Arizona's Must See Waterfalls

waterfalls in arizona

Waterfalls In Arizona

Arizona may be most famous for the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, and scorching heat, but it also has a few hidden gems- waterfalls. Yes, waterfalls in Arizona do exist – and they are some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the United States.

Fossil Creek Falls

Waterfall Trail on Fossil CreekDeborah Lee Soltesz

About 20 miles from Camp Verde, AZ you can find the majestic Fossil Creek Falls.

The abundant and diverse greenery might trick you into thinking you’re not in Arizona, but don’t be fooled. The turquoise water stays a nice 72F degrees, making this a true oasis in the desert.

Although not the easiest fall to reach, once you have arrived you’ll be glad you made the trip.

Important pointers to keep in mind if you do go: (1) make sure you get a parking permit before you go (you can be turned away without one). (2) To reach the trailhead you have to go through about an hour drive on tough roads, so the bigger the vehicle the better.  (3) Careful on the slippery rocks and strong currents in the water.

Havasu Falls

havasu falls
Jon Rolg

Havasu Falls is a favorite among hikers – and for good reason.

Located in the Havasupai American Indian Reservation, Havasupai literally means “people of the blue-green water”, and it’s easy to see why. The crystal clear water and stunning views make for an experience of a lifetime.

It’s best to come prepared because the hike to reach the falls is no-joke, but it’s definitely worth it.

Ribbon Falls


At the North Rim of the Grand Canyon you can find Ribbon Falls.

A 15-mile hike round-trip, reaching the falls is no walk in the park. As with most sites in the region, preperation is key for a safe and succesful hike.

Reservations for overnight stay need to be made far in advance at the Phantom Ranch. If no spots are available try reserving a spot at one of the campsites.

As you cool down under the falls, you can enjoy the beautiful Canyon view.

Seven Falls


Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains (near Tuscon), the Seven Falls makes for a fantastic day trip for all ages.

Named for it’s seven tiers of cascading water, the Seven Falls are best seen in the fall – when the water is typically running.

A moderate-level hike, the 4-mile journey to reach the falls is not a difficult one, and certainly worth the spectacular views surrounding the falls.

New Navajo Falls

Jeremy Stapleton

The New Navajo Falls were created in 2008 when a flash-flood diverted water from the former Navajo Falls. As a result, the landscape was forever changed and the New Navajo Falls were born.

A close hike from the Havasu Falls, the New Navajo Falls are a scenic wonderland. The falls consist of two waterfalls (upper and lower), which tend to be less crowded than the ever-popular Havasu falls.

A neat feature of the upper falls worth checking out is a mini cave behind the waterfall. To reach it, just swim underneath the falls, and vuola- your own private waterfall cave.

Winn Falls


Situated in the Coronado National Forest, Winn Falls stands at a monsterous 400 feet tall.

The Herb Martyr Campground offers a place to set up camp, as well as a great view situated right below the falls.

Because in the summer it is dry and in the winter it is frozen over, spring will most likely be your best bet for seeing the falls active.

There are various trails to choose from to get great views of the falls.

Grand Falls

Grand Falls in Golden Light
Charlie Stinchcomb

Grand Falls is taller than Niagra Falls, and far less crowded.

Located 30 miles northeast of Flagstaff, AZ, it can be a bit confusing for tourists to find, which may contribute to the falls remaining a best kept secret. In addition, the falls typically only run in the spring, once the snows have melted.

Often compared to ‘flowing chocolate’, Grand Falls has a unique muddy brown color. Despite lacking the clear waters of Havasu or Fossil Creek, the size and beauty of the area make this a must-see.

Waterfalls in Arizona: Preperation

Preperation is key when traveling in a climate as unforgiving as Arizona’s. It is best to keep a few safety precautions and regulations in mind:

  • Bring lots of water. Hiking for multiple hours in the Arizona sun will dehydrate you. Not to mention, most of these trails do not have water stops along the way.
  • Make sure all necessary permits are purchased before hand. Some sites will require camping permits, some parking permits, and some won’t require any. It can ruin a trip if you get turned away because a permit wasn’t purchased.
  • Bring Sunscreen. You need to protect your skin because you will be exposed for much of the day on these hikes. A good sun hat is also preferred.
  • Invest in a good pair of Hiking Boots.
  • Be careful on slippery rocks. Rocks surrounding water falls are known for being dangerous. Make sure to take extra precaution when walking or climbing. If you don’t want to go into the water barefoot, consider a pair of water shoes.
  • Pick up your garbage. Most of these sites will not have garbage cans or dumpsters to place waste. You’re responsible for whatever you bring. Take a plastic bag so you can carry any of your bottles/wrappers/waste out with you.
  • Misc. items like a towel, goggles, underwater camera, and extra socks can also be considered.
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