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There Is a Hidden Gem in the Grand Canyon That Leads to a Dreamy 100-Ft Waterfall and a Moss-Covered Travertine

Suny Errot



Just when you thought you couldn’t find a new gem in Arizona, another beautiful destination comes to light. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon, you might as well squeeze in some time to see Ribbon Falls. It is a secluded oasis guaranteed to make you fall in love at first sight!

Embark on an Unforgettable Journey to Ribbon Falls

Ribbon Falls az

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Ribbon Falls is an 8.4-mile hike from the North Kaibab Trailhead. On the other hand, if you are coming from Phantom Ranch, then it’s a little over 5 miles away. It is the only waterfall you can get to without backpacking or rafting. While the trail distance can be pretty overwhelming for some, you’ll be glad to know that the difficulty is minimal.

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It loses 4,521 feet from the North Rim as you pass the Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs, Manzanita Rest Area and the Cottonwood Campground. After passing that area, you can just look for a sign pointing to Ribbon Falls. Continue on for about 20 minutes and you’ll be able to reach the falls after leaving the main trail.

ribbon falls grand canyon

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Guests approaching from the North Rim will see a footbridge that takes you across Bright Angel Creek. If you are coming from Phantom Ranch, you can take a spur trail that crosses the creek without the use of the bridge. However, this route should not be attempted if there has been a recent rainstorm, to ensure your safety.

This Famous and Popular Rim to Rim Hike Is Something You Can’t Miss

rim to rim hike in arizona

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We only have one thing to say about Ribbon Falls. On a hot day in the Grand Canyon, it is an absolute dream! Some hikers usually go here because of the welcome shade and its promise of an unforgettable time. The falls are about 100 feet high. Then, the mineral-rich water creates a giant travertine spire below the falls, that is too picturesque for words. Make your day more refreshing and dip in the ice-cold pool at the bottom. Then after, you can just hike up around the falls and stand behind them.  Nothing beats a picture-perfect moment in this paradise.

grand canyon hike views

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It also doesn’t hurt that the view going to Ribbon Falls is equally amazing.

Don’t You Just Think Ribbon Falls Provide a Wonderful Contrast to the Hot and Arid Environment of the Canyon?

ribbon falls arizona grand canyon aerial view

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Just look at the gem from afar. It looks stunning, huh?

Once you see the 100-foot-tall stream that spills into the mineral-laden pool, there’s no doubt that you will be speechless of its beauty. In fact, the moss-covered rock looks like something from a fairytale, as it accentuates the surrounding red rock. You’ll be captivated in no time! All hikers who have been here keep repeating that they weren’t expecting something like this from the Grand Canyon.

moss covered rock

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Not a lot of hikers are aware of Ribbon Falls since it is located in a lightly-trafficked side canyon. This makes it even more interesting because it becomes a literal secret garden in the Grand Canyon.

If you want to explore the area, know that you can walk behind the beautiful waterfall for a different view. You will be in awe of the powerful rush of the waters as it pours down right before your eyes.

What You Should Know

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  • We recommend spending more than one day in this area and visit the Ribbon Falls only as a side trip. Then you can go on a larger trip and maybe visit the other campsites.
  • You can come during the summer season, but you must be mentally and physically prepared for the intense heat. If there is one tip we can give you, you should get an early start to avoid the peak heat of the day.
  • Don’t forget your trail mix, water, and other caloric food to ensure you don’t succumb to dehydration or hyponatremia.
  • Summertime is really hot and will pose as a more challenging climb. You should constantly soak your clothing to keep yourself cool.
  • Please remember that Ribbon Falls, and the surrounding area, is filled with lush greenery. It is an extremely delicate environment and hikers are advised to stay on the designated trails and treat the falls with respect. Plus, treating the natural wonder with respect doesn’t just apply to Ribbon Falls. It is a rule for any place you are visiting.
  • One of the famous general itineraries to reach Ribbon Falls is this:
    • South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch for Day 1 (7  miles)
    • Take a day hike to Ribbon Falls on North Kaibab Trail for Day 2  (12 miles roundtrip)
    • Hike back up from South Kaibab Trail to the South Rim for Day 3 (7 miles)

Hiking Etiquette

grand canyon hike az

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  • If you decide to visit Ribbon Falls, or any other beautiful natural destination for that matter, remember to follow hiking etiquette.
  • First, enjoy the sound of nature and let others do the same. Don’t be too noisy because others want to feel at peace while hiking outdoors. You should also turn your cellphone’s volume down, if not off.
  • Next, never toss your trash anywhere. Even biodegradable items are not good for the animals living there. If you packed a sandwich or a banana for your hike, pack it back out. Whatever happens, don’t leave it there.
  • Yield to those hiking uphill.
  • If you want to take a break, that’s fine. But you should move off the trail so you can allow others to pass.
  • Many animals stay hidden here, while others won’t be so shy. Do not feed the wildlife as it will disrupt their natural foraging habits.
  • Leave only what you find. We cannot stress this enough. However, you can bring home photographs, fun memories, and an improved fitness level. But don’t get anything from the trail or from your final destination. Be respectful of the environment!
  • Remember to walk through the mud or puddle. You will only widen the trail if you go around it, and it would be bad for trail sustainability. Help preserve the trail and keep this in mind!
  • It is okay to hike in groups. Undoubtedly, this would be more fun. However, do not take up the whole width of the trail as it may obstruct other hikers.

What do you think about Ribbon Falls? If you want to explore more places, check out other amazing hidden waterfalls in Arizona.

For a different adventure, you can also take one of the most epic drives in the state.