• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Amazing waterfall. Great for photography. No crowds.

Grand Falls is located about 30 miles northeast of Flagstaff Arizona in Navajo Nation. Even though its only 30 miles from Flagstaff you’ll still have about an hour drive to the falls. 10 miles of the trip will be on Indian road 70 which is a maintained dirt road but may require a 4by4 near the end at the falls. Once you reach the end of the road you’ll see a few shaded picnic benches, you’ll know your at the falls when you see this. Park your car, walk a few yards and take in the sounds and sights of the chocolate colored rushing water over the 185ft falls that dump into the Little Colorado River. The water mostly comes from snow melt or the monsoon rain so make sure to plan the right time of year to see the falls because it could be dried up.

Photographing the Falls: When planning to photograph the falls you'll need to take a few things into consideration. Time of year, time of day, weather, and the equipment needed to take epic pictures of this beauty. I went in June after we had a few days of rain storms in the north which produced heavy water flow over the falls. I recommend arriving at the falls at 7am “golden hour time” this is when the sun is rising up producing dramatic light over the landscape. The equipment I used to photograph the falls was Canon 5d markIII, Manfrotto tripod, canon shutter release cable, 10 stop ND filter, and a graduated ND filter. To get the blur effect of the water over the falls you will want to use a ND filter to cut the amount of light entering the camera, by doing this you will increase the exposure time (20-45sec) to allow enough light into the camera to get a proper exposure. When you add more time to your exposure, anything that is moving “like water” will blur and give you the smooth water flow effect. Also adding a Gradual ND filter, which is a filter with variable light transmission, basically a filter that goes from dark to light will be used to darken the sky and create a more dynamic range balance in your image. I highly recommend Grand Falls, it’s an amazing place that won’t have the crowds, and is a spectacle to see when the falls are really flowing! Bring your camera gear because you’ll have a fun time photographing this landscape.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • ND filter
  • Graduated ND filter
  • Shutter release cable
  • Water
  • Snacks
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I visited after a recent rain but it wasn't enough for the falls to be flowing. While the size is impressive it definitely needs water to be photographic. The best time to visit is during spring melt.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Everyone needs to do this trip!! Make sure u double check USGS maps to make sure the water is running sufficiently

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Kevin Kaminski Explorer

My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from! I'm an Architecture Photographer based in Phoenix, and my current job takes me around the world to photograph hotels & resorts. My real passion, however, is outdoor recreation and adventure photography.

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