back when i worked at the flagstaff visitor center i would once in a great while be asked about grand falls (also known as chocolate falls or mud falls). they are a set of water falls on navajo land about 30 miles from flagstaff. the road to get to them is unpaved and bumpy so the short drive to get there ends up taking about 2 hours. on top of that, you never know for sure if the falls are running. they aren't very well known so even the directions to get there are a bit confusing. luke and i had never been but always hoped to go so we finally made the time during his spring break.
the drive was bumpy but beautiful, and when we arrived we saw the prettiest view of the peaks. we were the only people there for an hour or so.
we hiked around the top of the falls and looked into the canyon. the water was running - not raging but not dry either.
we debated hiking down and i'm so glad we decided to do it. the falls were so much larger from down below, and inside the canyon were unbelievable rock formations and even a hidden little green valley that reminded us of backpacking through the pyrenees. :)
we spent hours exploring until we ran out of snacks and camera batteries and sunscreen.
before taking the photo below, i tossed off my glasses so i wouldn't have glare-eyes as usual and i totally forgot about them. i hope someone found them so they didn't add to the litter in the colorado river!
our photos aren't that nice since we were there in the middle of the day, but the canyon and the falls were really gorgeous. think falls-in-a-canyon/views-down-a-river/pretty-drive-on-the-navajo-land/more-obscure-northern-arizona-attraction. we already want to go back and plan to spend more time there.
if you go, you can call the flagstaff visitor center before to find out your chances of seeing water there. these are the directions we used to find it:
From Flagstaff: follow 89A North to Townsend Winona Road. Turn right onto Townsend Winona Road and follow about 8.25 miles to Leupp Road. Turn Left (North) onto Leupp Road and follow about 13 miles to Indian Route 70. Turn left onto IR 70 and follow North for just over 9 miles. You are looking for a left spur turnoff that takes you a short distance up to the edge of the canyon. There are about 3 different spurs that lead to the same campground area. If you go to far you will run into the river, simply back track as you just missed it. For a smoother ride pass Route 70 and keep going another 7.5 miles to a left turnoff for IR 6910. Note: This is Indian Reservation Land. The road signage is almost non-existent. So you may have to do a little search and find.