Grand Falls, AZ, is probably one of the most magnificent places that you could ever decide to visit in the United States. However, you might not be aware of the fact that it's not just majestic or beautiful in its own right, but also interesting. There are quite a few things about this location that make it more interesting than a lot of other places you could visit. Some might even say that it's quirky in all the best ways possible. The truth is, you won't know for yourself unless you decide to visit the area, so here are 10 things about it that just might interest you enough to decide to go see it for yourself.
1. You can visit the falls and Flagstaff on the same day
The falls are located on Navajo land located only 30 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona. That means that you have the opportunity to visit both locations on the same day. This is always a plus, especially when such a remote area is the subject of the visit in question. You have the opportunity to get away from it all, yet you don't have to schedule an entire day just to see a single site.
2. There isn’t always a waterfall flowing
When the water is flowing, the falls couldn't be more majestic but they don't flow year-round. That's because they are dependent upon the snowfall that comes down from the mountains and ends up in the Little Colorado River. As such, the only time you can see the falls is when there is enough snow melt for them to be present. Typically, it's best to go see them during April or May because that's when the snow melt is usually most prevalent. Of course, there are times when you can see them at other times of the year, but these are the two months that provide for the most consistent viewing of the falls. It's worth noting that there's also a very small window during some summer months when you can see the falls because of the frequency of storms in the area, but there are absolutely no guarantees that there will be enough rain to generate the amount of water it takes for them to flow for more than a day or so. As such, it's a good rule of thumb to go during the time when you can count on some snow melt in order to see them.
3. The falls here are taller than Niagara Falls
You might be surprised to learn that the falls are actually quite tall, at 181 feet. It's worth noting that this makes them taller than Niagara Falls, which comes in at just 170 feet. Perhaps the thing that makes it even more interesting is that the majority of what you see at Niagara Falls is rocks at the bottom which makes the falls look taller than they actually are. If you measure the length of the falls themselves, Niagara is only about 70 feet tall. That makes this particular location more than twice that height. That's impressive enough in and of itself to convince most people to go have a look.
4. You can drive or hike to the falls
It's interesting to note that you can drive to the falls or you can hike, but you have to be careful regardless of the method that you choose. As previously mentioned, it's a remote area on Navajo land. If you drive, your best bet would be to take a four-wheel drive vehicle in order to avoid getting stuck. If you hike, it's important to take provisions such as food and water as well as a good first aid kit. Proper attire is a must, especially when it comes to your shoes. It's easy to get stuck in the mud when you're hiking around the falls, so you must take care not to allow that to happen. By the same token, it can be somewhat hazardous because you might step on an area that looks solid, yet collapses under the mud the instant you step on it. A hike can definitely be done and it can even be fun to hike the area, but you have to utilize some common sense in the process. It also helps if you have a bit of experience hiking in wilderness areas as opposed to choosing this one for your first such adventure.
5. You can’t see the falls from any paved road
If you think you’re going to see the falls from a paved road nearby, think again. That’s because the nearest paved road is approximately 15 miles from the falls, meaning that it’s all but impossible to see them unless you decide to go off-roading.
6. The falls were formed from lava
There was a time when lava flowing from a volcano cut a path through the landscape that is now followed by the Little Colorado River. That is the reason for the existence of the falls. It also serves as a good history lesson.
7. The water is always muddy
As it flows, the water picks up bits of sediment and dirt from the desert floor. As a result, it’s always muddy, making the falls look like they are made out of chocolate.
8. You don’t need a permit to go there
You might think that you need a permit to visit the area, especially when you consider the fact that the falls are located on Navajo land. However, you don’t need any special permits or documentation to visit the area.
9. The entire river changed its course because of the lava that created the falls
The falls are not only in existence because of the lava that flowed so long ago, but the river that flows there actually changed its course because of it. That’s why the river makes such an abrupt turn all of a sudden. It’s also why the falls exist, as the flowing lava created a natural dam of sorts.
10. The falls are multi-tiered
You might think of the falls as having more than one story, especially if you think in terms of architecture. It’s just one of the things that make them so interesting, not to mention beautiful to look at.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson