Rock Garden

Cheyava Falls — The record declares this to be the highest waterfall in Arizona when it is flowing, but in recent years it has remained dry through all the seasons, and recent periods of flow in the spring have been brief. Seeing the falls is high on the list of things to do for avid Grand Canyon hikers.

The access to the upper region of Clear Creek begins with a fairly narrow section through the Shinumo cliffs that surround the camping area at the end of the Clear Creek Trail. Recent erosion of the streambed has created (or re-created) a small waterfall obstacle but it seems easy enough to step across above the falls rather than climbing up from below. Depending on the volume of flow, getting started upstream could be a problem. In a short distance the canyon opens up into a much broader area; travel is easiest favoring stream right (west bank) as soon as it becomes an option.

Obi canyon comes in from the west and the flow above this is diminished; stream flow decreases again above the next western fork. The way to Cheyava Falls turns east into what seems like a lesser drainage but is really the longest arm. Somewhere in this general area (intentionally not stating exactly where) is an Anasazi dwelling site with a log book for visitors. The park archeologists are using this site to monitor the effects of visitation by hikers but ask that the location should not be published. Just look and please leave any artifacts where they are.

There is a very nice spring as the east fork narrows and then the bed goes dry for most of the way. When the canyon opens again above the Tapeats, look for a route up onto the west bank to avoid whacking through the saplings and brush in the streambed. This slope gives the best access as well as a good view approaching the falls. It appears that the spring in the bed at the base of the falls should be reliable even when Cheyava is dry, but surprisingly, there are no convenient campsites nearby.

Routes — Streambed travel through upper Clear Creek is not difficult and there are no obstacles. Both Obi and the other arm to the west look worth exploring to find the limit of travel.

2003 April - One night camping across from the falls in the middle of the route; everything here seems to be rocks, cactus, agave or brush. Chevaya water tastes like pure snowmelt. Successive dry years have been fatal to larger vegetation on the slope below the falls.


Catalog of Places - Trips - Routes - Notes