A canyoneering adventure to see another one of Arizona's incredible waterfalls.

It is a bumpy ride down an old dirt road to get to the trailhead. Use extreme caution on this road as there are very narrow sections with sheer cliffs. The road follows along the Salt River giving you a nice viewpoint of the Salt River Canyon. On your way in you will pass the campgrounds (First and Second Campgrounds), just make note of this if you plan on spending the night. A few feet before the trailhead is the Cibeque Creek which you must drive over, so be prepared. For you off-roaders, it is always fun driving through running bodies of water! Permits are now required, which you can find more info on here.  

Immediately after crossing the creek there is a clearing for parking on the right. There is also a sign with a list of rules, please be considerate of them. The trailhead starts you off at about 2900 ft of elevation. This is more of a canyoneering style hike as the trail criss crosses a lot from bank to bank of the creek. Your feet will get wet. Because most of the trail is in the creek they will be a lot of rock jumping. For those dogs that love the water this hike is a heaven for them. Some areas in the creek can get pretty deep and as the sign says swimming is not allowed some areas are deep enough to do so. It's a fun two mile hike up the creek with spectacular views of the canyon and all the little water features the creek has to offer. Since you are a canyon there is plenty of shade and the water tends to keep you nice and cool. The closer you get to the falls the more narrow the canyon becomes and you start to notice the beauty of it all. Just before the falls is a natural cave/alcove. The water fall itself is about 30 feet high and has significant water flow.  

It is a peaceful little place here in the desert. You exit the way you came in. If camping afterwards the sites are very primitive. They provide shade structures but not much more. Some sites have fire rings others don't. I did not see any picnic tables and the restrooms are pretty basic. It is a nice peaceful spot right by the salt river. Always be mindful of the wildlife, during our stay we woke up to a black bear fishing in the river right across from camp.  

Pack List

  • Special Use Permit (Including 1 night of camping)
  • Hydration System
  • Shoes/Boots that do well in water
  • Bathing Suit or gear meant to get wet
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 220 Feet
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Dog Friendly
Swimming Hole


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Overall rating: 

Breathtaking Canyon Views

Today we hiked Cibicue Falls for the second time ever and man was it a blast. The weather was in the mid 60's but with the heat of the sun it was absolutely stunning. The water was pretty clear so it made it easy to see where you were walking when crossing the water. The water was cold but refreshing. Hiking with trekking polls made it extremely easy most of the time, you do climb up boulders so that's when I would put them to the side. Last thing I would like to mention is MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE CORRECT PASS! If you are hiking this trail you must pay the $15 PER PERSON special use black/salt river daily pass. If you don't have it you will need to drive back on the highway till you have cell service to pay for one online if you don't have cash with you. If you have cash you can pay at the beginning of the dirt road that leads you to the trailhead.


Drove 2.5 hrs from Phoenix to check this place out so my mother in law and I get there and only have $15 cash unfortunately they are not with the current century and only accept cash or check, there's no one that works there and they charge $15 per person. There was no indication what the charge for permits would be on any site so the drive was a waste of time. Be sure to bring plenty of cash to support the communities drinking habits.

Willy Wonka Chocolate River

It was a great hike! The path is fairly easy to follow and even if you can't the creek is shallow enough to walk through. We went the day after a monsoon storm. I don't recommend it as the water looked like chocolate milk and there was debris from a possible flash flood the night before. But absolutely loved this hike and would do it again.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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