Hike to Pacheta Falls

Rate this Adventure Arizona Pacheta Falls Approach #1

Added by Dan Deublein

Adventure into the White Mountains of Arizona and listen to the lullabies of Pacheta Falls!

Pacheta Falls is spectacular and worth the several hour drive over washboard roads and you explore the high country of Arizona.  You will be on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, so please take note:

  • You need to purchase a Special Use Permit
  • No swimming allowed
  • 4x4 with additional clearance recommended
  • This is very rugged country. Finding the falls can be difficult and the terrain hazardous. 
  • Strong route finding skills required
  • To learn more about the history, check out this link

Take AZ-260 and turn right on AZ-273 S (headed towards Sunrise Ski Resort). Stop at the Sunrise Gas Station to purchase your special use permit. Continue on AZ-273 and turn right onto Forest Road 409 (Reservation Lake). While passing Reservation Lake, you will now continue on what becomes Y40 and you have a choice between two approaches. 

Approach #1:

You will start where Pacheta Creek crosses the County Road #8 upstream (33.68065, -109.52927).  Look for a faint trail that travels along the right side of the creek. You will continue along this path for 1.25 miles and will require a few water crossings, so be prepared to get your feet wet. While the path at times appears non-existent, keep following the creek and you will arrive at the falls. 

Approach #2:

You can access the falls directly which will require a 4x4 vehicle with additional clearance. Do not attempt to access this approach during any type of storm. These are old logging roads, so coordinates are provided to help guide you with this approach. Instead of continuing on Y40 as in Approach #1, you will make a left onto an unmarked road at 33.683388, -109.524475 and an immediate right. Take another right at 33.679047, -109.524460 and follow this road until it ends. At the end of the road, you will see a small path that leads you South. Continue down this path for about .25 miles and the roar of the falls will slowly begin to emerge!

Pacheta Falls: 33.66765, -109.52660

The falls are simply picturesque! The 131 foot waterfall is surrounded by tall Douglas Fir and shearing cliffs that lead towards the Black River.  

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Offline Maps & GPS Unit
  • 4x4 with additional clearance
  • Special Use Permit
  • Water, Food & Snacks
  • Bear Spray
  • Camera
  • Personal GPS Locator 
  • Rain Gear
Read More

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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



Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



2.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

0 Feet


Dog Friendly

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Added by Dan Deublein

Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and editor of The Proper Function, an outdoor online editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.

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