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Cibecue Falls

Gila County, Arizona

based on 13 reviews



2.94 miles

Elevation Gain

600 ft

Route Type



Added by Matt Yanchek

Hike to Cibecue Falls on a canyoneering adventure to check out an incredible waterfall in Arizona.

The Hike

It’s a bumpy ride down an old dirt road to get to the trailhead to hike Cibecue Falls. 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 First and Second Campgrounds). Visitors must drive over Cibecue Creek a few feet before the trailhead, so be prepared. For you off-roaders, it is always fun driving through running bodies of water!

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 off at about 2,900 feet of elevation. This is more of a canyoneering-style hike, as the trail criss crosses the creek from bank to bank. Your feet will get wet! Because most of the trail is in the creek, expect some rock jumping.

Some areas in the creek can get pretty deep, but swimming is not allowed.

This fun three-mile hike up the creek has spectacular views of the canyon and all the little water features the creek has to offer. Since you are in a canyon, there is plenty of shade.

The closer you get to the falls, the more narrow the canyon becomes. Just before the falls is a natural cave/alcove. The waterfall is about 30-feet-high and has significant water flow in the spring, summer, and early fall.

It is a peaceful little place here in the desert. You exit the way you came in.

When’s the best time to hike?
The falls are at their biggest in the spring, summer, and early fall. However, these are also the hottest months of the year. Travel early in the morning or near dusk to avoid the hotter parts of the day. Stay hydrated and seek shade to lower your body temperature.

Permits, rules, & regulations
-Everyone who wants to hike to Cibecue Falls visitors need permits.
-These permits are also valid for the Salt and Black Rivers and allowed recreational activities on the Reservation.
-No camping, fishing, or swimming are allowed at Cibecue Falls.
-Leashed dogs are allowed. Consider bringing booties as the ground can be slippery and hot.

What to bring
-Pack more drinking water than you think you’ll need.
-Shoes with good traction - many areas along this route are slippery.
-Wear layers and a hat to protect your skin from the sun.
-Regularly apply sunscreen.
-Snacks to stay fueled!
-The 10 essentials for hiking

Extend your trip and camp near Cibecue Falls
Ready to hangout for more than a day hike to Cibecue Falls? Stay at Campground One or Two, in Whitewater, AZ. The sites are very primitive & 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.

Dispersed camping is also available in the surrounding area.

-Follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the area. Leave it better than you found it and pack out any trash you see.

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Dog Friendly
Swimming Hole

Cibecue Falls Reviews

Just FYI, I got super excited to do this hike and started looking into getting a permit and discovered that this area is currently closed, maybe permanently. Make sure you check before you go!

The views are beautiful!! However, just because dogs are allowed on the trail, I would not say it is a dog friendly trail. Our 80 pound dog who has hiked with us across the country, needed to be picked up and lowered back down to get over some of the boulders. Her paws became cut and deeply gouged by the riverbed rocks. We felt horrible after bringing her there because she couldn't walk. You may lose cell service just prior to the turn off, leaving GPS useless. The brown wooden sign with yellow lettering is not easily seen from the main roadway, which left us driving past it. Just know, that when you get to the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, you need to turn into what appears to be a parking lot, but is actually the correct road. It is a poorly maintained dirt road down to the trail. A vehicle with some ground clearance may be your best bet. The trail itself is not well marked. It crosses in and out of the river. With all of that said, it is still an absolutely beautiful, remote, hike, and the waterfall at the end is breathtaking!

This hike was breathtaking, and not too difficult. My sister and I were able to make it to the falls pretty easily. There is no cell service, so just be aware of that when escaping to the serene falls. I would highly recommend this hike and view to anyone!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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