AZ – GRAND FALLS (Chocolate Falls)

Grand Falls, Chocolate Falls, waterfall, Little Colorado River, Navajo Nation, Arizona

Grand Falls – view from the bottom

Grand Falls is an impressive waterfall, particularly when the flow is over 1,000 CFS (Cubic Feet per Second).  To give some perspective about CFS, here are some examples of CFS for Arizona waterfalls (Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls in Havasupai ~ 60 CFS; Fossil Creek Falls ~ 40 CFS).

Grand Falls usually flows during two times/seasons of the year.  The snow melt in January/February usually provides 200+ CFS for a sustained period.  The second period/time is during the rain runoff of the “monsoon” season.  This flow is more sporadic, unpredictable, and in the last few years it has been much more impressive.  For example, a rainstorm happened today in the drainage basin upstream from Grand Falls with over 8,000 CFS.  Again, to put this into perspective, the Colorado River below the Glen Canyon Dam (Lake Powell) and prior to the Little Colorado River contributing to it at the Confluence (the beginning of the Grand Canyon), flows around 9,000 CFS.  Usually, the Little Colorado River contributes 222 CFS to the Colorado River (blue at 222 CFS, brown when > 230 CFS).


I suggest researching the directions to this location.

I go east from Flagstaff on Interstate 40 to the Winona exit (211).  Then, I go north, northwest to Leupp Road.  I take Leupp Road to the Navajo Nation.  There is sign for Grand Falls.  I usually take the Indian Road 70 north about 8.5 miles before turning west onto another, rougher, dirt road that can be followed to the cliff edge overlooking Grand Falls (a total of around 9.4 miles from the paved Leupp Road to the Grand Falls parking/viewing area).

One of the most common questions asked is, “Will my car make it on this road?”  My answer is, ‘I do not know.’  If I drive your car, I am confident that I will make it to Grand Falls.  The dirt road is much better than it was in 2014.


Remember that this waterfall, and the dirt road to it, is on the Navajo Nation.  I suggest calling the Navajo Nation (Leupp Chapter) to inquire about a permit.  I am not Navajo, therefore I am required to have a permit when I travel onto the Navajo Nation.  Grand Falls has been the exception.  The last time I called the Leupp Chapter and inquired specifically about a permit for Grand Falls, they told me that a permit was not required.

The mist.  The sound.  Awe inspiring.


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