Waterfalls, waterfalls everywhere! Arizona has over 170 named waterfalls and is one of the state's most popular tourist attractions. National Geographic has rated the state of Arizona as one of the best locations to visit in the U.S.
Likewise, it has a unique blend of high-tech urban centers and unspoiled natural landscapes to explore. Many of which can host several awe-inspiring waterfalls.
Phoenix waterfalls are not just for the city's parks. Some of the state's most beautiful waterfalls are a short drive away, and some can even be found in the town itself if you know where to look. We will inform you of some of Phoenix's best secret oases and help you plan a visit to one of these gorgeous locations.
If you have lived in Phoenix, you have probably driven to a nearby waterfall for a day trip. But for visitors, it can be daunting to try finding waterfalls from word-of-mouth alone.
With all the hustle and bustle of an exciting family trip, choosing which sites make the best stop is hard. If this is your concern, even children can experience a few of Arizona's many beautiful waterfalls. This article covers the top ten and how to visit them.
1. Arizona Falls
Credit: John Kittelsrud / Flickr
Take a break and visit this beautiful city waterfall that combines art, engineering, and aesthetics. With the accessibility of being within the bounds of a Phoenix, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
Even though it is located within a more developed, urban area, it holds a relaxed, natural vibe. Originally built as a hydroelectric dam, Arizona Falls is a fabricated waterfall in Phoenix, Arizona.
Arizona Falls is located off 56th and 58th street for curious onlookers to experience. For those more historically inclined, it was created when the Arizona Canal had to be redirected because of a natural 20-foot (6.1 m) drop.
Arizona Falls is now a delightful place for families to hang out. The newly renovated Falls (in 2003) have a lot to offer, including neat nearby facilities, areas for recreation and hiking, and accessible pathways for the disabled to make the trip.
Interestingly, Arizona Falls also creates enough natural power to provide electricity to over 150 homes. Very environmentally conservative.
2. Havasu Falls
An 8+ mile hiking journey that takes you within feet of the sandstone cliffs and lets you gaze into the mystic blue-green waters of Havasu Canyon, you'll see why this region is regarded as one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Firstly, Havasu Falls does not reside within Grand Canyon National Park, so to see if you will need a special permit from the Havasupai Tribe. The Havasupai Tribe has created strict rules to preserve their reservation's wildlife and natural beauty.
Visitors to the falls may contact the Havasupai Tribe at one of their offices or by calling. Please note that day hikes in the canyon are not permitted, so prepare for a backpacking trip.
Havasu's immense beauty makes the falls' permits highly sought after. You’ll need to be quick to score one for your visit. Permit sales for Havasupai Falls typically begin on February 1st each year.
Visitors who wish to hike in the canyon must stay at one of the two campgrounds on either side of the river or at Supai Village, a small town where most of the services and amenities are located.
Related Read: 15 Best Hiking Trails in Phoenix, AZ
3. White Tank Mountain Regional Park
White Tank Mountain is one of the more famous parks in Arizona, and for a good reason. The beautiful landscape and scenery are some of the most breathtaking in the country.
For this consideration, we’ll only be discussing the highly regarded Waterfall Trail. To begin, hikers, trail runners, and walkers all enjoy the Waterfall Trail.
While this is a popular trail, hikers will likely only see a few other people during the day. The best time to visit is from November through April, when the waterfall will be at its most extraordinary size for that extra awe-inducing factor.
Keep this in mind, while the waterfall trail is a spectacular sight to behold…Only after heavy rainfall is the waterfall powerful enough to drop into the stream below.
This short hiking path leads travelers to a picturesque waterfall and a collection of Native American petroglyphs. It’s well-maintained enough for most families as well.
4. Blue Wash Trail
The Blue Wash Trail is a short roundtrip hike to a waterfall in the Tonto National Forest. It is accessible year-round.
The trail is a great family-friendly hike, and even Fido can join you! Just beware, there are a few boulders you’ll have to traverse, so toddlers might not be capable of making the distance.
Blue Wash and Camp Creek are part of the same watershed, merging into the Salt River. Timing is essential when hiking through this famous nature trail.
Hiking in the morning is best as you'll be able to enjoy the route with fewer crowds and more solitude. Likewise, the early hours ensure that the sun doesn’t dry up the creek before you arrive.
Once you’re finished with your exploration session, Blue Wash is a suitable place for a picnic. Kids love wading in the shallow waters, and some will try moving around atop the Grotto during the wetter seasons. Careful though! There is private property nearby.
Related Read: New York to Phoenix: Epic Road Trip Itinerary
5. Camp Creek Falls (Alternative Route for Blue Wash)
If you're not up for a steep trail, this is one of the hikes for you. Camp Creek Falls is the perfect place to visit if you want a quick and scenic taste of Arizona's Tonto National Forest.
You'll find an abundant variety of trees, plants, birds, and wildlife. Best yet, it's just a brief drive away from Phoenix and part of Blue Wash Trail.
Considering it's much easier and shorter to drop in here than in Blue Wash, this is a popular starting point for horse riders. Don't be surprised if you see trailers or encounter the odd equine or three while hiking Camp Creek Falls.
If you follow the trail down, you can lead directly into blue wash (where lots of unique granite formations and the waterfall is). Don't attempt to hike during and after rainstorms. It can become dangerous quickly!
6. Seven Falls Trail
If seeing seven waterfalls at once sounds pretty awesome, then you'll be over the moon about this. There’s nothing like Seven Falls Trail anywhere within Arizona.
Located within Sabino Creek, this is one of the most picturesque canyons in nature. For your excitement, the canyon is lush, green, and full of wildlife.
You can purchase a parking pass for the duration of your trip on-site and enjoy Seven Falls to your heart’s content. Compared to many other places, it’s accessible and friendly to all visitors. A day pass is just $5, but you can likewise purchase a yearly pass for just $20.
Be sure to fill up your water bottles and use the provided restrooms at the Seven Falls Trailhead before you begin! There isn’t much in the way of shade to keep the heat from bearing down on you. You’ll end up thirsty before you make it to the falls.
Also, be sure to wait until monsoon season is over before attempting to head for Seven Falls – The bridges can become overcome by the flooding.
Related Read: 60 Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona
7. Reavis Falls
Credit: AI_HikeAZ / Flickr
One of the more difficult additions to this list is that families should be wary of attempting Reavis Falls. This viewing experience encompasses a 13-mile round trip, which is not for the lighthearted.
Plus, the terrain can be a challenging trial even for experienced hikers to overcome. Yet, if you manage to climb and ascend the trials to get there, you will be rewarded with something extraordinary.
Stunning views of the slopes, valleys, and creeks are some of the most spectacular in the area. Reavis Falls is its crowning jewel. This falls include a cascade of water over 100 feet and nearly 200 feet wide.
The landscape features a patchwork of varied terrain, including sheer cliffs, flat meadows, and lush forests. And, if you want more, a visit to Reavis Ranch nearby is a trip back in time.
There you’ll find abundant wildlife and the ruins of a historic 19th-century ranch. If you do both, we promise this experience can be the highlight of your stay. Don’t wait; this hidden gem is a local’s favorite.
8. Water Wheel Falls Hike
Credit: T&B / Flickr
Once you arrive at the location for Water Wheel, the only fee you can expect is to pay less than $10 for parking. After that, depart! It’s one of the easiest on the list for you to visit aside from those in artificial constructs and carefully preened reserves.
With a quick elevation change of fewer than 150 ft, it’s a breeze to visit. However, you’ll find it no less extraordinary than any other; this is another waterfall hike near Payson.
It’s short, three miles round-trip. That also means you can simultaneously take several trips to different waterfall trails in the Phoenix-Payson area without worrying about time restraints.
Your adventure starts at the end of the road, travels along a well-used path at the Creekside, up a hill, and will take you along a beautiful river. The trail can be a little challenging in places but is well marked. Ensure you pack hiking boots for everyone, and bring water!
You’ll undoubtedly encounter several slippery rocks that will be wet in places. Ensure your hiking boots are in good shape and waterproof before attempting the trail. Nobody enjoys wet feet (only when swimming).
Once you reach the falls, you’ll find several sweet swimming holes for you and your family to enjoy beneath the Arizona sun. It’s fun for everyone- And even has a log ladder for your jumping needs!
9. Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
Credit: Monte Mendoza / Flickr
The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is a collaboration between the City of Phoenix and the Salt River Project.
Before the project began, this five-mile stretch of land was a waste disposal site for the city’s garbage. Now, with the aid of concerned environmentalists, it is worth your visit.
The restoration area is an excellent way for any family to teach their children about conservation and the importance of protecting our natural resources.
Yet, unlike the less-wowing methods of doing so by book, you can do it in person at Rio Salado. All while still having fun in a beautiful landscape!
The goal of the project? To create a healthy habitat for birds and animals. Considering that hundreds of bird species use Rio Salado as a migratory path, it’s a complete success.
Not only will you encounter some humble-yet-aesthetic waterfalls along the riverside, you’ll be greeted by countless birds! Provided you come in the right season, of course.
There are a number of paved, dirt, and off-the-side trails for your family to browse before finally ending at a few babbling brooks and small falls that will undoubtedly house a host of unique wildlife to sight.
Just be wary of taking your dog, as the conservationists in charge request you keep them on-leash and on paved trails. The ecosystem here can be vulnerable.
Related Read: 18 BEST Water Parks in Phoenix
10. Cibecue Falls
Located slightly over two hours from Phoenix, the Cibecue Creek Trail leads toward Cibecue Falls. Both are within central Arizona's Tonto National Forest, just 20 minutes from Mesa. '
The hike up Cibecue Creek is a reasonably easy, shade-free out-and-back trip. Considering the lack of tree coverage we’d recommend hikers bring some sturdy hats to keep the sun off their backs.
The trail occasionally crosses the creek, so bring your waterproof hiking boots! Unlike Arizona Falls, you’ll need a permit to visit it (good from 12:00 am to 12:00 am). The going price as of 2022 is $30 per person/per day for all ages.
A little inconvenient for larger groups with children, but there are also several camping spots surrounding Cibecue for your relaxation.
No swimming, camping, or fishing is permitted at the falls, only in the surrounding areas. The permits you acquire are also valid for the Salt and Black river.