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What is Car Camping?

Trying to figure out what car camping is and why so many people are doing it? Here we define car camping for you in a simple way.

Car Camping Packing List for Your Microadventure

To aid in getting you set for your next car camping trip, here’s a list of essential and luxury things to pack.

Payson, AZ Free Dispersed Camping Areas

In order to help you narrow down where to camp, here’s a list of our favorite free, dispersed camping spots and areas around Payson, Arizona.

Flagstaff Free Dispersed Camping Map

To help make a decision on where to camp around Flagstaff, AZ, here’s a map of our favorite free, dispersed camping areas and spots.

Our 10 Favorite Hiking Trails in Flagstaff

Looking to go hiking in Flagstaff? Here’s a brief list of our favorite hikes and hiking trails in Flagstaff, Arizona.

A Guide to Camping in Sedona

The famous Red Rock Country city that is Sedona, Arizona. For those who haven’t visited, Sedona is a mecca for Microadventures. With miles of hiking and biking trails, climbing, and towering red sandstone views, you could spend a lifetime exploring Sedona and not see...

Grand Falls – Northern Arizona’s 150 Foot Waterfall

Northern Arizona’s Favorite Waterfall

One of northern Arizona’s little secrets, Grand Falls, also known as “Chocolate Falls,” is a massive series of waterfalls over 150 feet tall. The falls rest on the Navajo Nation just north of Flagstaff, Arizona. A staple location amongst southwest landscape photographers, this waterfall sports a series of tiered falls and, during the spring and summer, rainbows. The surrounding area is just as spectacular, offering views of the nearby San Francisco Peaks and a dramatic desert landscape complete with volcanic craters and lava remains.

 

Overview of Grand Falls or Chocolate Falls in Arizona

Over 150 feet in height- looking at Grand Falls (also known as Chocolate Falls) from the main overlook.

 

How to Get There and What You Need to Know About Grand Falls

 

Rough Road? Nah.

Although several local northern Arizona travel resources or guides mention Grand Falls as a “difficult” or “remote” area to get to, we respectfully disagree. While the approach to the falls is by an unpaved, forest service-type road, it is nowhere near as rough as people claim or requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Our crew has been out individually to Grand Falls on multiple occasions using a series of cars, including a Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

 

The road conditions of Grand Falls or Chocolate Falls in Arizona

Rough road? No way. It’s not bad at all. We made it in a Toyota Rav-4.

 

How to Get There:

  1. From Flagstaff, take I-40 east towards Albuquerque.
  2. Take exit 211 at Winona. Turn left at the intersection off the highway.
  3. In about three miles, make a right on Leupp Road – watch out, the turn comes up quick!
  4. Continue on Leupp Road for just over 20 miles – as you approach 20 miles on the road, keep your eyes open for Indian Road 6910. It will be on your left.
  5. Turn left on 6910 and drive for around 9 miles – as you approach 9 miles on the road, keep your eyes open for a restroom, ramada, and the turnoff on your left.
  6. Take the turnoff on your left and park in the pseudo parking lot.
  7. You’ve arrived!
  8. If you hit the Little Colorado River, you’ve gone too far! DO NOT CROSS THE RIVER!
  9. For exiting the area, follow the steps in reverse!

Door to door from Flagstaff: 1 hour, 27 minutes each way.

 

Overview of Grand Falls or Chocolate Falls

 

What to See and Do When You’re There:

Grand Falls – obviously! While not a hiking destination in northern Arizona, it is a photographer’s paradise. A huge waterfall with a dramatic desert backdrop in the middle of the Painted Desert. There is a short trail that leads to the foot of the falls where you can get an up-close view and enjoy the massive scale of the entire series of falls. Besides that, there not much to do there. Due to the fact that Grand Falls is located on the Navajo Nation, any hiking or venturing outside of the falls requires a special hiking permit.

Please be respectful and honor the Navajo Nation and do not go off trail!

Since the falls are part of the Little Colorado River (which is fed by snowmelt further north towards Utah), Grand Falls tends to be reduced to a trickle outside of spring and summer. Monsoon season hits the region starting in early July and ends in August. The best months to visit are March and April and then again in July and August. Keep in mind that during monsoon season, thunderstorms are extremely common. You will be extremely exposed at the falls and prone to lightning strikes. Check the forecast before you go!

Grand Falls is an absolutely magical place. Pack your camera, pack a lunch, and get out there to see this massive, staple of northern Arizona!

 

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Nick The Rambling Man
Nick The Rambling Man

Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.

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