Way Upper Frijoles Falls AKA Staircase Falls


Staircase Falls way up the western fork of the Rito de los Frijoles headwaters is a stair-stepping, tiered waterfall.  The above photo shows the 30’ high drop during very low water flow, first of May 2014.  This waterfall has many other tiers…none are as high as this falls.


beta facts:

name- I call it Staircase Falls because it resembles a staircase… please feel free to call it whatever name you like

height- many ten-foot high drops and one 30 footer

elevation- 8320’

GPS coordinates- ±35°49.904’N 106°25.131’W

flow- perennial

season- any

accommodations- none

ownership- Bandelier National Park

access- I hiked down from Cerro Grande Trailhead Parking Area

nearest town- Los Alamos is about 6.5 miles northwest of here

fun fact- Frijoles Falls Upper and Lower are very well known about 12 miles downstream


essay bro

Hiking from Cerro Grande Trailhead downstream to Upper Frijoles Crossing is a pleasant day-hike…even since the Los Conchos Fire.  There are two natural arches just upstream from Upper Frijoles Crossing Trail at near the end of this hike.  Please see the photos of these arches below the map.


Enhanced USGS 7.5’ topo map


This arch is slightly upstream from the arch below.   This arch is shaped like a figure 8…but the dark, burnt tree behind it makes it look like the capital letter B.  it is about ten-feet high by maybe 6 feet wide.  It’s GPS cords are: 35°49.003’N 106°22.319’W at 7273’ elevation



This arch is just east of the above arch… at: 35°49.023’N 106°22.102’W and at 7326’ elevation.  It is about ten feet wide and 12 feet high. 


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