Kincaid Cave Quest: Grand Canyon’s Underground Marvel

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but there is one hidden gem that not many people know about – Kincaid Cave.

kincaid cave grand canyon

Tucked away in the depths of the Grand Canyon, Kincaid Cave is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and features a breathtaking waterfall. Whether you are an adventure seeker or a nature lover, visiting Kincaid Cave at Grand Canyon should be high on your list of things to do. 


Kincaid Cave at Grand Canyon is located in the Western Grand Canyon area, near the mouth of Shinumo Creek. To reach the cave, you can take a boat or a kayak from the Colorado River, or hike through an off-trail route from the Hermit Trail. The hike is challenging and requires a lot of skill, so it is recommended that you go with an experienced guide or a ranger and take all the necessary precautions.


Kincaid Cave at Grand Canyon is named after Robert Kincaid, a prospector who discovered it in the early 1900s. Kincaid used the cave to store his equipment and supplies, and he even built a dam to divert the water of the waterfall into a small pool. The cave also served as a hideout for bootleggers during the Prohibition era, and there are still remnants of their activities in the cave. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built trails and a stone shelter near the cave, which are still in use today.


The centerpiece of Kincaid Cave is its stunning waterfall, which cascades down from a height of over 70 feet (21.34 m), into a crystal clear pool of water. The waterfall is a mesmerizing sight to behold, and the sound of the water hitting the rocks is both soothing and invigorating. You can even swim in the pool below the waterfall, but be careful as the water can be cold, and the rocks can be slippery. The best time to visit the waterfall is during the spring and summer months when the water flow is at its highest.

grand canyon kincaid cave


Kincaid Cave is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, and many species of birds and reptiles. The cave is also home to several species of bats, including the Townsend’s big-eared bat and the Western small-footed bat. These bats are important for pollinating plants and controlling insect populations, but they are endangered due to habitat loss and human disturbance. If you encounter bats in Kincaid Cave, please observe them from a distance and do not disturb them.

Frequent questions 

Can I visit Kincaid Cave without a guide?

Visiting Kincaid Cave independently hinges on one’s outdoor experience and comfort level with challenging terrains. The hike to the cave is strenuous and involves navigating through off-trail routes, which may prove difficult for those not accustomed to such conditions. Therefore, for safety and a fully informative visit, having an experienced guide or ranger is strongly recommended. Guides not only ensure safe navigation but also share invaluable knowledge about the cave’s history, fauna, and flora, enriching the overall experience.

Is swimming allowed in the waterfall pool?

Swimming in the waterfall pool is contingent upon current weather conditions and one’s swimming abilities. While the pool’s crystal clear water may be enticing, it’s crucial to consider that the water can be cold, and the rocks surrounding the pool can be slippery. Thus, visitors who decide to swim should exercise extreme caution, especially those not familiar with swimming in natural bodies of water. It’s always best to consult with park rangers or guides before deciding to take a dip.

Are there any facilities near Kincaid Cave?

While Kincaid Cave itself is quite remote, the surrounding area does provide certain facilities to cater to the needs of visitors. Close to the location, you’ll find a stone shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, which is still in use today. This serves as a resting point for hikers and an orientation spot. However, it’s important to note that there are no modern convenience facilities such as restaurants, restrooms, or shops in the immediate vicinity of the cave. Therefore, visitors are advised to bring essential supplies for the journey, including food, water, and a first aid kit.

kincaid cave grand canyon


Visiting Kincaid Cave and its mesmerizing waterfall should definitely be on your list of things to do when visiting the Grand Canyon National Park. It is a chance to experience the raw beauty of nature and see a part of the canyon that not many people know about. From the challenging hike to the stunning views, Kincaid Cave offers an adventure that you won’t forget. So, next time you’re in the Grand Canyon, make sure you take a trip to Kincaid Cave and witness the magic of the waterfall for yourself.

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