Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
With the exception of much challenge, few adventures compare to this one. It's likely you'll go home with a smile on your face. I must have been lucky. There wasn't another soul in the canyon. The weather was perfect and so was the water.
There is no official trailhead. Just a ramada, a flipped over restroom and a sign telling you everything you can't do marks the start of this trail. I used "Canyoneering Arizona" to find this trail. The book says it's seven miles down the river road to Cibecue Creek. This is incorrect, it's only four. As there isn't any signage it was a little confusing. So just remember. When a creek crosses the road coming out of a side canyon after four miles that's the right area. Also, more importantly the book mentions "swimming hole". Swimming is prohibited in all Reservation waters, according to the sign and special use permit.
Follow the creek upstream for 1.5 miles to the pounding waterfall. In the beginning you can follow the left bank. It alternates back and forth too many times to count. The creek never got more than knee high to the falls. With one exception. There is a wall to wall pool after mid way. You can find a slip though the boulders on the left. Tons of river debris may make the narrow slot a challenge after big storms.
The further you go the better it gets. Clear blue green pools get wider and the canyon narrows. A couple tiny cascades and a few large boulders add to the experience. Be careful in the creek. Stepping out of the creek proved to be more slippery than in the creek. I saw only one fish the entire trip. It was about four to five inches long and zipped right by me.
It seemed like more than a mile of travel to the waterfall. Then again the going is slow in and out of the creek. Every corner I kept thinking it must be coming soon. Then I realized it didn't really matter as the scenery was awesome.
The last turn to the falls is almost worth the trip alone. The canyon bends back and forth. Clear water pools look perfect. The canyon cuts into the walls and it gets narrow. You can hear the pounding of the falls ahead. Okay, so swimming is not allowed as mentioned above. So I won't go into that. Oh yeah, exploring beyond the falls is not allowed without a guide. It doesn't really matter though, there's plenty to consume in the mile you're allowed to explore. Anyhow have fun and be safe.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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