Waterfalls of the Chiricahua Mountains

Waterfalls are inspiring, evoking images of cool mountain streams and dense lush forests, but in the desert southwest there are also many waterfalls.  Found in the sky islands of the basin and range province of the southwest these desert waterfalls rely on moisture from the winter rains and summer monsoons for their displays.  Depending upon the time of year these waterfalls may range from a trickle to something truly spectacular to see.  In the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona the best known waterfall is Winn Falls.  This 400 ft high waterfall is viewed from the Greenhouse trail and may explain it's familiarity to many.  But there are a number of other waterfalls without names which are not as familiar.  These seldom visited sites are high in the interior of the Chiricahua Mountains and access takes time and energy since these waterfalls are off trail and generally require a significant elevation gain to reach.  An interesting observation about the waterfalls in the Chiricahua Mountains is their location.  A string of waterfalls is is located on a north/south transect in the interior of the Chiricahuas, see below.  Each waterfall or set of falls is reached by hiking up a series of canyons that bisect a band of harder material that comprise the base material of each waterfall.  This line of waterfalls may be extended north and south where other little know waterfalls may exist, but will require some further exploration to to test this idea.

coronado national forest waterfalls
Waterfall transect in the interior of the Chiricahua Mountains.


  1. North Fork Falls is absolutely gorgeous and only flows in the spring with snow runoff. A waterfall was mentioned at last Thursdays' hike, up Log Canyon and we were pressed for time so didn't go and look at it.
    It is definitely a beautiful sight to see waterfalls in the Sky Islands.

  2. The last photograph in the slideshow is of the waterfall in log canyon (off South Fork). It does not lie on the same n/s transect as the other waterfalls but is beautiful none the less. It is also the easiest of the waterfalls to reach.

  3. The map to the Log Canyon waterfall may be found at the following link.

  4. Great information on the waterfalls, as they are great to see and to hear the water!

  5. There are always new things to find in the Chiricahua Mountains and the weekly hikes with the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club is the best way to see the mountains. Since the hiking club has been active for 30 years there is a wealth of knowledge about places to visit.