Sacaton Falls


Sacaton Falls275

... Fabulous Sacaton Falls...!!! 300 feet high...!!!

the bottom 150’ is free falling in the wind…!!!!!

Please note the Douglas Fir trees on the left appear larger than they actually are because they are much closer to the camera than the falls are... also more of Sacaton Falls are above what shows in this photo.


Scroll down to see seven more photos below the map.




name- Sacaton Falls

height- 300’

elevation- 8400’

GPS coordinates- ±33°15.684’N 108°41.833W

flow- perennial trout stream... closed to fishing to protect endangered Gila Trout.

season- May thru November

accommodations- Gila Wilderness

ownership- Gila National Forest

access- x mile hike up the stream without a maintained trail but it’s fairly easy going

nearest town- Glenwood is 12 air miles west of here

fun fact- THIS IS A TRUE WONDER…!!!



Sacaton Falls

By: Doug Murphy


We have all heard of the “Fool on a Hill”.  Taos sculptor Doug Scott is the “Fool in the Canyon”.  You see water doesn’t flow on top of hills... But rather... Water flows in canyons.  Therefore canyons are where waterfalls are found.  Doug is a waterfall loving fool who has found and documented several hundred waterfalls in New Mexico since 1957.


“Oh get real,” you say, “New Mexico doesn’t have but maybe three or four waterfalls.”


“Hundreds,” Scott states without flinching... “They are free public information.  Just Google New Mexico waterfalls and scroll down until you see the name Doug Scott... Soak in the information and head for the canyons.”  Waterfalling is sport all it’s own.


A resent off-trail hike has found one of the higher perennial waterfalls in all the Gila country of southwestern New Mexico.  At about 8400 feet elevation in the upper reaches of Sacaton Creek within the Gila Wilderness, Scott has found 300 foot high, perennial flowing Sacaton Falls.


It’s a beauty.  It is a New Mexico Treasure...!!!  “It is one of the 7000 Wonders of New Mexico,” he declares behind his crooked grin.


The many ten to twenty foot high falls in Whitewater Canyon’s famous “catwalk” along with 30 foot high Mogollon Falls are the only waterfalls most people have ever heard of in this wonderful “Gila Country”.  The new owners of Mogollon Falls, “Buckhorn Ranch” no longer allow anyone to visit it.  Mogollon falls is a splendid paradise, but it has the misfortune of hiding behind nasty “NO TRESPASSING” signs.


However nothing is lost!  Not only can Mogollon Falls still be viewed from public Gila National Forest land up above the falls... but... Sacaton Creek is better.  There are many waterfalls on Sacaton Creek.  Even the small waterfalls on Sacaton Creek are higher than Mogollon Falls and every bit as pretty.


In the first 200 feet below the small diversion dam at the end of Sacaton Road there are two high waterfalls sculpted in solid, smooth bedrock.  They are called Lower Sacaton Falls.  One of them is 30 feet high while the next one down stream is 50 feet high.  Both falls are very sheer and in an absolute beautiful setting.  During heavy snowmelt and summer deluges these falls create their own thunder that shakes the earth.  Unfortunately trails here are merely dangerous crawling slots that skid under sticker bushes.  The safest places to view these waterfalls are from the rim of the little canyon they are in.  What a wonderful place this is for a well-designed trail system. 


These waterfalls are not wilderness.  They are only about 100 feet away from the road... and they are as beautiful as any waterfall can be.  These two waterfalls along with a smaller sculpted falls between them compose one three-tiered waterfall 90 feet high, because it is sculpted in one single mass of bedrock.


However the “real” Sacaton Falls, six miles above is amazing.  The 300 feet distance of falling waters are foaming white even at the very brink.  Then it bounces, tumbles and dances against the cliff before launching air-borne at midway for the second half finale.  Swirling mountain breezes carry lunging waves of white sparkle sweeping slowly from side to side... down... down... and ever down to splash as heavy rain on the rocks below.   The cliff seems as a fortress wall strong, smooth and straight rising 1000 feet into towers keeping watch over each side of the falls.  Swallows and swifts jetting in circles high overhead are only half way up the falls. 


Before Scott found some other higher waterfalls, 200-foot high Fall Creek Falls was thought to be the Gila area’s highest.  It’s in the Black Range of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.  There are also a half dozen or so nice high, and hard to get to waterfalls in the upper reaches of Little Whitewater Creek and Rain Creek as well.  Each of Rain Creek’s three main forks have high cataracts of their own.


Waterfalling” or visiting Waterfalls is a wonderful hobby... it is a fast growing sport.  Even tho Doug has found and documented hundreds of New Mexico waterfalls he says, “I won’t live to find them all... the more I find... the more there are to find.”


more photos are below this map.

All of the Sacaton Waterfalls are shown at the lower-right-hand portion of this map below.


For a new updated and much enlarged map of this area click here

Enhanced USGS 7.5’ topo map

________ONE MILE_______


My friend Jay Hemphill found Sacaton Natural Arch while hiking to Sacaton Cave in 2015.  It has an approximate span of 75’.  Photo: Jay Hemphill


Sacaton Cr15 Sacaton Cree15

Two un-named 15’ waterfalls along Sacaton Creek


Sacaton Cabin

Sacaton Cabin was home to miners while prospecting for gold... it seems the rats are in full control today...!!!!


Ravine Falls20

this sweet 20’ high falls is a short way below the upper forks of Sacaton Creek.


Sacaton Dam15

15’ high Sacaton Dam is at the end-of-the-road parking area where the ditch removes water from Sacaton Creek.


Sacaton Lower Fall30

...just below the Dam is the first of two beautiful waterfalls called Lower Sacaton Falls.  this falls drops about 30’.


Sacaton Lower Fall50

Here’s you a blurry photo of the 50’ high lower Sacaton Waterfall.


Sacaton Creek is among New Mexico’s best waterfall creeks…!!!!!




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