Waterfalls are some of nature’s most breathtaking creations, and the desert land of Arizona is filled with some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the nation. The falls vary drastically in terms of size, surrounding, and in difficulty getting there. Some are easily accessible and are great for those who want a short trek or have younger visitors with them, while others involve a more elaborate multiple-day backpacking/camping journey.


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1.Beaver Falls

Beaver Falls
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Though it may be quite a hike to get there, the astonishing beauty of Beaver Falls makes it worth the while. An 18-mile trek from the Havasu campground, the falls are filled with incredible pools and turquoise waters that cascade over limestone terraces. There are bolts, chains, and ladders to help you with your descent, and you’ll pass a beautiful historic burial site for the Havasupai people on your way there. Once you’re there, relax, take in the scenic view, and go for a refreshing swim in the refreshing pools. To visit Beaver Falls, Arizona, you must already be camping at Havasu, which can be reserved with their tourism office.


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2.Bridal Wreath Falls

Bridal Wreath Falls
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Three miles off the Douglas Spring Trailhead, Bridal Wreath Falls is a gorgeous aspect of Saguaro National Park. The path there, though short, can be moderately steep and should be attempted by fairly-experienced hikers. The best time to visit is between March and October when the weather is amazing. The remote trail is one of the best places to experience the beautiful desert surrounding that is home to flora and fauna such as deer, javelina, and coyotes. The falls themselves offer a great photographic opportunity and are shaded by tall canyon walls and a cottonwood-willow canopy.


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3.Cibecue Falls

Cibecue Falls
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A visit to Cibecue Falls is a canyoneering adventure that lets you see a side of Arizona that can’t be found elsewhere. Visitors can drive all the way to the trailhead; the drive itself is an adventure that takes you through narrow roads, past sheer cliffs, and along the gorgeous Salt River – you’ll even have to drive over the running Cibecue Creek to get to the parking point. Come prepared to get your feet wet as you hike through banks and rocks to get to the 30-foot-high waterfall. It’s an extremely peaceful and serene part of the desert and is wonderful for overnight camping.



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4.Deer Creek Falls

Deer Creek Falls
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Deer Creek Falls is a spectacular 180-foot waterfall with water plunging down into the Colorado River. The site is remote but can be accessed by both backpacking as well as white water rafting. You’ll need a backcountry camping permit if you plan on getting to Deer Creek Falls on a backpacking adventure. The general itinerary schedules five days and four nights to get to the falls and back; this includes a 14-mile hike each way, four miles the first day and six miles the next, and another four miles to the actual waterfall. There are many companies surrounding the area that offer rafting trips to the waterfall for a more fast-paced visit.


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5.Fossil Creek Waterfall

Fossil Creek Waterfall
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You can reach Fossil Creek Waterfall via the short, one-mile Waterfall Trail that will lead to the creek and the natural waterfall. Once there, reap the rewards of your journey by swimming in some of the most refreshing waters in the state. The space is usually secluded and offers picturesque sights to just relax and enjoy. If the thrill of the waterfall is too fast paced for you, head to one of the crystal-clear swimming holes just a ways off. Fossil Creek Waterfall and the surrounding area are open to the public from April to October and are available solely for day use and with a reserved permit.


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6.Grand Falls

Grand Falls
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With a 1.5 difficulty level, even beginners will enjoy a trip to the Grand Falls in Coconino County, Arizona. It is one of the most stunning waterfalls in the state, at 181 feet high and surrounded by multiple terraces. While there, visitors will get to see various aspects of their surroundings such as the beautiful mini-gorge, the intriguing Grand Canyon-like cliffs, and various flora and fauna that reside there. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, you can still witness the beauty of Grand Falls from the many lookout gazebos that are perched at the edge of the cliffs.


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7.Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls
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Located within the historic Havasupai Indian Reservation, Havasu Falls is also popularly known as Havasupai Falls. Hikers, adventure-seekers, and nature lovers have been going there for years to witness its overwhelming beauty. The hike to the falls is 10 miles long one way, but once you’re there, the inviting blue-green waters make it worth your while. Go swimming in the paradise that is hidden amidst the Grand Canyon and have a rare, once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change your world. Prepare ahead as campground spaces must be reserved well in advance for a chance to visit the falls.



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8.Madera Canyon Waterfall

Madera Canyon Waterfall
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Madera Canyon Waterfall is one of nature’s best kept secrets that is well worth searching for if you’re in Arizona. Located 25 miles southeast of Tucson, the waterfalls can be reached with a short hike through the Proctor Trail in Southern Arizona’s Madera Canyon. About a mile away from the waterfall, visitors can relax and watch the water flow through Madera Creek as they take advantage of the picturesque picnicking area. The waterfall is one of the more secluded of its kind and offers a great place to relax and clear your mind.


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9.Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls
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While the Havasupai Indian Reservation is filled with gorgeous waterfalls, Mooney Falls may be one of the more picturesque options there. It is definitely the tallest waterfall on the reservation with a plunge of over 190 feet. This waterfall may be a little bit harder to access, but the view that it offers is well worth the effort. If you’re staying at the campgrounds or the Havasupai Lodge, getting to the waterfall is a six-mile round-trip day hike through some steep cliffs. Visitors may want to gain more experience before attempting to go through unpaved trails, climb cliffs and ladders, and go through a pair of tunnels to reach the base of the waterfall.


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10.Navajo Falls

Navajo Falls
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With a difficulty level of 5, getting to Navajo Falls may be one of the more difficult treks to get through, but its location on the Havasupai Indian Reservation also make it one of the most beautiful in the state. The falls came to be from a flash flood that affected the canyon in 2008 and changed its landscape forever. Travelers have to get through the short, 0.5-mile unpaved hike to get to both the Upper Navajo Falls and the Lower Navajo Falls. Make sure to explore the area a bit, lounge in the large pool that Upper Navajo Falls pours into, and just enjoy the scenic setting around you.


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11.Seven Falls

Seven Falls
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Located in Arizona’s Catalina Foothills, Seven Falls is a lovely oasis in the middle of the desert. The Seven Falls trail is 2 ½ miles long and takes visitors through some of Tucson’s most beautiful landscapes before reaching the surreal set of waterfalls. The adventure starts with a tram from the parking lot to the nearby trailheads, which will then lead you to Bear Canyon and the falls. In addition to experience the stunning views, you’ll also be able to explore the sycamore trees and other flora in the surroundings. You can then end your hike to the falls with a refreshing swim in the many clear pools the water cascades to.


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12.Slide Rock

Slide Rock
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Slide Rock is actually a series of short cascades that are surrounded by the signature red rocks the area is renowned for. The view offers a refreshing change of scenery as you trek through the area, and the contrasting site offers some gorgeous photo opportunities. Slide Rock is great for younger hikers as well since it ends with a number of natural swimming holes along Oak Creek. The waterfall is extremely easy to reach and includes following a quarter-mile paved path through old cabins, restroom facilities, and historical buildings before descending steps that lead to the banks of Oak Creek and starting a ten-minute walk to where the falls can be seen.


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13.Tanque Verde Falls

Tanque Verde Falls
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Tanque Verde is a beautiful waterfall with an 80-foot plunge in Tucson, Arizona. Visitors can get there with a short hike on the Lower Tanque Verde Falls Trailhead. During the hike you’ll come across many other smaller waterfalls and swimming holes, which are great to stop and relax in while there. Once you get to the creek, there’s no real trail and you’ll just have to follow the creek bed to get to the falls. Though swimming is allowed, be careful, as the granite in the area can get very slippery. Don’t forget to bring your camera along because you’ll want to capture the beauty of this hidden waterfall.


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14.Wolf Creek Falls

Wolf Creek Falls
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Often considered one of the area’s best kept secrets, Wolf Creek Falls is a more private and hidden waterfall that plunges 90 feet over granite cliffs. Getting there is fairly easy on the one-mile, round trip journey on Wolf Creek Loop Trail 384. Once you reach the creek, it’s a short walk to the falls through easily-maneuverable boulders, small canyons, and fallen trees. On the way to the falls you’ll be able to see breathtaking views of the mountains, a historic mining site, and stunning flora and fauna, including various bird species. Don’t forget to take your camera along as you’ll definitely want to capture the crystal-clear waters of Wolf Creek Falls.


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14 Best Arizona Waterfalls



Attraction Spotlight: Saguaro National Park in Tucson

Saguaro National Park is located to the west and east of Tucson, AZ, home of the giant saguaro and the largest cacti in the country. The giant saguaro have become the symbol of the American West, and are found in few parts of the nation. Visitors to the park can view these massive, majestic cacti with the beautiful desert sunset in the background. Saguaro National Park is about much more than just cactus though. People have lived in the area for thousands of years, from the prehistoric Hohokam to ranchers and homesteaders. They all left their own mark on the land as they raised families, planted crops, hunted, and tended livestock.

Saguaro National Monument in Arizona was established by Herbert Hoover on March 1, 1933. The monument contained the almost empty desert, fifteen miles to the east of Tucson. Times, however, sometimes change quickly. President Franklin Roosevelt, just two months later, gave the order for sixteen national monuments to be given to the National Park Service. Thus, Saguaro started its journey to the national park it is today.

This progress was often painful. Young cacti were trampled on by cattle for decades, "cactus rustling" was rampant, and water had to be hauled from the town's center by early rangers. Aging cacti and a lack of regeneration caused many people to believe the giant saguaro was a dying breed, quite a bit like the frontier life the cactus symbolized.

In the 1950's, a visitor center was opened in the park, and a better understanding of the life cycle of the giant saguaro through significant scientific research was brought by 1970. President Kennedy, at the urging of Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall and the citizens of Tucson, added an additional twenty-five square miles of spectacular cactus lands located in the Tucson Mountains to the Saguaro National Monument. The national monument became Saguaro National Park in 1994 after Congress set aside an expansive amount of wilderness area.

For visitors looking for adventure in Saguaro National Park, a long hike into the park's rugged wilderness it a great opportunity for some adventurous exploration. An overnight hike through the park's wilderness will take hikers around fifteen miles from an elevation of about 3,000 feet to more than 8,000 feet. Hikes can begin from any of the five trailheads. These trails range from the Douglas Spring Trailhead, which is easy to access at Speedway Boulevard's east end, to the Italian Spring Trailhead, a remote trail that can be accessed through Reddington Pass.

The Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District make up Saguaro National Park. The Rincon Mountain District stretches from the eastern side of Tucson, while the Tucson Mountain District stretches from the western side of the city. These two districts were created to preserve and showcase the Saguaro Cactus forests. While most think of the park as a desert park, there is much more to it than that. The well-known desert environment exists more at the park's lower elevations where Sonoran Desert vegetation is found. The Tucson Mountain District, ranging from 2,180 feet to 4,687 feet in elevation includes two biotic communities, desert grassland, and desert scrub. The average precipitation each year is about 10.27 inches, and wildlife commonly found in the area includes the desert tortoise, Gambel's quail, and coyote.

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Saguaro National Park's Rincon Mountain District ranges from 2,670 feet to 8,666 feet in elevation and consists of six biotic communities. The biotic communities include mixed conifer forest, pine forest, pine-oak woodland, oak woodland, desert grassland, and desert scrub. The average precipitation per year is about 12.30 inches. More diversity in wildlife and plant life, as well as more biotic communities exist in the Rincon Mountains than the Tucson Mountains due to its peaks reaching a substantially higher elevation. Animals such as white-tailed deer, Mexican spotted-owls, black bears, and Arizona mountain king snakes live in the Rincon Mountain District because of the higher elevation.

Many different species of animals call Saguaro National Park home, despite the Sonoran Desert's foreboding nature. Adaptation to the desert's scarce supply of water and high temperatures has been key to these animals' survival. Several species avoid the hot temperatures during the day and are only active during the night. Some seek shelter in burrows or shaded nests. Other animals possess features that help them stay cool in the high temperatures, such as the large ears of the jackrabbit that radiate heat away from its body.

An assortment of unusual animals live within Saguaro National Park, a few of which only exist in southern Arizona. Collared peccaries, horned lizards, roadrunners, and Gila monsters are all often seen by visitors. While the park is located on the Sonoran Desert's edge, Mica Mountain stretches in height to over 8,600 feet. The altitude of this mountain, found within the Rincon Mountain District, allows for pine trees and cooler temperatures. This environment is home to mammals such as white-tailed deer and black bears. Coati, as well as other species more often associated with tropical environments, also can be found within Saguaro National Park. Desert waters that are often hidden contain mud turtles and aquatic leopard frogs.

Plant life can be found in abundance throughout Saguaro National Park, despite the fact that the park is situated in a desert. These plants have adapted to drought conditions are able to go dormant during long periods of no rain in order to conserve their water. The plants may look lifeless during these times, however, after rain falls they come back to life with green leaves. The park is in fact full of green vegetation throughout the rainy season.

Within only two days following a rain shower, the ocotillo plant's appearance changes from what seems to be a small pile of dead sticks to a happy shrub covered in leaves on tall green branches. Many different plant species can be found throughout Saguaro National Park thanks to the varying elevation levels. According to current research, approximately 400 species exist in the Tucson Mountain District and approximately 1,200 different species in the Rincon Mountain District.

Since Saguaro National Park is located in a desert, many people may think that there isn't much water in the area. However, this isn't exactly true. The park contains several unique water aspects that help the broad variety of plants and animals survive the desert environment. There are two districts that make up Saguaro National Park, one to the east of Tucson and one to the west. The two districts, while the same park, are immensely different. The east side district is higher in elevation, rising from the valley to more than 8,000 feet at Mica Mountain. Vegetation varies from temperate pine forests to desert scrub. More than thirty inches of rain falls on the mountain each year, providing streams and springs down farther on the mountain front with water. The west district has a lower elevation with mostly desert vegetation, and only receives about a foot of rain each year.

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Younger visitors are encouraged to explore and discover new things in the Saguaro National Park environment through activities such as a desert hike, dissecting owl pellets, drawing a cactus, or using a backpack stove to cook a trail snack. These are only a handful of the possible activities kids can experience when they participate in the Junior Ranger program at the park. The park service believes future stewardship of Saguaro National Park is extremely important.

Junior Rangers are explorers, learners, and protectors of the national parks. They discover new ways they can help ensure there will be parks in the future to visit. Junior Ranger participants learn about things they can do both in the parks and at home. Upon completion of the program's activity booklet, participants are sworn in as Junior Rangers and also receive a certificate and badge.

There a few ways children can become a Junior Ranger. The first way is for them to pick up a workbook at the Visitor Center for the Self-guided Discover Day Pack. The pack takes about one to three hours to finish and is completely self-guided, allowing kids to complete it at their own pace. Children participating in the Junior Ranger program and their families explore the park using the activity booklets specifically designed for them. These booklets point out interesting things that perhaps wouldn't be noticed otherwise, as well as introduce visitors to park stories.

The new No So Junior Ranger Program at Saguaro National Park gives children's parents, seniors, and young adults the opportunity to participate in their own ranger program. Participants try to collect as many points as possible by completing activities such as hiking trails, stopping by visitor centers, answering trivia questions about saguaro, and observing wildlife. Children can also now become Online Junior Rangers if they aren't able to participate in the Junior Ranger Program at the park. More information about this can be found on the park's website.

A second way children can become a Junior Ranger is by joining one of Saguaro National Park's fun Summer Junior Ranger Camps. The summer programs are held in the east district in the park. Kids are able to discover the desert by learning about the importance of water, the native animals of the desert, and how to safely hike in the desert. There are also interactive activities, games, and more.

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3693 S Old Spanish Rd, Tucson, AZ 85730, Phone: 520-733-5153

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