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Tapeats Creek
Tapeats Creek is located in Arizona
Tapeats Creek
Location of the mouth of Tapeats Creek in Arizona
Native name Ta Pits
Country United States
State Arizona
County Coconino
Physical characteristics
Main source Tapeats Spring
Grand Canyon (North Rim)
36°26′06″N 112°20′39″W / 36.435°N 112.3443°W / 36.435; -112.3443
River mouth Colorado River
Grand Canyon (Canyon Floor)
1,985 feet (605 m)
36°22′14″N 112°28′10″W / 36.3705°N 112.4694°W / 36.3705; -112.4694
Basin features

Tapeats Creek is a creek located entirely within the Grand Canyon National Park. It flows southwest from its source near the North Rim of the canyon to the Colorado River at the base of the canyon. It was named by the Second Powell Expedition in the winter of 1871–1872 for a Southern Paiute Indian who claimed ownership of the stream. It contributes the largest amount of water to the Colorado of any tributary on the north side within the Grand Canyon.


Tapeats Creek has one named tributary, Thunder River, a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) long river that begins where a natural spring (Thunder Springs) emerges at an elevation of 3,360 feet (1,020 m) and then drops by approximately 1,200 feet (370 m). The river, the steepest and one of the shortest in the United States, ends at the bottom of a waterfall where it joins Tapeats Creek.


Common trees along the creek are tamarisk and willows, with equisetum, mimulus, and cress found along the banks. Algae-covered rocks are found in most of the creek. Common aquatic invertebrate found in the creek include mayflies, different types of caddisflies, flies and riffle beetles. Bladder snails, isopods and damselflies can also be found.


The creek is considered one of Arizona's best wild-trout streams. The creek can be reached by Thunder River Trail from the North Rim, which is only accessible from mid-May to late October. Alternatively, the creek can be reached by raft trip on the Colorado River. Rainbow trout are plentiful and average 12 inches (300 mm) and can reach 20 inches (510 mm).


The following geologic features are located in the vicinity and are named after the creek:

  • the Tapeats Sandstone, which is exposed above the creek
  • the Tapeats Rapids in the Colorado, located where the creek enters the river
  • Tapeats Amphitheater, a large basin containing the creek's headwaters
  • Tapeats Terrace, a terrace with wide low benches
  • Tapeats Spring, the natural spring that feeds the creek
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