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Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 10:30 am
by domromer
Is this a good time of the year to visit Grand Falls? I've never been there before and wasn't sure if there was a preferred time to visit. Anything special I should know before driving up there?
Road hazards ect...

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:07 am
by JoelHazelton
This is only a good time to visit if you don't mind a big dry cliff, which is still okay with some people. I definitely prefer it with water, though.

I sincerely apologize in advance if you are already familiar with the USGS Real Time data and how to check CFS, but I will include it for anyone else who is curious about knowing when to visit Grand Falls...

Go to this link:

Scroll down to "Little Colorado River Basin", and under that you want to look for "Little Colorado River at Winslow, AZ" and "Little Colorado River at Cameron, AZ." All the way to the right side of the page there should be 3 columns with numbers in them. The center column represents the cubic feet per second. You'll want to check the cubic feet per second for both of those locations.

Today (7/20), it is flowing at 3.9 cfs through Winslow. In order for there to be a good show of water, it should be flowing at several HUNDRED CFS through both Winslow AND Cameron. Sometimes, after storms or snowmelt, Winslow will be flowing well but not yet at Cameron. It should be flowing well at both gauges, since Grand Falls is between the two towns. There's always a chance, especially if it is a slower flood during spring snowmelt, that the high water has made it to Winslow but not quite to the falls.

I don't have too much experience on the topic of floods and can't speak with authority on it, but based off my trips to Grand Falls, watching the USGS Stream Data and talking to others, following what I said above should ensure a successful trip.

In this photoset: the Little Colorado was flowing at approximately 800 cfs in both Cameron and Winslow.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:24 am
by fotogirl53
Listen to azpride. He's the expert!

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:27 am
by JoelHazelton
I guess I should include that if the winter was relatively wet (this past winter seemed wet enough), I good time to start checking the USGS Real Time Water Data is early-mid March. Warmer Marches will obviously yield earlier snowmelt, and vica-versa.

Not sure about monsoon rains. I plan on researching that a bit (if we ever get some decent rain this summer) and then maybe actually writing up the hike description here.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:29 am
by Ckzona
Well if there is ever a monster rainstorm that hits the white mountains and the area around winslow and dumps around 2 inches it would be sligtly flowing but definetly winter spring time is the best.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:32 am
by azbackpackr
I went there once when Winslow was at 2,000, but Cameron hadn't caught up yet. It was running pretty well but not the huge deluge I had hoped for.

Late winter is your best bet. A rainstorm on top of snow in the White Mtns. Watch those numbers carefully for several days or a week. Winslow will come up, but it takes a long time for it to get to Cameron.

Interestingly, people live all around that area. They drive across the Little Colorado (no bridge) to get to their trailers on the other side. Their trailer homes are all along the road that leads to the river, also. It is a bleak, ugly, barren and shamefully overgrazed part of the planet. The falls are very muddy, also.

However, I am told if you go there in summer and it's running low that it's a good place to swim. When it runs low and steadily it's not so muddy and all the local kids swim there.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 11:37 am
by JoelHazelton
In response to azbackpackr:


I'd definitely be afraid of what wasn't washed downstream and is left at the bottom of the plunge pool. :scared:

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 4:58 pm
by azbackpackr
Well, yuck! I've only been there once and it was January and freezing cold and the wind was blowing about 50 mph. We jumped out of the car, took photos and left. I don't plan on returning. It is a pretty ugly sort of area. People take all sorts of awesome photos of the place, but the photos don't show what it's really like when you are actually standing there, with those nasty, funky ramadas, trash everywhere, graffiti, dust, trailer houses everywhere, etc.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 5:15 pm
by joebartels
Oh it's not that bad

Check out the vest :sl:

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 5:20 pm
by azbackpackr

Ok, I'll be positive! :D From that vantage point, in addition to the falls, you can see the Peaks really clearly. On a clear day there you can see a long ways. If the falls are pumping you can get some awesome photos as long as you can avoid being sprayed by the mud mist!

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jul 20 2009 5:34 pm
by big_load
It's fascinating geology, regardless of the flow.

Re: Visiting grand falls?

Posted: Jan 28 2016 7:59 am
by toddak
Most likely there will be a little bit of flow, but its entirely dependent on weather conditions, both locally and in the mountains hundreds of miles away. As noted above, the best source of information is the USGS flow gages.