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Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park can be a nearly overwhelming place.  What do I do?  Where should I go?  Even for seasoned backpackers, the choices can be endless and exhausting.  The Goat has compiled a list especially for you, outlining backpacking trips in Grand Canyon for all skill and experience levels.  Enjoy!

5.  The Hermit Loop

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 18 miles

Difficulty: Undergraduate+ (Check out our difficulty ratings)

The Hermit Loop is a truly classic Grand Canyon backpacking trip that can be easily accomplished over a long weekend.  It is a great hike for those who are looking to take their first backpacking foray into the big ditch, and truly hits all the highlights.  Sweeping vistas, interesting side trips, and excellent canyon history await on a trail forged originally by the “hermit of the Grand Canyon”, Mr. Louis Boucher.  The route was later improved by the Santa Fe Railroad Line in an attempt to bring mining, then tourism, into the area.

4.  Tuckup Canyon via the Stairway to Heaven

Time: 7 days, 6 nights

Distance: 45 miles

Difficulty: PhD+ (check our difficulty ratings)

Get your defibrillator, this one is not for the faint of heart.  Located in one of the most remote parts of Grand Canyon, this long, challenging loop is meant for experienced cannoneers only.  This route takes ambitious hikers down Tuckup Canyon, past Shaman’s Gallery (recognized as one of the most spectacular rock art etchings in the American Southwest), through a traverse along the mighty Colorado River, and then up Stairway Canyon.  Along the way, there are exciting climbing, route-finding, and scrambling challenges, and .  Strap in!

 

3.  Thunder River to Deer Creek

Time: 4 days, 3 nights

Distance: 28 miles

Difficulty: Graduate+ (check our difficulty ratings)

The Thunder River to Deer Creek Loop is perhaps the North Rim’s most fabulous backpacking trip.  Multiple water sources, outstanding scenery, and a truly thunderous river.  Geologically speaking, Thunder River is one of the most unique features in Grand Canyon.  It begins as an underground river (aquifer) up on the Kaibab Plateau.  It flows along various fault lines and crustal weaknesses until it breaks loose at the contact of the permeable Esplanade Group (mostly shales) and the impermeable Redwall Limestone, quite literally thundering onto the rocks below.

2.  Rim-to-Rim via Phantom Ranch

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 19 miles

Difficulty: Graduate (check our difficulty ratings)

This is the true Grand Canyon classic backpacking trip.  Starting at the North Rim, your descent begins on the North Kaibab Trail as it winds it way down to the Colorado River.  Along the way hikers are treated to unspoiled views, soaring eagles, and a well-developed trail.  Thru-hikers may  camp at Bright Angel Campground, or stay in the lodge at the famed Phantom Ranch.  From here hikers may choose to ascend either the South Kaibab Trail (shorter, steeper) or the Bright Angel Trail (more miles) and stay the second night on the Esplanade.  After cresting on the South Rim, be sure to gaze upon your North Rim starting point.  This is one of the most popular trips in Grand Canyon, so be sure to make your reservations early!

1.  The Escalante Route

Time: 5 days, 4 nights

Distance: 35 miles

Difficulty: PhD (check our difficulty ratings)

Carved by early Puebloan explorers of Grand Canyon, this long traverse of Grand Canyon from the Tanner Trail to Horseshoe Mesa and Grandview is perhaps one of the finest backpacking trips on the planet.  There is a little bit of everything Grand Canyon here, as hikers will encounter outrageous views of the Great Unconformity, sandy beaches, a class 3 scramble over the famous Papago Wall, and a spectacular slot canyon carved from billion-year-old Shinumo Quartzite.  This route confronts with hikers with the unimaginable scale of Grand Canyon, as it will seem as though you are climbing mountains in a canyon.  Grand!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring The Wave, or any of our public lands, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guiding outfitter is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Canyons and Chefs provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with professional chefs and expert geologist/guides.  Our meals use fresh ingredients and are inspired by local farms, culture, and cuisine. We utilize a mobile professional kitchen as a backbone for cooking over the fire.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore. In conclusion, you can these wild places, but going with a guide can create an even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

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For adventure Chef-Driven Outdoor Experiences, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

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Explore Further, Be Wild, Eat Like Kings —

Canyons and Chefs

What are Good Hiking Foods?

Food for the Trail, Food For Life

 

We expend quite a lot of energy out on the trail, and all of those calories need to be either front-loaded or replaced.  How do we do that?  We eat food and drink water.  Here, you will find recipes that link with Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism’s Diet and Fitness regimen for being in great trail-shape.  I have used some box mixes and premade sauces to make you life easier, you have enough to worry about training and eating right!  Bon Apetit!

To see the exercise regimen that goes with this diet visit www.bluemarblegt.com/blog

Week 1:

Day 1:

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

2 fresh bananas

1/4 c. cocoa powder

2 c. plain almond mild, unsweetened

1/2 c. water

1/2 plain nonfat greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place bananas, powder, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined.  Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

 Toasted BLAT with Turkey Bacon on Sourdough Bread

2 slices sourdough bread

6 strips turkey bacon

4 slices Roma tomato

2 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.  Place turkey bacon on roasting pan, and roast in oven for 10 mins, or until bacon is golden brown and crispy.  Slice and pit avocado, cut each half into quarters.  Toast bread to liking.  Spread 1/2 of the avocado onto each slice.  Build sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and remaining avocado.  Serve immediately

Classic Pizza Neopalitana w/ Whole Wheat Crust

1 package whole wheat pizza dough

1 jar high-quality marinara sauce

1 package fresh mozzarella cheese

1 sprig fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  If you have a backing stone, preheat it along with the oven.  On floured surface, shape dough into a circle.  With a rolling pin, roll out evenly, flouring liberally until desired thickness and shape is achieved.  Spread sauce evenly.  Slice mozzarella evenly, add to pizza.  Bake for 14-16 mins, or until dough is crispy and cheese is melted completely.  Pick and tear basil leaves, spread on pizza.  Serve immediately.

Day 2:

Berry Peachy Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen mixed berries

1/4 bag frozen peaches

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Flaxseed Pancakes with Blueberry-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

Organic Flaxseed Pancake Mix

1 c. fresh blueberries

3 c. Maple Syrup

1/2 c. butter

2 oz. honey

Bring butter to room temperature.  Add honey, whisk vigorously until combined and chill.  In small saucepan, heat small amount of butter, add blueberries and small amount of water.  Cook until berries become soft and begin to break down.  Add syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.  Prepare pancakes according to instructions on box and serve with warm syrup and cool butter.

Grilled Eggplant and Couscous salad with Roasted Green Chili Vinaigrette

1 eggplant, sliced, grilled, and diced

1 cup cooked couscous

1 cup roasted green chilies

3 oz. olive oil

1 oz. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine chilies, oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl, whisking to combine.  Combine couscous and eggplant, and dress with vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

Seared Alaskan Salmon w/ Caramelized Vegetable Quinoa and Avocado Butter

6 oz. salmon fillet, de-boned

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 c. cooked quinoa

1 avocado, pitted and smashed

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened


 Add avocado, cilantro, and lime juice to butter and combine thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  In a skillet, heat small amount of olive oil and add onion, pepper, and zucchini, cooking on low heat until vegetables are browned and sweet.  In a different skillet, heat small amount of olive oil to smoke point and add salmon, skin-side down.  Cook until edges begin to brown, and put in oven for 5 mins. or until slightly firm.  Add quinoa to vegetables and heat.  To serve, place quinoa on plate, place salmon on quinoa skin-side up, and put small pad of butter on the salmon.  Serve immediately.

Day 3:

 Pineapple-Mango Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen pineapple

1/4 bag frozen mango

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Veggie-Stuffed Egg Bake with Boursin Cheese

3 eggs

1/2 c. broccoli florets

1/2 c. mushrooms

1/4 c. tomatoes

2 tsp. boursin cheese

1 tsp. cooking oil


Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Saute vegetables in cooking oil using a cast iron skillet.  Whisk eggs until well combined and pour over vegetables.  Add cheese.  Cook in oven until eggs are set.  

Whole Wheat Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 c. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add eggs, butter, sugar, and extract.  Whisk until creamy an combined.  Though a sifter add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk lightly into batter.  Fold in blueberries, and chocolate chips.  Spray a muffin tin with oil.  Using 1 full ice cream scoop, portion batter into tin.  Bake for 15-20 mins., or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry.  This recipe makes roughly 24 muffins, or two full muffin tins.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Crouton

4 onions, sliced

2 tsp. butter

4 oz. brandy or cognac

8 oz. cans beef stock

8 oz. chicken stock

1 tsp. salt

Slices French bread

2 slices gruyere cheese


In a stock pot, melt butter and add onions and brandy.  Cook onions on low heat until onions are very brown and sweet.  Add stock and simmer for 30 mins.  Add salt to taste.


For the Croutons:  Add cheese to bread, bake in oven for 8 mins. or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.  Add to soup.

Caprese Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 ball mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh basil

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 oz. balsamic vinegar


Arrange tomato and cheese slices in an alternating pattern.  Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.  Finish with torn basil and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad with Parmigian Croutons

1 chicken breast,grilled and cubed

1 head romaine lettuce

3 oz. low-fat Caesar dressing

1 bag Caeser croutons


Season and grill chicken until juices run clear.  Chop lettuce, add croutons.  Dress and combine. Add chicken.  Serve immediately.

Day 4:

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen strawberries

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. almond milk

1/4 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Frozen Raspberry “Custard”

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup whole milk


In a bowl, add milk to berries and let sit for 2 mins.  Serve immediately.

The Goat’s Cobb Salad

1/4 small bag shredded lettuce

1/4 small bag shredded purple cabbage

1 hardboiled egg, sliced

1 oz. goat cheese

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. shelled, crushed walnuts

2 strips turkey bacon, crumbled

1 oz. balsamic vinaigrette


Combine lettuce and cabbage.  In parallel lines, garnish salad with remaining ingredients.  Dress with vinaigrette. 

Health Nut Trail Mix

2 parts skin-on almonds

1 part flax seed

2 part shelled sunflower seed

2 parts pepitas

2 parts roasted pumpkin seeds

 2 parts shelled walnuts

2 parts dried cranberries

2 parts dried apricots

1 part roasted oats

Coconut Red Curry Chicken w/ Basmati Rice

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cubed

2 tsp. cooking oil

1/2 c. broccoli, chopped

1/2 c. cauliflower, chopped

1/3 c. carrots, chopped

1/3 c. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can coconut milk

2 tsp. red curry paste


Saute all vegetables with curry paste until translucent.  Add cubed chicken.  Add coconut milk, simmer until thickened.  Serve while hot.

Day 5:

Peach Tahini Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen peaches

2 tsp. tahini paste

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, tahini, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Whole Wheat Waffles w/ Rum-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

For the cakes:

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. milk

2 tbsp. white sugar

1/4 c. melted butter

1/4 tsp. salt


In a large mixing bowl add butter, and sugar, whisking until combined.  Whisk in milk.  Though a sifter add flour and baking powder.  Whisk lightly until combined, let batter sit for 5 mins. In a lightly oiled waffle iron, add batter and cook until done on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Top with syrup and butter.  Serve immediately.


For the Syrup:

2 shots rum

1 c. maple syrup


Heat a small saucepan.  Add rum and cook out alcohol, simmering for at least 5 minutes.  Add syrup, and simmer for additional 5 minutes

For the butter:

2 oz. honey

1/2 unsalted butter, softened

Whisk honey into softened butter and chill.

Fruit n’ Nut Grab Bag

2 parts roasted walnuts

1 part dried apricots

1 part dried cranberries

1 part dried nectarines

1 part dried apple

1 part dried strawberry

2 part pepitas

1 part roasted pistachios

Smoked Salmon and Dill Quesadilla


2 large flour tortillas

1/2 lb. smoked salmon, 

2 c. Gouda cheese, shredded

1 sprig fresh dill, picked

Sour cream for garnish

Heat a griddle to medium heat and oil lightly.  Lay tortillas flat, and spread cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.  Add salmon, cook until salmon is heated, roughly 1 min.  Add dill, close the tortillas, remove from heat. Garnish with small amount of sour cream and serve immediately.

 

The Goat’s Fruit Salad

1 small watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

2 cups strawberries

2 cups grapes

1 sprig fresh mint, chopped

3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt


Remove the rind and cube the melons.  Add remaining fruit, mint, and yogurt.  Fold until all fruit is covered. Will keep for up to five days when chilled and covered.

Fire-Grilled Turkey Burger w/ Sonoran Coleslaw

For the slaw:

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 c. shredded carrot

1/4 c. diced green chilies

1/4 c. thinly-sliced apple

2 tsp. rice vinegar


For the burger:

Whole wheat hamburger buns

1 lb. ground turkey

2 tsp. applesauce

1 tsp.Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 egg 

1 tbsp. cornmeal


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Grill until juices run clear. Top with slaw and serve on buns.

Day 6:

Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Cereal Nut Mix

2 parts Cinnamon Toast Crunch

2 parts Golden Grahams

2 parts Honey Nut Cheerios

1 part Slivered almonds

2 parts Kix

1 parts dried pears

The Goat’s Tuna Salad w/ Rye Toast

2 c. chunk tuna, drained

2 tsp. light mayonnaise

3 stalks celery, diced

1/2 c. chopped green grapes

1/4 c. chopped cranberries

1 tsp. ground caraway seed

Salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined.

Banana Walnut Bread

3 c. AP flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1.5 c. smashed bananas

1 c. shelled walnuts

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add butter, eggs, sugar, and beat until well combined.  Add bananas, and beat until combined.  Through a sifter, add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low setting until combined dough is formed.  Fold in walnuts.  Bake for 55-60 mins., or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry.

Shrimp Scampi w/ Whole Wheat Pasta

1/2 pckg. whole wheat linguini

1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 c. dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 c. unsalted butter

Cook pasta to al dente and set aside.  Heat small amount of butter and sauce onions and garlic until onions are brown and taste sweet.  Add wine, and reduce by half.  Add lemon juice. Add shrimp and simmer until pink and firm.  Spoon sauce and shrimp over warm pasta and serve immediately.

Day 7:  

Mountain Berry Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen mixed berries

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

May The Goat be always with you

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Death Valley: 10 Cool Facts at 134 Degrees

Death Valley: 10 Cool Facts at 134 Degrees

There is a place so vast, so beautiful, so unique, and so special that it nearly defies comprehension.  This is Death Valley.  Located in the howling wilds of the Mojave Desert along the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley is at the same time magnificent and overwhelming in sheer size, beauty, and adventure opportunity.  In our opinion, it is world-famous for all the wrong reasons.  When most think of Death Valley, they think of it being the place where the hottest temperature on Earth was recorded; 134 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact on July 10, 1913.  Even the name itself conjures up images of things literally bursting into flames; a place that is at the least not enjoyable, and at the worst, the terrestrial version of The Inferno.

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While Death Valley itself does hold that distinction, the surrounding areas are quite pleasant during the summer months, and see up to feet of snow in the winter.  The Goat aims to shed some new light on this wondrous, mysterious, gorgeous, and astonishing area, and he has put together his very best “Did You Know?” list about Death Valley!

1.  Did you know that the vertical distance between the lowest and highest points in Death Valley is over 11,000 feet?

Telescope Peak, the highest peak in the Panamint Mountains that tower over Death Valley, is 11,049 feet above sea level.  Its lofty peak is less than 15 miles away from the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level.  This nearly incomprehensible juxtaposition is a feat that is only accomplished by the complex tectonics and unique geology that govern Death Valley’s highs and lows.

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2.  Did you know that Death Valley should really be called “Life Valley?”

Death Valley National Park is home to numerous lizard and reptile species, bighorn sheep, antelope, snakes, Gila monsters, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, several species of owl, rodents, and hundreds of plant and tree species including cottonwood, oak, Joshua trees, and various pines, as well as many species of cactus.  The perception that it is a barren, lifeless desert could not be further from reality, as it houses one of the greatest biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.

3.  Did you know that you can play golf then soak in hot springs in Death Valley?

You and the Devil.  Furnace Creek Golf Club boasts a full 18-hole course that challenges golfers of all levels, and the Devil’s Golf Course is one of the most excellent salt flats in the world.  Visitors to Death Valley can easily see both in a day, so get ready to dance with the Devil! After dancing, feel free to soak luxuriously in Furnace Creek Hot Springs, the park’s developed and fantastically rejuvenating hot natural hot spring.

4.  Did you know that Death Valley is the largest National Park in the contiguous 48?

At 3.4 million acres, it dwarfs many of our National Parks including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and even Yellowstone in sheer size.  In fact, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone together would fit inside Death Valley!

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5.  Did you know that one of Earth’s rarest species exists in Death Valley?

The Devil’s Hole Pupfish, one of the most rare and beautiful species of fish in the world, exists in Death Valley and only Death Valley.  In fact, the park is home to several species that are not just indigenous, but exist here almost exclusively.

6.  Did you know that Mt. Whitney is in the next mountain range over?

Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states at 14,465 feet above sea level, lies in the Sierra Nevada just west of Death Valley.  This means that the highest and lowest points in the lower 48 are less than 100 miles apart!

7.  Did you know that in 1929, not a single drop of rain fell in Death Valley?

Yep, not one.  Death Valley is the driest place in North America, averaging less than 5 inches of rain per year.  The howling deserts of places like Arizona and even the Sahara Desert of Africa average more, making Death Valley one of the driest places on the globe.

8.  Did you know that Death Valley is home to some of the best-preserved human history sites in the Unites States?

Both modern and ancient history are on fabulous display here in Death Valley.  Archaeological evidence dates back to over 9,000 years ago, as petroglyphs and various Puebloan artifacts can be found all over the park.  In addition, the Timbisha Shoshone Native American Tribe has called Death Valley home for over 1,000 years.  There is colorful mining and European history here as well, as Death Valley got its name from frustrated and thirsty prospectors in 1848.  There are numerous well-preserved mining claims and historical artifacts, and even a wickedly cool ghost town! (Check out our Surprise Canyon Backpacking Tour)

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9.  Did you know Death Valley is a favorite for Hollywood movie sets?

Dozens of scenes from Star Wars have been filmed in Death Valley, including Artist’s Palette (the Sandcrawler scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), Golden Canyon (Jawa scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (Droid scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).  Also, cult classic film Tremors was filmed in the Owens Valley just one range over, and many of the shots in this excellent movie gaze onto the west side of the Panamint Mountains.  Check out The Goat’s Geology Blogto learn more about Tremors and other great geology movies!

10.  Did you know that Death Valley has some of the most outrageous geology in the world?

The geologic display in Death Valley is nothing short of astonishing.  Home to three major faults, Death Valley is a wild melange of nearly-billion year-old sediments (very rare), contorted metamorphics, twisted volcanics, and more mineralization and hydrothermal staining than you could shake a geologic hammer at.  A quintessential example of the extensional tectonics that have created the Basin and Range Province, Death Valley is not to be missed by the geologist child in all of us.

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Bonus:  Did you know that Death Valley can be a great place in all seasons (even summer)?

You read that right; all seasons, even summer.  Crazy?  Ridiculous?  Suicidal?  Nope, just the truth.  The Panamint Mountains, which reach to over 11,000 feet, stay cool even as the summer heat blisters the valley below.  This is a perfect time to summit many of Death Valley’s most lofty peaks, including Telescope Peak, it’s highest point.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism is ecstatic to be rolling out our guided Death Valley hiking tours!  Let our geologist/guides show you the wonder and whimsy of one of the most fantastically outrageous places on the face of the Earth.  You’ll be glad you got past the name and into the wild!

May The Goat be always with you

For The Goat’s Geologic Musings visit his Personal Blog

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How Long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon?

How Long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon?

How long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon

Like many of the questions about Grand Canyon, this one has several different and nuanced answers.  Will you travel by foot, mule, or helicopter?  How much gear might you be carrying?  Are you a fit hiker, or is this your first time?  Are you approaching from North Rim or South Rim?  The Goat is here to break down all of these options!

Hiking

Let’s begin with the most popular, and easily the most rewarding style of travel in Grand Canyon; a good old-fashioned, one foot in front of the other journey into the depths of time and space.

Some Advice before you Begin

First and foremost, the National Park Service (and The Goat) advises that nobody, under any circumstances, should attempt the hike from rim-to-river and back in one day.  Attempting to hike rim-to-river and back in a day has resulted in many deaths over the years, along with countless cases of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and severe dehydration among other delightful afflictions.  Before we get into the fun, fabulous parts of hiking in Grand Canyon, we must first be clear about this practice.

Inverted Mountains Are Sneaky

Grand Canyon Hikers must remember one mantra; going down is optional, coming up is mandatory.  The NPS must execute hundreds of rescues each year on hikers that run into trouble.  Grand Canyon is a hostile, dry, and unforgiving place that yields no mercy.  Summertime temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees, there is little water on any trails, and even less shade.

Hiking in Grand Canyon is often referred to as “hiking a mountain in reverse”.  That is, your descent comes first, while your ascent is how you must finish.  This can fool hikers easily, as walking down is an easy, breezy, view-saturated adventure that can quickly get out of hand.  Many hikers that find trouble simply started walking down the trail, suddenly realizing that they are five miles down having barely broken a sweat.

Water

Perhaps the most potentially dangerous thing about undertaking any hike in Grand Canyon is the particular lack of water.  Many hikes the world over cross numerous streams, have shade, and/or easy access to clean, potable water.  This is not the case in Grand Canyon, as water sources are extremely limited.  Two South Rim hikes (Tanner, South Kaibab) have no accessible water source of any kind until the Colorado River.

Other South Rim trails (Hermit, Bright Angel) have access to water along the trail, but not for at least 3.5 miles.  Always carry plenty of water when hiking in Grand Canyon.  The Goat recommends a minimum of 3L/person, no matter the distance of the hike.

Spatial Perception

Much like the sneakiness of the inverted mountain, things in Grand Canyon tend to appear much closer than they actually are.  At times it feels as though you could literally reach out and touch the Colorado River, or even just a portion of trail beneath you.  Go to Desert Watchtower on the East Rim.  From the Tanner Trail, you are presented with an astonishing view of the mighty Colorado, a unique rim view in Grand Canyon.  Though the river is over 9 miles away by trail, an optical illusion is presented that makes the river feel close.

This is a difficult lesson for many hikers in Grand Canyon.  Our destination is just right over there!  It looks so close!  Believe us, it is not.  Between the necessarily winding trail, the relentless sun, the lack of water, and the absence of shade, something that optically appears close becomes seemingly further away in reality.  Remember that the scale presented to your senses in Grand Canyon is typically unlike anything you’ve ever experience.  Those of us that have spent years in this wondrous landscape are still blown away by its size and space.  In Grand Canyon, perception is often NOT reality.

Let’s Start Hiking!

At last, we can actually talk about hiking!  Hiking in Grand Canyon is a magical, perhaps even spiritual experience.  The colors, sights, sounds, smells, and ever-changing conditions create an intensely dramatic and memorable experience on even short hikes.  As you hike though 2 billion years of Earth’s history, the Canyon reveals itself step-by-step, both physically and philosophically.  In terms of trails and the time it takes to reach the bottom, here are your options:

South Rim

The South Rim presents most of the park’s developed trails, has the “shortest” routes to the river at the bottom, and is by a wide margin the more popular of the two rims.  There are 4 developed trails from the South Rim, and 1 trail that is undeveloped and unmaintained.

Bright Angel

The Bright Angel Trail is the most popular trail in Grand Canyon.  It traces the path of the Bright Angel Fault, through Indian Gardens, across the Tonto bench, and down to the river in 9.6 miles.  This highly trafficked corridor trail teems with other hikers and rangers aplenty, great for beginners introducing themselves to Grand Canyon hiking.  Hikers can reach the river and Bright Angel Campground in between 4-5 hours.

South Kaibab

The South Kaibab Trail is the steeper counterpart of the Bright Angel Trail, and plunges to the river in an abrupt 6.4 miles.  Holding the distinction as the only trail in the park developed completely by the NPS, it is a more direct route to the river for those looking for speed.  Connecting South Kaibab to Bright Angel via the Tonto Trail is a classic backpacking trip that many first-timers find welcoming.  Hiking to the river along the South Kaibab Trail typically takes between 3-4 hours.

Hermit Trail

The Hermit Trail follows a route forged by Canyon pioneer Louis Boucher, also known as “the Hermit of Grand Canyon”.  Mr. Boucher led a reclusive life at the bottom of the Canyon for roughly 20 years, guiding tourists, mining, and homesteading.  His pioneer route was improved by the Santa Fe Railroad company in the early 1900s, and today presents an excellent alternative to the more crowded corridor trails.  The Hermit Trail descends 8.9 miles to the river, and will take the average hiker between 4-5 hours to reach the bottom.

Tanner Trail

The Tanner Trail is perhaps the most exciting and more challenging of developed routes from the South Rim.  The trail presents sweeping views across eastern Grand Canyon, with views of Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs to the north.  The Grand Canyon Supergroup, a suite of tilted, faulted, 1 billion year-old sedimentary rocks that symbolize the Great Unconformity are revealed in splendor here, a perspective unique to this part of the canyon.  The Tanner trail is 9.3 miles long, and hikers may reach the river in 4-5 hours.

South Bass

The South Bass trail, set roughly 25 miles west of the South Rim Visitor’s Center, is easily the most rugged trail from the South Rim.  Reached by a 4WD trail, the drive here takes roughly 2.5 hours.  The trail itself was carved by William Wallace Bass, and early pioneer and promoter of tourism in Grand Canyon.  South Rim solitude is found in droves here, wildlife abundant, and views outstanding.  The trail is 12.2 miles long, and will take the average hiker 5-7 hours to reach the river.

North Rim

The less popular, more contemplative North Rim presents Grand Canyon hikers with opportunities for more challenges, more solitude, and a decidedly different perspective of Grand Canyon.  Set at over 8,500 feet above sea level, North Rim is a forested wonderland of rolling meadows, wildflower, and perhaps even a glimpse of one of the iconic symbols of the west, the American Bison.  Access requires longer drive times, and trails here retain a fairly rugged character.  Like the South Rim, do not even dream of attempting a rim-to-river-to-rim hike in one day.  North Rim trails are long, can be challenging, and are generally reserved for more-experienced Grand Canyon hikers.

Much of the Colorado River system that has carved Grand Canyon emanates from the north.  Consequently, in contrast to South Rim, North Rim is “set back” from the river, following long, meandering routes coursed by ancient tributaries.  South Rim’s dramatic and abrupt cliff faces and 4000-foot plunges are a product of the lack of water flowing into the river from the south, while North Rim landscapes are dominated by softer relief.

North Kaibab

Counterpart to the South Kaibab Trail, North Kaibab is North Rim’s most accessible and least rugged trail.  It is the only North Rim trail maintained by the NPS.  The trail is follows a 28 miles route to the river, and most hikers will find that it takes 2-3 days to reach the river.  Keep in mind that this is the least-challenging trail on North Rim.

Nankoweap Route

Notice the use of the word “route”, as opposed to the use of the word “trail” in the name.  This is for a reason, as Nankoweap is really not a trail in the traditional sense.  It is lightly trafficked, unmaintained, and follows an ambitiously-descending ridge along the East Kaibab Monocline.  Hikers descend 14.8 miles along the trail, and average hikers may reach the river in 1-2 days. Get ready.  Get set. Go!

North Bass

The North Bass Trail is, of course, the North Rim counterpart to South Rim’s Bass Trail.  William Wallace Bass, pioneer of Grand Canyon, carved this route as part of his efforts to promote tourism in Grand Canyon.  The trail follows faults, rock falls, and sublime canyon scenery 14.5 miles to the river.  Hikers may reach the river in 1-2 days.  This is perhaps the quintessential trail in Grand Canyon, as it contains just about everything hiking here has to offer.  Try an exciting Rim-to-Rim backpacking tour on the Bass Trail, complete with a pack rafting adventure!

Seeing Grand Canyon on Muleback

The National Park Service maintains a mule farm on both North and South Rims.  Visitors to Grand Canyon may elect to have their gear carried to their campsite by pack mule, a decidedly easier alternative to carrying your own gear.  Please consider your choice carefully when selecting a mule outfitter.

Several private companies have been fined and banned from Grand Canyon for animal abuse and cruelty.  Check the Park Service’s website for more information about mule rides in Grand Canyon.  Contact us to learn more about mule-assisted backpacking tours.

Imbibing in a mule-assisted trip to the river certainly takes a load off, however it does not save time.  Hikers must still make their way on foot, or on the back of a mule whose goal is not speed.  Mule trips down to the river typically take between 4-5 hours.

See Grand Canyon by Helicopter

One of the fairly new enterprises in Grand Canyon is the proliferation of helicopter tours.  They are popular particularly in western Grand Canyon, where helicopters buzz through the air almost constantly.  The Goat’s opinion is this — get your butt off your couch and onto your feet.  Need more information?  Please look elsewhere :). Helicopters create several problems in Grand Canyon.  Helicopters create pollution, both noise and exhaust. They destroy any perceived wilderness experience.  They damage wildlife patterns, and best of all (sarcasm) they crash!  In the past 7 years, there have been 3 helicopter crashes that resulted in fatalities.  The most recent of these was near Peach Springs in 2017, when 5 passengers and the pilot died.  One woman was rescued, and is scarred for life both physically and mentally.  Take my advice — don’t contribute to the proliferation of industrial tourism in Grand Canyon.

Fitness

Surely you’ve heard this numerous times, but please be in reasonable physical condition.  Undertaking any hiking in Grand Canyon is a decidedly physical challenge, and it will increase your enjoyment as well as decrease your chances of trouble if you are in shape.  For more information, see our blog post regarding training for hiking in Grand Canyon.

Guided Grand Canyon Hiking Tours

Perhaps the very best way to see and experience Grand Canyon is by hiring a professional guide service.  Hiking with people who know the Grand Canyon intimately vastly improves your experience and understanding of this unreal place, and not having to deal with logistics, food, gear, and all that madness only enhances the trip.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides everything need; geologist/guides with actual geology degrees and professional certifications, backcountry meals inspired by professional chefs, top-of-the-line gear, and outstanding customer service.

The Goat’s Final Word

There you have it, folks.  You asked how long does it take walk down the Grand Canyon, and we have outlined virtually every possible eventuality!  Whether by foot (awesome), by mule (still awesome), helicopter (not cool), from North or South Rim, by land or bey sea, you now have some idea of how long it takes.  Happy Hiking!

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How Hot Does It Get In The Grand Canyon?

How Hot Does it Get in the Grand Canyon?

With the summer months officially upon us, it has come time to discuss one of the most-asked questions this time of year: how hot does it actually get in Grand Canyon?  The answer is one word, three letters: H-O-T. The Inner Gorge regularly sees temperatures hovering over 110 degrees, and the Phantom Ranch Ranger Station, a popular destination any time of the year, has recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees.  Grand Canyon is one hot spot in the summertime, my friends.

Why is it so hot?

Several reasons contribute to temperatures in the depths of Grand Canyon.  They may seem fairly obvious, but our bet is that some may be surprising.  Many of our guests are not accustomed to traveling in the American Southwest, and are sometimes surprised at the heat.  The temperatures may be doubly surprising given that elevations at either rim are well over 7000 feet above sea level.  Let’s examine the culprits.

Climate

First of all, and most simply, it’s a desert.  Grand Canyon sits on the Colorado Plateau, a saucer-shaped uplift in the Earth’s crust.  The Plateau is sandwiched between two mighty mountain ranges, the Rockies and Sierras, both of which impound much of the moisture in the region.  The Colorado Desert, as it is known to ecologists, lies adjacent to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mojave Desert of California.

Though not as arid as its cousins to the south, the Colorado Desert is a desert nonetheless.  Average annual precipitation across the Plateau is just 10″ in the lowest, hottest spots, The region is studded with laccoltith (granitic dome) mountains that receive snow, but the lowlands are hot and dry places, indeed.

The Rocks

Given its desert nature, much of the Colorado Plateau is a wilderness of naked rock.  Vegetation in the lower elevations is sparse, lending very little shade.  The bare rocks “breathe” heat, inhaling the solar radiation, then exhaling back out into the atmosphere.  The darker and more dense the rock, the more inhaling and exhaling take place.

The rocks of Grand Canyon’s Inner Gorge, known as the Vishnu Metamorphic Complex, are prime candidates for this breathing action.  Their color (very dark, essentially black in most places) and density (metamorphic rocks are extremely dense) make them enormously susceptible to heat absorption.  Given their location in the depths of Grand Canyon, it is no wonder why the inner canyon can feel like a blast furnace in the hottest months.

Even the lighter-colored, less dense sedimentary rocks found in Grand Canyon such as sandstone, shale, and limestone, are very inefficient cooling centers.  No matter where they are in the canyon, the rocks cannot escape the sun, and hikers in Grand Canyon cannot escape the rocks (yay!).

In essence, Grand Canyon behaves like a giant, incredibly scenic parking lot.  The same action that occurs in the vast expanses of concrete jungles known as cities, also occurs here in Grand Canyon and across the naked rock wilderness of the Colorado Plateau.

Elevation Changes

Grand Canyon is a massive, inverted mountain.  The summit of this mountain, the Colorado River, lies at roughly 2000 feet elevation.  The base, respectively North and South Rims, are at impressive elevations of 7500 and 8500 feet.  As you may imagine, this creates significant differences in temperature.  The rule of thumb climbing mountains in in the upward direction is 5 degrees for every thousand feet.  This same rule of thumb applies to inverted mountains.

A nice summer day on the North Rim might be 80 degrees.  This same day temperatures on the South Rim may be a warm, but still relatively comfortable 85+ degrees  Six thousand feet below at Phantom Ranch it will be a balmy 110 degrees.  Temperatures in the sun may exceed 130 degrees.

The forested rims, particularly the lush North Rim, are in climate zones more similar to places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain National Park.  In contrast, the Inner Gorge lies in a climate zone similar to that of Saguaro and Joshua Tree National Parks which are located in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, respectively.

Is there any way to beat the heat?

Staying in the cool pine forests near the Grand Canyon’s North and South Rims is the best bet to beat the heat in the summer.  South Rim regularly sees temperatures in the 90s, but shade is easy to find.  Cool breezes often blow through the stands of ponderosa pine, making a picnic overlooking the canyon very pleasant.

The North Rim is cooler, typically seeing high temperatures in the low-to-mid 80’s.  Stands of aspen forest tremble in the breeze, and at 8500 feet nights get quite cool.  A trip to North Rim is a great way to spend a summer day.  Summertime stars at either rim are a sight to behold.

But I still want to hike….

Hiking in Grand Canyon in the summertime, as you may gather, can be a interesting proposition.  The Goat’s advice is to get out early.  Starting a hike before dawn is a summer rite-of-passage in Grand Canyon.  Avoid hiking during the hottest times of the day (10AM-4PM).  If you are out on the trail during those times, it is a good idea to seek shade where available.  Drink plenty of water (3-4L/person), and eat salty snacks that help your body to retain moisture.  Nuts, Jerky, and cheese make a fantastic meal on the trail, but avoid food high in sugar.

Is it a good idea (or even fun) to go backpacking in the summer?

If you are planning a backpacking trip below the rim during the summer, know what you are in for and prepare for it.  Following the general hiking guidelines outlined earlier is a great start.  Plan your trip so that you will be near water, if possible.  Many hikes from the North Rim have water along the trail, and the Colorado River makes a wonderful and very welcome swimming hole.

Packing correctly is quite helpful as well.  A wide-brimmed hat is key, along with sunglasses and clothing material that wicks moisture.  Synthetic garments work well, and avoid wearing anything that absorbs moisture such as denim or cotton.

What is the best time of year to hike in Grand Canyon?

If you can swing it, Grand Canyon hiking is best enjoyed during the cooler months.  October to April are the best times, with November to March being particularly spectacular.  Although it may be chilly on the rim, hiking in the canyon during these months presents daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s, absolutely perfect for hiking.

Be advised that North Rim is open from May 15 – October 15.  In the off-season there are no services available, and access is quite limited.  In order to access North Rim during the winter, hikers must approach the rim on foot, in snowshoes, or on cross country skies.

Despite summer being warmer, there is no such thing as a bad time to visit Grand Canyon.  Simply hiking along the rim to take in the astounding views is a great summertime activity, but hiking below the rim can be highly enjoyable too.  Following our hiking guidelines will ensure that your backpacking trip or day hike is a safe and fun experience that yields stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Going Guided

Exploring Grand Canyon with a guide service is hands-down the best way to enjoy the canyon.  This is true any time of the year, but is especially true when the temperature starts to rise.  Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism’s guides are certified in CPR and backcountry medicine in addition to being degreed geologists.  This depth of medical knowledge is the key to keeping our guests safe on the trail, particularly when the conditions are not ideal.  Hit us up for more information, or to join an epic backpacking or basecamp hiking tour.

Hiring an outfitter has several benefits.  Namely, we worry about all the other stuff while you enjoy your adventure!  Food, navigation, top-of-the-line gear, and deep knowledge of the landscape is the coup de gras.

The Goat’s Final Word

Grand Canyon presents the intrepid adventurer extraordinary experiences with unique challenges.  Even without the heat, hiking in Grand Canyon can be demanding and requires preparation paired with realistic goals.  Summer heat is certainly among the challenges one will find here, but it can be managed fairly easily by hiking smart.

In fact, the heat offers hikers the opportunity to really slow down and enjoy the vistas unraveling before their eyes.  Hiking by moonlight is an extraordinary experience that not only beats the heat, but presents an altogether different perspective on this wondrous place.  Trust me, wandering through a moonlight-bathed gorge while a Great Horned Owl hoots from the cliffs above is a sublime experience.

Slow down, find some shade, drink some water, and chill.  Post up under a sprawling cottonwood tree.  Have a well-deserved splash in the river or under a waterfall.  Take cues from Grand Canyon wildlife.  Do you see them going hard in the heat?  No?  Then you shouldn’t either.  Above all, don’t force anything.  If you feel hot, slow down.  Don’t be afraid to take care of yourself, your body will thank you.

Contact us for information about Grand Canyon hiking, or step into a geologic time machine on one of our epic Grand Canyon hiking tours

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How Long Is The Havasupai Falls Hike?

How Long Is The Havasupai Falls Hike?

How Long is the Havasupai Falls Hike?

Hiking down to the shimmering waters of Havasu Falls is on the bucket list of most outdoor enthusiasts.  Who wouldn’t want to take the plunge into some of the most iconic waters of the American Southwest?  Inviting as they seem, however, getting to Havasu Falls is not particularly easy, cheap, or for the faint of heart.  The trail is quite long, steep in places, and mostly in the sun.  This is not to mention the sometimes dizzying exposures along two ridges.

Here are the best ways to get to Havasu Falls, as dictated by The Goat:

By Foot

Hiking, as usual, is The Goat’s recommended method of travel.  It allows one to truly experience nature and the wilderness was meant to be; unobstructed by whirring motors, and metal boxes on wheels.  Though there are other means of travel to reach Havasu Falls (two of which are covered later in this post), hiking is by far the most rewarding.  In addition to the physical rewards, the scenery is outstanding, and a multi-day backpacking trip allows hikers to explore the area deeply, which is not to be missed.

Several small tributaries to Havasu creek have carved intricate canyons of their own.  Though the waterfalls and turquoise waters are the main attraction, the creeks, chives, falls, slots, and defiles off the beaten path are well worth the time to explore.  Here, we outline the particulars of the main hike from its main (read: only) trailhead.  Please do not attempt to reach the falls by any other routes or trails.

The Numbers

Length: 10 miles one-way
Difficulty: Strenuous, especially coming out of the canyon in the summer
Optimal Seasons:

If you can get a permit, GO! (Read more about Havasupai Permits here). This is one of the most coveted permits in the world, and getting one is no easy task.  The best season to go is the date your permit says.

Permits:

As of 2019, the Havasupai Tribe has changed and streamlined its permit process.  You MUST reserve permits online, there is no longer a number to call.

Cost:

Once again, the tribe has changed things up a bit.  New in 2019, the only kind of trip available to reserve as 4 days/3 nights.  You can no longer customize your trip length.  The rates are $100/night during the week (mon-thurs) and $125/night on the weekends (fri-sun).  This means, on average, a 4 day/3 night trip the Havasu Falls will cost you somewhere between $300-$375 per person on the permit.

The Hike

Hiking down to the village of Supai and Havasu Falls is absolutely the way to do it.  The 10-mile hike from Hualapai Hilltop to the campgrounds is reasonably difficult, so plan on hiking 4-5 hours down, and 7-8 hours back up.  The weather can be very warm, and there is NO water along the trail.  Bring at least 3 liters of personal drinking water, and remember there is no water until you reach the village of Supai, 8 miles down the canyon.

The trail starts quickly, with 1 mile of switchbacks descending 2000 feet into the canyon.  Be aware of mules and horses on the trail as you make your way, they can be unpredictable.  Always yield to animals.  One of the most unfortunate things along the trail is the observation of animal caracasses; the pack animal situation here has become untenable (more on this later).  You may reserve pack animals in the village of Supai, or at the campground.  Stay on the side of the trail to avoid spooking the animals, and respect their handlers instructions..

Animals and Wildlife

There can be other wildlife (as if pack animals are wildlife) on the trail the you will want to stay aware of.  Rattlesnakes, scorpions, and poisonous spiders are part of the desert ecosystem here.  Do not put your hands in a place where you can’t see them.  Do not, under any circumstances approach or in any way disturb rattlesnakes in particular. The most commonly-treated snakebite injury is on the hand.  Would you like to guess how a rattlesnake bites a person on the hand?

Hikers may also catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep, California condors, Red-tailed Hawks, and copious numbers of lizards and rodents such as chipmunks and ground squirrels.  Do not approach or attempt to feed wildlife.  The rodents may carry the Hantavirus, which is a particularly horrific, Ebola-like virus that can result in death.  Also, keeping wildlife wild is what makes wilderness what it is and was meant to be!

Continuing Down the Canyon…..

The hike meanders on the trail for 7 miles before reaching the village of Supai.  The first 3 miles of this trek offers very little shelter from the sun.  At length, hikers reach the terminus of Hualapai Canyon at the junction of Havasu Canyon, where the famous turquoise waters of Havasu Creek first appear.  From this junction, you have just 1.5 miles to reach the village of Supai.

The Village of Supai

The village of Supai, where the Havasuapai Tribe has made their home for the better part of the last 800 years, is a small and quaint place.  Services are very limited.  There is no cell phone reception (but you probably knew this from the moment your phone lost reception below the canyon rim), and even the mail comes by mule train to this day.

There are some options for supplies, however.  In addition to the campground office,  there is a convenience store stocked with items like chips, jerky, gatorade/water, and other snacks provisions (bacon!).  This a great place to recharge for the last 2 miles of the trek to the campgrounds.  There is also a diner, grocery store, and more in the town, so take a moment to explore.

The Last Leg to the Falls

Departing from Supai, hikers descend for an additional 1.5 miles down Havasu Canyon. Come around a bend, and wait for a figurative punch in the face.  The outstanding scene around the corner, the famous Havasu Falls, comes into view.  Cascading nearly 150 feet over cliffs of travertine, Havasu Falls plunges into the blue-green waters with a thunderous might.   This view alone will make every step of the journey worth it.

If you can, pry yourself away from the mesmerizing view and continue to the campground, a short half-mile beyond the falls.  The campground has running water and trash receptacles, please use them both responsibly (more on this later).  Bringing additional water bladders and water bottles can cut down on the time spent at the faucet.  There is but one faucet, and lines will form at any time of year.  Be smart, plan ahead, save time.

While at the Campground

Havasu Falls and the surrounding area is a very popular place.  Do not come here expecting solitude, or anything that could be considered a “wilderness experience”.  While it is intensely beautiful, it is that beauty that makes it very crowded.  On any given night, during all times of the year, expect to share the campground with somewhere between 300-400 other people.  Also expect a nearly constant din of helicopters landing and taking off, as this has become a very popular method of reaching the falls.

Trash

There are several things you can do while at Havasu Campground to minimize your personal impact.  Rule one:  Pack it in, pack it out.  If you bring it, take it the hell out (please).  Do not flick cigarette butts, toss napkins or do your dishes in the creek.  Do not act a fool.  Over the years, especially as the popularity of this place has grown, guests here have acted fools; don’t be them.

There are trash receptacles at the campground itself, along with more in Supai.  Don’t be one of the rubes who comes to this beautiful place only to treat it as their personal dumping grounds.  Please contribute positively towards a future where everyone that comes here can enjoy its pristine beauty and granduer without having to stare a pools full of popped intertubes, discarded bras, cigarette butts, and beer cans.

Trail Distances:

Hualapai Hilltop to Campgrounds – 10 Miles

Hualapai Hilltop to Supai – 8 Miles

Supai to Campground – 2 Miles

Campground to Mooney Falls – 0.5 Miles

Mooney Falls To Colorado River – 8 Miles

By Mule

Mules and other pack animals such as horses have long been used to transport gear, supplies, and people up and down the canyon walls of Havasu.  In recent years, this practice has been adopted by several private outfitters that run trips to Havasu Falls.  Due to crowding, jostling, and overall irresponsibility and disregard, this pack animal situation has become untenable.  What exactly does that mean?  It means that there have been numerous cases of serious animal abuses, from dehydration and starvation, to squalid trail and living conditions, to outright physical abuse and death.

The Goat strongly advises against using any company that offers pack animal-supported tours.  The long list of serious offenders (which we won’t mention here out of professional respect), reflects a culture of lack of accountability.  There are ZERO companies that offer pack animal-supported tours that have a 100% clean sheet of responsibility.  You may contact us directly for more information on this malpractice.

By Helicopter

There has been a massive increase in the popularity of getting to Havasu Falls by skipping the hike, instead opting to ride a helicopter.  The Goat cannot stress how much he detests this practice, and bids adieu to anyone wishing to do it.  You may do what you please, but we cannot and will not instruct, offer information to, or otherwise involve ourselves in an industry that actively degrades and disrespects the sanctity of wilderness.  Also, get off your lazy butt and walk down if you want to see something beautiful.

Going Guided

****As of 2019, the Havasupai Tribe has placed a moratorium on all commercial guiding into Havasu Canyon.  Due to overwhelming popularity, overcrowding, and lack of regulation, the tribe thought it best to place a hold on all guided tours until a proper management plan can be outlined.  Contact us for information regarding self-guided tours, and other means of support for trips to Havasu Falls.

The Goat’s Final Word

Havasu Falls and the four azure waterfalls that accompany, are some of the most beautiful, unique, and stunning scenes the world has to offer.  The journey to reach it is challenging, but extraordinarily rewarding.  Please follow and respect the permit regulations and requirements, and once there please have reverence and respect for this truly special landscape.  The tribe has significantly altered the permit process, and placed restrictions on commercial guiding companies in order to combat the overrunning of their homeland.

Going to Havasu Falls and exploring the fantasy-like landscape is an absolute bucket list destination; a destination that any hiker who wishes to explore Earth’s most special landscapes would want to check off.  However, getting there takes advance planning, commitment, and respect.

For more information on the Permit Process, visit the Havasupai Tribal Website

Like our blog?  Check out our guided tours through geologic time to Grand Canyon, Utah Canyon Country, and Arizona Red Rock Country!

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