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Cheyava Falls, AZ

Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.4 of 5 
278 9 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,634 feet
Elevation Gain 1,490 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,490 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.45
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2017-04-01 Dave1
91  2016-04-28
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
21  2015-05-23
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
27  2014-11-27
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
29  2014-11-27
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
30  2012-03-25
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
70  2010-04-23 Al_HikesAZ
Author Al_HikesAZ
author avatar Guides 11
Routes 88
Photos 2,645
Trips 242 map ( 2,356 miles )
Age 89 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Spring
Sun  5:11am - 7:47pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Ellsworth thought intermittent
by Al_HikesAZ

Multiple day backpack for most. Guide stats only represent the final offtrail stretch.

Cheyava Falls is the tallest waterfall in Arizona - beating out Angel Falls, Seven Cataracts and Carr Falls. Cheyava also rates as the highest in Magnitude and Aesthetics in AZ.

Cheyava cascades from the North Rim on the southern end of the Walhalla Plateau north of Honan Point. Often the Falls are merely a wet streak on the Canyon Wall. But in the Spring after a wet winter as the snow on the North Rim melts, Cheyava Falls become truly impressive cascading 800 feet down the Redwall Limestone. The longest drop is about 400 feet, then it cascades another 400 feet through a brushy slope and into Clear Creek. Thick foliage keeps you from reaching the base of the falls. Seeing Cheyava Falls flowing strong is high on the list for avid Grand Canyon Hikers.

Ellsworth Kolb named the Falls.
"After the USGS river trip in the summer of 1923, Colonel Claude H. Birdseye suggested that Ellsworth give it a name, preferably of Indian origin. Ellsworth supposed the water flowed only intermittently, and he suggested Cheyava, a Hopi word meaning intermittent river"

First you have to get to the Trailhead at Clear Creek Campground. Many hikers go to Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch on Day One (an 8 to 10 mile trip) and then to Clear Creek Campground on Day Two (a 9 to 10 mile trip). Physically fit and experienced Backpackers can make it to Clear Creek Campground in one day (an 18 to 20 mile trip) depending on the weather and temperatures. See the Clear Creek Trail Description.

If Cheyava Falls is running and worth seeing, you will get wet on this hike so have appropriate footwear and dress accordingly. At times you will walk in the creek and you will cross it many times.

Starting from the Clear Creek Campground, head up creek. Access to the upper region of Clear Creek and Cheyava Falls begins with a fairly narrow section through the Shinumo cliffs that surround the camping area at the end of the Clear Creek Trail. Recent erosion of the streambed has created (or re-created) a small waterfall obstacle but it seems easy enough to step across above the falls rather than climbing up from below. Depending on the volume of flow, getting started upstream could be a problem. We had several substantial creek crossings. We then found a faint but reasonably well-defined trail through thickets of horsetail, permitting much faster hiking than bushwhacking through the brush or working your way up the shallow creek. The first half-mile or so is the brushiest and the toughest to follow; then the canyon opens up.

The canyon branches about a mile north of the camping area. Stay right and follow the creek bed northeast past cottonwood trees and striated cliffs toward the North Rim.

Obi Canyon comes in from the west and the flow may diminish slightly; stream flow decreases again above the next western fork with Ariel Canyon. The way to Cheyava Falls turns east into what seems like a lesser drainage but is really the longest arm. Thor Temple is on your right.

Note the contrast in vegetation as you make your way north. The area near the creek is a lush riparian habitat while just a few yards away is a parched desert landscape, scattered with yucca and beavertail cactus.

Although you don't notice it much, you gain more than 1,000 feet of elevation during the approach to the Falls, giving you great vistas on your return hike down-canyon.

Back at Clear Creek camp high above to the southeast are The Howlands Butte and Dunn Butte, named after the three men who abandoned Powell's first expedition prematurely at Separation Canyon and were never seen again (O.G. Howland, Seneca Howland and Willam H. Dunn). Low stone walls have been built at the camps to mitigate the winds. The winds can be a blessing to keep the gnats away.

USGS Topo Maps for Phantom Ranch and Walhalla Plateau are helpful.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-04-29 Al_HikesAZ
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Information is listed below

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Directions to South Kaibab Trailhead: From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

You can only reach the trailhead by free-shuttle or taxi. Parking is available at several lots. There is a lot a mile from the trailhead on the east drive. If you are there early you can use this lot (it fills up fast) and hike the two miles there and back. Express hikers? shuttles directly from Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab trailhead depart daily at:
March 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
April 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.
May 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., and 7:00 a.m.

NPS Note: The South Kaibab Trail is located near Yaki Point. Due to the popularity of this area and extremely limited space, parking is not permitted at the trailhead. Hikers must use the park?s free shuttle bus system to reach the trailhead. Every morning, several hiker express buses leave from the Bright Angel Lodge and then from the Backcountry Information Center (times vary depending on the month). Otherwise, hikers will need to take the village bus (Blue Line) to Canyon View Information Plaza and transfer to the Green Line. South Kaibab trailhead is the first stop on the Green Line.
page created by Al_HikesAZ on Apr 29 2010 4:29 pm
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