Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls is the third main waterfall in the canyon. It is named after D. W. "James" Mooney, a miner, who in 1882 (according to his companions) decided to mine the area near Havasu Falls for minerals. The group then decided to try Mooney Falls. One of his companions was injured, so James Mooney decided to try and climb up the falls with his companion tied to his back, and subsequently fell to his death. The Falls are located 2.25 miles (3.6 km) from Supai, just past the campgrounds. The trail leads to the top of the falls, where there is a lookout/photograph area that overlooks the 210-foot (64 m) canyon wall that the waterfall cascades over. In order to gain access to the bottom of the falls and its pool, a very rugged and dangerous descent is required. Extreme care and discretion for the following portion is required; it is highly exposed and should not be attempted when the weather and/or conditions are not suitable.

The trail down is located on the left side (looking downstream), up against the canyon wall. The first half of the trail is only moderately difficult until the entrance of a small passageway/cave is reached. At this point the trail becomes very difficult and very precarious. The small passageway is large enough for the average human, and leads to a small opening in which another passageway is entered. At the end of the second passageway the trail becomes a semi-vertical rock climb. At this point it is advisable to turn your body around like you are descending a ladder. There are strategically placed chains, handholds, and ladders to aid in the climb. Take extreme caution and do not rush.

More than likely the rock will become slippery due to the mist from the falls, and there will probably be people heading up. Always let the person who is the most exposed to pass. The pool is the largest of the three, and along with the others there are some places for cliff-jumping (please use extreme caution). It is possible to swim to the left of the falls to the rock wall, and then shimmy your way across the rock (while staying in the water) to a small cave that is located just above the water line, approximately 15-20 feet (5 to 6 meters) away from the falls (only attempt if you are a strong swimmer). There is an island located in the middle, which breaks the pool into two streams.