Grand Falls a.k.a. Chocolate Falls





***Chocolate Falls is Currently Closed to the Public***

Grand Falls, also known as Chocolate Falls for its muddy brown hue, is a unique and striking waterfall in Arizona’s Painted Desert. Towering at about 185 feet, it surpasses even Niagara Falls in height. This seasonal waterfall, fed by snowmelt from the White Mountains and flowing into the Little Colorado River, is renowned for its chocolate-brown color due to high sediment content.

Located in northeastern Arizona within the Navajo Nation, Grand Falls is part of the Little Colorado River system, cutting through volcanic rock and sediment. The desert landscapes, volcanic remnants, and the Painted Desert’s geological features create a remarkable setting.

The best time to visit is in spring, from March to April, when the snowmelt ensures a robust flow. Outside this period, especially in late summer and fall, the falls may be dry. Summer monsoon rains offer a less predictable chance to see the falls, dependent on weather patterns.

Accessing Grand Falls involves a scenic drive, about 50 minutes from Flagstaff, including 9 miles on unpaved roads. Standard vehicles can manage under good weather, but those with higher ground clearance are recommended. A short, easy 0.5-mile walk from the parking area leads to various viewpoints, offering spectacular views of the falls.

Using a GPS with “Grand Falls” as the destination should yield accurate directions. The site’s accessibility and simple walk make it a feasible and remarkable visit for most.

For optimal planning, check the USGS official website for water levels. A reading above 200 cubic feet per second indicates a good time to visit, and if in the thousands, plan your trip within the next 24-48 hours for the best experience.


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