta Falls.

Nestling in Arizona’s White Mountains, Pacheta plunges from 130 feet amidst spectacular panoramas encompassing towering cliffs and steep canyon slopes dotted with green vegetation, and douglas fir trees.

waterfall hikes in Arizona

This fall is a tributary creek and one of the important places to the native Apache Tribe that currently inhabiting the area for hundreds of years.

A Special Use Permit is required, which can be obtained with the White Mountain Apache tribe before you enter to hike.

The road to get to the trailhead is a dirt route and best tackled only with a high-clearance vehicle. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Although Pacheta Falls is worth visiting any time of the year, spring and summer are the popular months. If you want pleasant weather, fall is another option, but avoid planning a trip here in winter as the roads will be closed.

GOOD TO KNOW

No swimming is permitted at Pacheta Falls. Always respect your surroundings and the region as it is the home of the people at the White Mountain Apache Reservation. 

HORTON CREEK

  • Location – Payson
  • Distance – 4.3 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 5 to 6 hours
  • Elevation – 750 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Parking – Tonto Creek campground

If you are traveling to Payson or looking for day trips from Flagstaff or Phoenix involving waterfalls, one of the best waterfall hikes in Arizona recommended for you is Horton Cree, located in the Mogollon Rim area, about 20 miles away from Payson. 

This is a very popular area for backpacking, camping, and hiking, and on this trail, you will be rewarded with pretty Horton Springs and a few mini waterfalls. It is one of the best picnic spots ideal for swimming thanks to its close location to the springs and the many smaller pools.  

az waterfalls

This waterfall hike starts from parking at Upper Tonto Creek, home to a campground with a trailhead on the left. Once you begin the hike from the parking lot, the trail heads gradually up along Horton Creek, with many waterfalls, surrounded by magnificent pine stands.

You have many spots to jump into the pools or sunbathe and picnic on the trail.

Once you are at the trail’s end, you will reach the views of the stunning crystal-clear waters of Horton Springs, perfect for swimming to escape from the Arizona heat. The last mile of the stretch involves a slight climb past Horton Springs into rim country

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best times to visit Horton Creek trail are May through October, when the water levels in the creek and springs rise after rains.

DEER CREEK FALLS

  • Location – Supai
  • Distance – 3 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours
  • Elevation – 580 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes
  • Permit – A backcountry camping permit

One of the offbeat waterfall hikes in Arizona that are often overlooked thanks to other famous waterfalls, Deer Creek Falls is a spectacular waterfall, and worth visiting if you want a secluded and gorgeous waterfall hike in the Grand Canyon Area near Supai.

Deer Creek Falls is a dazzling waterfall that cascades into the Colorado River on its north side, where Deer Creek drops more than 180 feet to the canyon bottom. 

Unlike other Arizona waterfalls, apart from hiking, you can also do white water rafting to get here. There are many companies in the surrounding area that provide rafting tours to the waterfall, best if you wish to avoid hiking.

If you are backpacking, take the Bill Hall Trail from the North Rim near Monument Point. Depending on the trails you plan to cover, you can extend backpacking in this area going beyond the falls, which will take four to five days.

MADERA CANYON WATERFALLS

  • Location – Tucson
  • Distance – 2.5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Elevation – 280 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

If you are looking for a beautiful hidden gem, Madera Canyon Waterfall is one of nature’s best-kept secrets and among the best waterfall hikes in Arizona for nature lovers, located only a 20-minute drive from Tucson.

waterfalls Arizona

Not only do you have enough ample space to enjoy the views of the falls and relax, but you can also enjoy a swim or picnic around Madera Creek with your kids and pets. It is also a great spot for birdwatching.

You can access the waterfalls with a short hike through the Proctor Trail in Southern Arizona’s Madera Canyon. This well-marked trail is flat and easy to follow, with beautiful views along the way.

SENECA FALLS

  • Location – Globe
  • Distance – 1-mile round trip
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Elevation – 250 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – Yes
  • Kid-Friendly – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

Among the easiest waterfall hikes in Arizona is Seneca Falls, formed by one of the oldest rivers Seneca flowing seasonally into the Salt River Canyon, forming a pretty pool below, surrounded by rocky mountains and desert landscapes.

It is worth a quick stop to take a swim and enjoy the views. The trail to the canyon and the waterfalls lies next to the parking area. Although only half a mile one way, you may want to start slow as the path is narrow and steep, filled with lots of loose and slippery rocks. You will be at the bottom of the falls in about 20 minutes.

GOOD TO KNOW

Beware of the abundant poison ivy on the trail. Also, if you are here after the rain, the path can be extra slippery, so wear good hiking shoes.

REAVIS FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation
  • Distance – 7 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 6 to 8 hours
  • Elevation – 3300 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yes, a backcountry permit
  • Parking – Yes

If you are up for a longer hike, Reavis Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in Arizona for challenge lovers. 

This difficult hike, a 14-mile out-and-back trail beginning at the Reavis Ranch trailhead, takes you through some of the most incredible desert terrains, and signature landscapes of Arizona as you meander through the Superstition Wilderness crisscrossing creeks, hopping boulders and tackling rock ridgelines.

You will pass through many hidden treasures such as old ranches, waterfalls, canyons, wildflower blooms, different types of wild cacti, animals and birds amidst fascinating rock formations. The hike to Reavis Falls is the best way to get into the heart of Superstition Wilderness.

waterfall hikes in Arizona

The reward in the middle of your hike is Reavis Falls, a gorgeous 140-foot fall, flowing over a high rugged cliff wall, resembling a wedding veil.

You also have the option of breaking up the trail and making it an overnight camping trip thanks to the proximity of many camping spots. You can stay at Reavis Ranch as well.

Due to the scrambling, climbing and crisscrossing involved apart from the challenging long terrain, mostly in the outdoors, it is best to carry sufficient water and food.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Spring is the best time to visit Reavis Falls for witnessing the full vigour of the fall, along with beautiful landscapes with blooms. 

INDIAN MAIDEN FALLS

  • Location – Havasupai Reservation
  • Distance – 4 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration –  5 to 6 hours
  • Elevation – 650 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yes
  • Parking – Yes

If you are looking for one of the challenging and off-beat waterfall hikes in Arizona, the Indian Maiden Falls is one of the perfect picks. Located near Camp Verde in Sedona, you can access this beautiful fall via the 8 miles roundtrip hike along the West Clear Creek Trail.

This challenging hike is not for beginners, and if you are up for the adventure, you will be treated to gorgeous views and many activities you can enjoy, quickly making it one of the perfect day trips. Along with long swims through canyons, you can camp overnight amidst the lush landscapes. 

Go rope swinging or jump off the cliffs, and check out the hanging gardens nearby while enjoying the gorgeous backdrops around you.

waterfall hikes in Arizona

The hike is primarily strenuous because of the many river crossings involved, with swimming sometimes required and tackling the narrow, rocky trail on your way. But the trail offers spectacular views of beautiful red rock canyons on the way.

The road to the trailhead is a dirt road best tackled with a high-clearance vehicle. 

The trail is clear, with a steady incline down to the direction of West Clear Creek, passing through a vast canyon. Near the river, you will find a fork at which you have to turn left to follow the trail parallel to the river below.

At the river, you have to turn left and cross the river, but we recommend going a bit further to avoid having to travel high levels of water which may soak your belongings.   

waterfall hikes in Arizona

About 0.5 miles to the waterfalls, you will have to swim through a narrow, for which it is best to keep your belongings behind. It gets slippery and rocky, full of gravel and boulders along with the sun(depending on when you do the hike) on the way down once you cross and make your way to the other side, but it can be done.

The strenuous hike ends with a beautiful view of Indian Maiden falls, where you can relax and picnic.

You will have to climb back up the same way, which can be steep due to the sudden elevation gain to head back to the trailhead, so plan your trip accordingly.

GOOD TO KNOW

It is best to carry snacks and water on this long journey as you will need both, thanks to the strenuous crossings and hopping rocks. 

Start the hike early in the morning, around 7 AM or in the afternoon, as you can avoid the sun at both these times. It is best not to do this hike with young children.

ROMERO POOLS

  • Location – Catalina State Park, near Tucson
  • Distance – 2.8 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 2 to 3 hours
  • Elevation – 900 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Parking – $7  

The Romero Pools in the Catalina State Park, located near Tucson is one of the moderate waterfall hikes in Arizona that you can add to your itinerary for a quick hike. Only the last mile of the hike is a bit difficult since it involves a climb on a rocky path with an elevation gain of about 900 feet, but still doable by beginner hikers.

waterfall hikes in Arizona

The hike to the waterfalls begins on the Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park. You will pass through stunning views with towering Saguaro and views of the vast deserted mountains on your way to the waterfalls.

After going along a relatively flat trail for a mile, you will feel the eventual incline as you climb higher into the Santa Catalina Mountain Range. After a mile more, you will arrive at a series of beautiful waterfalls forming pools, forming splendid oases, surrounded by smooth granite boulders overlooking the skyline of Tucson on the horizon.

The best way to reward yourself is plunging into the pools for a cool dip, a refreshment from the hot temperature. Enjoy picnic lunches or sunbathing soaking in some stunning views.

BEST TIME TO VISIT 

Except for the summer months, you can visit Romero Pools during the entire year. 

WINN FALLS

  • Location –  Chiricahua Mountains, Portal
  • Distance – 5 miles one way
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 6 to 7 hours
  • Elevation – 430 ft
  • Type – Out-and-back
  • Dog-Friendly – No
  • Kid-Friendly – No
  • Permit – Yesbackcountry permit 
  • Parking – Yes

If you are looking for challenging offbeat hikes, one of the best waterfall hikes in Arizona is Winn Fall, located in the Chiricahua Mountains near Portal. This gorgeous 300-foot tall can be viewed from many viewpoints, nestling amidst rocky canyons.

You can access the waterfall from Greenhouse Trail. The hike is challenging, with many amazing switchbacks and climbing more than 2000 feet through high divides between canyons.

You’ll reach the Winn Falls Viewpoint in less than two miles, and to admire it fully, it is best to continue your hike to the base of the waterfalls. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Spring is the best time to view the falls as snowmelt increases the volume of the falls creating a spectacle amidst rocky mountains.

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