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Hike This Easy, One-Mile Trail to Discover Arizona’s Magnificent Chocolate Waterfalls

Suny Errot



Have you seen the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Yes, we know it’s old but it’s still pretty popular. How can anyone forget the golden tickets? If you can still remember, the factory in the film showcases a beautiful chocolate waterfall. But did you know that there is also an existing “Chocolate Waterfall” in real life? And the great thing is, it’s right in Arizona! Take the Grand Falls View Trail to see a majestic natural attraction. You don’t want to miss it!

The Grand Falls View Trail Leads to a Natural Spectacle to Behold

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Source: Instagram

You will find this magnificent waterfall called the Grand Falls in one of the tribal lands in Arizona located in Leupp, Navajo Nation.

While the Grand Canyon State has a lot of falls that require you to exert extra hiking efforts in order to see them, the Grand Falls is a completely different story. The Grand Falls View Trail is a relatively easy hike, and you will already be astonished by the beauty of this so-called Chocolate Falls just at the one-mile mark.

How Easy Is the Grand Falls View Trail?

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Source: Instagram

Simply put, the Grand Falls View Trail is easy even for beginners. It’s probably one of Arizona’s best hiking trails for beginners. You just need to drive up to the end of an 8-mile dirt road which is in Leupp, Navajo Nation. It is suggested to use high cars like 4×4, but generally, any car would do. That is as long as you drive at a slow speed so your car doesn’t get too dirty, or get stuck in the land. If you are bringing a terrain vehicle, the drive would definitely be much easier and faster.

From the parking lot, it’s definitely an easy going to the Grand Falls. The hike is generally easy and short, with a bit of scramble. You may even take your kid here because it’s a beginner-friendly hike. Just be careful when you reach the trail to the bottom. Some say it’s pretty steep. Even though it’s not difficult to get there, we highly suggest that you wear proper shoes because the trail is rocky. It will protect your feet, and you won’t be prone to slips that lead to injuries.

You can go down the falls, and there are different unmarked trails. Just be cautious. Not all these trails are safe to come down to. It can be rocky and slippery in some areas. Once you get closer to the water, your shoes will get pretty muddy. But a little dirt is so worth the majestic experience of seeing the chocolate waterfalls up close, don’t you think?

When Is the Best Time to See the Waterfall?

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Source: Instagram

Sadly, you won’t see the empowering background of the flowing chocolate waterfall all year round. You need to wait some time before you can see its chocolatey and magical splendor. According to most visitors, the best time to go here is during springtime around March to April. Why is it the best time? It’s because winter just ended at that time and there’s a lot of snowmelt which makes the waterfall flow better. That will give the chocolate surprise you’ve been dying to witness. The spotter is also incredible. Just by looking at the photo, you’d already be amazed. What more if you’re there in person?

You can also visit during other months of the year as there are still chances for the Grand Falls to flow. That is during the summer season when there is a monsoon. However, don’t get your hopes up because it will still depend on the weather pattern.

What Can You Do Here?

Once you reach this awesome place, you can enjoy a picnic with the family here.

Sadly, you cannot swim at the Grand Falls because the water is muddy. That is, after all, how this destination got its name. It has a chocolate color and it’s all because of the mud. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying a day trip with your family! You can still bond over different activities.

Just pack up some food and drinks for a nice picnic and appreciate the majestic view of the falls! There are gazebos and picnic benches where you can enjoy your packed meals. It’s also a great spot to relax, rest, and just be present in the moment. While you’re there, remember to take this lots of photos. The experience doesn’t last forever, and you have to capture the place’s raw beauty.

Take your time in this beautiful place. There’s no saying when you’d be back and when you’d see the flow of the chocolate waterfall.

Grand Falls View Trail Details

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Source: Instagram

Are you itching to hike the trail and see this beautiful destination? Yup, thought so. 

Trail Distance: 1.8 km
Elevation Gain: 57 m
Route Type: Out & Back
Location: Leupp, Arizona

How to Get Here:

  • Take the I-40, 15 miles east of Flagstaff, and take exit 211 at Winona.
  • Drive 2.3 miles north to Leupp Rd. Then, turn right and continue on 20.3 miles to the unpaved and unsigned Indian Road 6910, just between mileposts 5 and 6.
  • Make a left and drive along the road (it’s pretty rough) 9.4 miles to the turnoff on the left. This leads to the falls overlook.

Note: Do not cross the Little Colorado River.

As of now, the Grand Falls is still closed because of the COVID-19 situation. Please stay tuned and regularly check Navajo Nation’s website for updates. Once you decide to visit, remember to practice social distancing and be respectful of the environment and other visiting guests. Please also refrain from leaving or throwing your trash anywhere. When you come here, just leave footprints.

Have you ever hiked the Grand Falls View Trail? How easy was the trail for you? You can also check out other another good hiking read in Arizona such as this trail that leads to a hidden spring like no other. Or if you just want to appreciate the beauty of nature, you can look at our article on 8 photos that show how nature can surprise you when you hike in Arizona.