Cibeque Canyon Falls

Author: Shane McDermott

© Shane McDermott

© Shane McDermott

Cibeque Canyon Creek is located on the White Mountain Apache Native Reservation. Road access to this spectacular canyon waterfall is not difficult, yet for some reason it remains relatively unknown. Start by purchasing a tribal lands permit at the Circle K gas station in Globe on SR60.

From Globe take SR 60 72 miles into the heart of Salt River Canyon. As you approach the rim of the Salt River Canyon SR 60 switch backs for several scenic miles offering extraordinary views into the depths of the canyon. Once you approach the bottom of the canyon at river level you will see a visitors center on your right just before crossing the bridge. Definitely stop, it is worth a visit!

© Shane McDermott

© Shane McDermott

Just after crossing the bridge you will see a pullout and road to your left, take it! This is Apache Road 1 which leads to directly Cibeque Canyon Trailhead. Of the dozen or so times I have traveled this road it has always been in good condition, suitable for most two wheel drive cars. Stay on this road for approximately 4.5 miles at which point you will come to a creek crossing.

Do not cross the creek unless you have a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately the trailhead is just on the other side of the creek, so if needed park your car before the creek crossing and wade across the creek which is only knee deep, of course unless flood waters are present. There is a large gravel pull indicating the trailhead on the right after crossing the creek.

Once at the trailhead, the hike into Cibeque falls is about 2.25 miles. The locals have told me it is only a one mile hike to the falls but my GPS told me otherwise. The visibility of the trail depends on the time of year. In the summer or fall the trail is quite obvious and well established due to use. However in the winter or early spring after snow melt and flood waters the trail is heavily obscured or completely gone. Either way, the trail often seems broken or discontinuous as it criss crosses the creek numerous times on the way to Cibeque falls.

© Shane McDermott

© Shane McDermott

You will get your feet wet, this is unavoidable! If right from the start you wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet, the whole hike will be more efficient, safer and enjoyable. Leave about 1-1:30 hrs. to reach the falls. I found early morning light to be best for photography, which means you must reach the falls before direct sunlight begin to penetrate the canyon. Also be sure to bring lots of water, snacks, sunscreen, bathing suit and towel. This is a great place for swimming as well.

Shane McDermott is an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops and a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.