East Rim of Grand Canyon
9.4 miles west on SR 64 from US Highway 89.
The Little Colorado River originates at Mt. Baldy in Arizona’s White Mountains and travels northward to Joseph City, Winslow, and Wupatki National Monument before reaching the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
According to maps, the Little Colorado river flows into the Grand Canyon. There the resemblance ceases, for no two canyons could be less alike than these. Visit the Little Colorado river Gorge on your way to the Grand Canyon, and you will observe the striking differences.
The narrow gorge of the Little Colorado conceals an astonishing depth. The walls are almost colorless, gray, grim, and forbidding. The Navajos regard it as just a part of their diversified land. The visitor, however, views it with admiring eyes and awesome wonder.
Both of the overlooks have rest areas with ramadas, fireplaces and tables to provide leisure for the weary sightseer. Metal hand rails provide safety as the modern walkway takes visitors right up to the jagged canyon's edge. Numerous native vendors sell their handmade crafts at both overlooks, and with a stop at the Navajo Parks and Recreation Visitor Center, you can gather information on the area's rugged hiking and backpacking trails.
At Cameron, the river known by river guides alternately the “LCR” or “Little C,” can no longer meander as it has one most of its journey. It must stay confined within this solid rock canyon. Here it begins to make a very rapid 2,000 ft (610 m) descent elevation in just 30 miles (48 km) to the Colorado River. From a picnic ground and overlook is a fine view of deep, narrow Gorge of the Little Colorado River, the finely layered upper limestone cliffs contrast with massive sandstone below, evidence of a shallow sea 250 million years ago.
This overlook in an entrance fee area. Picnic tables, restrooms and arts & crafts vending available. There are two overlook areas both along the way to the Grand Canyon. Near milepost 286 on HWY 64
This overlook is open and free to the public. Hiking trail, picnic tables and vending area. There are two overlook areas both along the way to the Grand Canyon.
Map of Marble Canyon area
One of the hidden beauties of Navajoland is a little spot away from the highway, behind the dormant volcanic peaks a few miles northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, out past the antelope that graze nearby on the tall summer grass. It is known as Grand Falls, and during the dry season it is a serene getaway of mudstone cliffs with a trickle of water. But during the rainy season, it is a roaring cascade you can hear a half-mile away. The Little Colorado River combines with runoff from the San Francisco Peaks to meander over hundreds of layers of rock at Grand Falls before dropping off to an oasis below, forming a stark contrast to the dry, flat desert which surrounds the falls. In fact, if a volcanic eruption half-million years ago had not poured lava into the Colorado, blocking its flow, the falls would not exist. The river regained its original path, but to get there it had to create Grand Falls. This waterfall is frequently dubbed “The Chocolate Niagara” because of its muddy brown color.
A short trail leads down to the base of the waterfall. It is an easy and interesting trail to the bottom, and gives you a different perspective of the waterfall from close-up. A 33 mile drives from Flagstaff on Route 15, then Navajo Route 70 that leads directly to Grand Falls. It is advised to inquire about weather and road conditions before setting out on your trip. A Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation hiking permit is required to visit Grand Falls. For more information and to acquire a hiking permit, contact Cameron Visitor Center at (928) 679-2303.
There are arbor shades available along the rim above the falls, but there are no picnic table or grills and you can hike down a trail—past several dinosaur tracks left in the sandstone millions of year ago—to get to the bottom of the falls, where the temperature are cool and you can peel off your socks and dip your feet in the pools that remain even in the dry season. Access is by several miles of unpaved Indian Route 70; off-road vehicles are recommended during summer rains.
Directions from Flagstaff: travel north on U.S. Highway 89, turn right onto Townsend-Winona Road for 8.1 miles, turn left onto County Road 419/Leupp Road, stay on this road for approximately 25 miles; upon coming onto the Navajo reservation just past Milepost 5 turn right north onto Indian Route 70, remain on this dirt and cinder road for 9 miles until you come to the falls.
Navajo Parks & Recreation does not manage Coalmine Mesa area. Contact Coalmine Mesa Chapter for details and information for any future visitations.
website: COALMINE CANYON CHAPTER
Address: P.O. Box 1464, Tuba City, Arizona 86045
Phone: 928.283.3340 Cell: 928.380.7146
EAST RIM OF GRAND CANYON
Any trails on the east rim of the Grand Canyon between Cameron, Az and Page, Az.
Map of Little Colorado River area
**ABSOLUTELY NO BASE JUMPING IN THE LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE AREA**