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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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How Long Is The Havasupai Falls Hike?

Is Havasupai Falls In The Grand Canyon?

Where is Havasupai Falls?

Traveler in the American Southwest often think Havasu Falls are in Grand Canyon National Park.  They are not.  But don’t worry, The Goat will get you there! Technically speaking, Havasu Falls is, in fact, part of Grand Canyon.  Grand Canyon is a massive network or smaller canyons that combine to drain water into the Colorado River.  Havasu Falls are located in Havasu Canyon, a tributary of greater Grand Canyon.  So, the answer is actually yes and no.  Yes the falls are in greater Grand Canyon, but no, they are not in the National Park.  Let’s break this down!

Who are the Havasupai People?

Havasupai translated into English means “People of the Blue-Green Waters”.  An apt moniker indeed.  It is in concert with the sparkling turquoise waters that dance and plunge over the several falls in and around Havasu Canyon.  Anthropological evidence suggests that the Havasu ‘Baaja people arrived in Grand Canyon roughly 800 years ago.  They forged many of the footpaths in the Grand Canyon that today have become popular hiking trails.

Indian Gardens, found along the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon, was an important natural spring for the tribe, yielding precious fresh drinking water and drawing animals for hunting.  As the Havasupai people grew in numbers, they constructed a village at the base of Havasu Canyon where they adopted agriculture and traded with other local tribes.

The Havasu people existed in this manner for hundreds of years until the arrival of Europeans in the 1800’s.  The land was claimed by the Spanish, then Mexican Governments, until it was given to the United States of America via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.  President Rutherford B. Hayes set about establishing reservations for the numerous Native American tribes that dotted the country, the Havasupai among them.  Their land was parceled as a 500-acre plot at the base of Havasu Creek on the South Rim of Grand Canyon.  This is a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of acres that they and their ancestors had roamed over the centuries.

Who were the first European explorers to Havasupai Falls?

Various Spanish explorers came through the area in the 1500’s during their search for the Seven Cities of Gold.  However, European exploration of Grand Canyon as a whole was very limited until the late 1800’s.

William Wallace Bass, an important figure in the history of Grand Canyon, settled in the area in 1880.  He befriended the tribe who showed him important food and water sources.  In return, he promoted tourism in the area by creating the Havasu Canyon Trail and leading groups of tourists into the canyon to marvel at its sheer beauty and revitalizing mineral-rich waters.

Despite his efforts, the tribe was stripped of their land shortly thereafter.  After appropriating the land for public use, the US Government leased various mining and homesteading claims, reducing the Havasupai to near ruin.

So who owns the Land?

Havasu Canyon and its surrounding area are the homeland of the Havasupai Native American Tribe.  This tribe and their ancestors have called this region home for generations, long before the first European settlers came into the area, and even longer before Grand Canyon became a National Park in 1919.

Prior to 1882, the Havasupai people claimed land roughly the size of Delaware, about 1.6 million acres.  President Chester A. Arthur appropriated the land as property of the United States Government in that year.  The Havasupai were relegated to a 518-acre parcel of land in Cataract (Havasu) Canyon.  Their numbers dwindled to under 200 through several misfortunes including famine and disease.

Landmark Decisions

After the establishment of a National Monument in 1906, the Havasupai were told that they must leave the Grand Canyon completely.  For decades the tribal leaders that remained fought vigorously to restore the tribe’s heritage lands.  In 1968 they won a landmark court decision, one that ruled that the land had been improperly taken from them by the US Government.

However, it was not until 1974 that the bill originating from the court case, S. 1296, was finally ratified into law.  This formally returned 185,000 acres to the Havasupai tribe, re-establishing their homeland and cultural heritage.  Today, the Havasupai Tribe has grown to over 800 members living within the returned lands.  They manage the land, farming, ranching, and promoting tourism to their famous blue-green waterfalls.

The Ultimate Outcome

The enlarging of the Havasupai Reservation to 185,000 acres included an additional 95,000 where the tribe is allowed to practice their ancestral rituals.  After the enlargement, tribal members decided it best to focus on tourism as the main economic engine.  They erected a visitor’s center, general store, cafe, and lodge.  The Village of Supai is today a bustling tourist destination, wherein tourists pour by the tens of thousands each year to enjoy the beautiful lands of the Havasupai.

Going Guided

The Havasupai tribe has radically changed their regulations.  Primarily, a moratorium has been placed on all commercial hiking permits.  Commercial guiding companies will not be allowed to apply for permits until this moratorium is lifted.  Also, all permit reservations must be made online at HavasupaiReservations.com.

For questions about this process and all inquiries regarding travel to Havasu Falls, please contact us any time!

 

The Goat’s Final Word

Havasu Falls is an extraordinarily beautiful and special place.  Thousands of people make the 10-mile trek to the group of turquoise waterfalls each year in awe.  However, many are still unsure regarding the status of Havasu Falls and its relation to Grand Canyon and the National Park.  To recap, Havasu Falls is not in Grand Canyon National Park.  The land is owned and managed by the Havasupai Tribe, and has been fully since 1975.

Havasu Canyon itself, however, is in Grand Canyon.  It is part of the intricate network of canyons that form Grand Canyon.  The waters of Havasu Creek outlet into the Colorado River, which is the main waterway though Grand Canyon.  The journey to this point in time has been an arduous and sometimes tragic one for the tribe, but the ultimate outcome has been very positive.

Havasu Falls and the four other impressive falls that dot the canyon (Mooney being the most famous) have become perhaps the most popular destination in the West.  This fact has resulted in some sense of financial stability and autonomy for the Havasupai People.  They inhabit an absolutely stunning landscape in which they are able to live freely to practice their customs and way of life, which is far more than can be said for past generations.

The Times are a-changin….

The popularity of the destination has been very positive for the tribe, but it has resulted in some unintended negative consequences.  Pack animals have born the brunt of many unfortunate fates, while helicopters proliferate and trash accumulates.  In 2019 the tribe has tried to gain more control over the tourism industry here by placing a moratorium on commercial hiking tours.

The changes to the guided hiking permits is a sticky issue.  The popularity of Havasu Falls has created some difficult issues for the tribe, and not every company operates responsibly.  In addition, guiding companies had begun to monopolize the already-limited number of permits, thereby making a trip to Havasupai nearly a strictly commercial enterprise.  The pack animal abuses combined with monopolization of permits has forced the tribe to make some some tough decisions.

At the same time, helicopters are still permitted in Havasu which continues to add people, pollution, and an overall degradation of the environment and so-called wilderness experience.  Perhaps the tribe feels that they can more easily regulate helicopter travel.  Recently singer Beyonce filmed a music video here, coming in of course by helicopter.  Permit holders were told to clear out to give space to the filming operation.  This caused an unnecessary controversy, and raises questions.

So What?

Go to Havasu Falls.  Forget about the controversies and the decision and just go.  It is gorgeous. It is awe-inspiring.  Simply, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Don’t worry about the nonsense. Toss away your cares and just go.  Get your permit, and see this place.  Hike unto the outstanding canyon.  Swim and dive in the turquoise waters.  Catch some shade under a towering cottonwood.  Hang a hammock and chill.  Get there by foot, or get there by helicopter (?!).  It does not really matter how you choose to go.  Just go.  That’s the final word.

Read our Blog The Call of The Goat!

For epic adventures through geologic time contact Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism.  We offer guided hiking tours to Grand Canyon, Utah Canyon Country, and Arizona Red Rocks Country.  

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How Do I Get to Havasu Falls?

How Do I Get to Havasu Falls?

How to get to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

The idyllic Havasu Falls are the most famous waterfalls in the American Southwest.  The blue-green waters that thunder from the cliffs draw thousands of people from around the world each year to marvel in a paradise.  Havasu Canyon and its many waterfalls is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and one of the most unique.  We’re often asked how to get to this fabulous fantasyland, so The Goat is here to show you the way.  Let’s go!

First, you must get a permit.  All hikers are required to have a permit for overnight stays.  The Havasupai Tribe manages all reservations and the permit process is handled online.  Go to HavasupaiReservations.com for more information.  Then, you must get to the trailhead to begin the hike.

How to get to Havasu Falls

All hikes to Havasu Falls begin and end at Hualapai Hilltop (the Havasupai trailhead). The trailhead is in a remote location not easy to find if you don’t have good directions. Copy, paste, and print these Havasupai trailhead directions, bring them with you, and follow them closely. Most solid, well-running 2WD cars can make it to the trailhead with little trouble.  There is no camping allowed at the trailhead, so plan to get an early start driving to the trailhead.

Havasupai Trailhead From Phoenix

Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Drive north on I-17 and exit onto AZ-69 N at Exit 262 toward Prescott
After 21 miles merge onto AZ-89 toward Chino Valley
Continue on AZ-89 to I-40 and go west on I-40
Take the I-40 Business Exit, Exit 123, toward AZ-66/Seligman/Peach Springs
After about 22 miles you’ll see the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn on your left (closest lodging to the trailhead)
Keep your eye out for Indian Road 18 heading to the right (north), and turn onto it.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

Havasupai Trailhead From Flagstaff

Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Drive west on I-40
Take the I-40 Business Exit, Exit 123, toward AZ-66/Seligman/Peach Springs
After about 22 miles you’ll see the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn on your left (closest lodging to the trailhead)
Keep your eye out for Indian Road 18 heading to the right (north), and turn onto it.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

Havasupai Trailhead From Las Vegas

Drive Time: 3.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Take US-93 South from Las Vegas and follow it for 102 miles
At Kingman, merge onto I-40 E/US-93 S toward Flagstaff/Phoenix and stay on for 4 miles.
Take the Andy Devine Avenue exit (Exit 53) toward AZ-66 E/Kingman Airport
Turn left onto US-93 Bus S (E Andy Devine Avenue) and continue to follow E Andy Devine Avenue
E Andy Devine Avenue becomes E Highway 66/AZ-66, and follow this for appx 50 miles
Watch for Indian Road 18 on your left. If you reach Grand Canyon Caverns Inn (on your right), you’ve driven past Indian Road 18. However, we recommend staying at the GCC Inn, which is the closest lodging to the trailhead.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

havasu falls

Hiking to Havasu Falls

The hike to Havasu Falls is 10 miles each way.  Hikers who obtain a permit will be doing a 4 day/3 night trip. This is the only trip duration available for backpackers to Havasu Falls.  Hikers will come in on day 1, and hike out on day 4.  The hike into Havasu Canyon offers classic Grand Canyon scenery, similar to what you may expect on the Bright Angel Trail in the National Park.

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.

Rock Falls havasu canyon

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

Beaver Falls havasu falls

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

Every hiker dreams of a trip to Havasu Falls.  Reveling in the majesty of this wonderland of crystalline waters is a life-changing experience that is not to be missed.  The challenge is getting here.  The permit process is extremely competitive, which means just getting the opportunity can be hard to come by.  Furthermore, once you get the permit, Havasu Falls is not necessarily an easy place to get to.  It requires good navigational skills and map-reading to get to the trailhead.  Then, a 10-mile hike awaits.  Trust us, it’s worth every bit of the effort.  See you on the trail!

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How Do I Get a Permit for Havasu Falls?

How Do I Get a Permit for Havasu Falls?

How to get to Havasu Falls:

Reservations, Permits, and Tips

Perhaps the most famous waterfalls in the American Southwest lie within the Havasupai Native American Reservation at the bottom of Grand Canyon in Arizona. The turquoise waters surrounded by towering canyons is well worth the 10-mile hike, as well as the potential harbinger of procuring the coveted camping permits. The Havasupai Tribe manages the land and there are multiple checkpoints once hikers arrive at Supai Village. Many think it’s part of the Grand Canyon, but it’s actually a side canyon called Havasu Canyon and is outside of the National Park.

HOW TO GET A HAVASUPAI RESERVATIONS / PERMITS

This is the hard part. The tribe start taking reservations at the beginning of February.  You must make your reservations online at HavasupaiReservations.com. Sounds simple enough, but permits can sell out for the year in just a few minutes! Pro Tip: You must get a 4 day/3 night reservation for this trip.  You can reserve for a bigger group and adjust your numbers before hiking in. There is no penalty for this as long as you let them know beforehand, but don’t wait until the last minute because you might not be able to get them on the phone.

Campground Phone #: (928) 448-2180, (928) 448-2121, (928) 448-2141, (928) 448-2237
Lodge Phone #: (928) 448-2111

You may call or ask us for more information about this process.

FEES

The cost for Havasu Falls permits are as follows: $100/person/night (weekdays), and $125/person/night on the weekends

OTHER COSTS IF YOU’RE NOT BACKPACKING / CAMPING

Havasupai Lodge: $145 for up to four people (plus 10% tax)
Helicopter Transport: $85 each way (first come, first serve)
Horses: $75-150 (plus 10% tax)

THE HIKE TO SUPAI VILLAGE + CAMPGROUNDS (10 Miles Total)

The trail into Supai begins at Hualapai Hilltop, where there is plenty of parking for regular vehicles (and very limited for RVs if it’s busy).
From Hualapai Hilltop, there is a quick 2 mile descent into the canyon. You will go down switchbacks, and hiking poles will come in handy.
The next 6 miles to Supai Village is relatively flat or very slow descent (which means getting out is mostly uphill).
After arriving in Supai, it is another 2 miles to the campground where you continue to descend into the canyon.

HAVASUPAI CAMPGROUNDS

The campgrounds serve up to 250 people. Reservations can only be made by phone at 928.448.2121, but the sites are first come first serve. It took us over an hour to find a site big enough for our 13 person group. There is also drinking water available and primitive toilets. Pro-tip: Bring your own toilet paper, because sometimes they run out. A hammock and water shoes for Havasupai are also essentials!

THE FIVE WATERFALLS OF HAVASU CREEK

navajo falls havasu canyon grand canyon

Little Navajo Falls / New Navajo Falls / Upper Navajo Falls: the first set of falls you will see on the way to the campground from Supai. This one is a little confusing. Due to recent floods in 2008, the 70 ft Navajo Falls was destroyed and multiple falls have been created. Some people refer to them as Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, but the only one notated by a sign there refers to them as Little Navajo Falls. Either way, they are beautiful and worth exploring.
Lower Navajo Falls / Rock Falls:

Lower Navajo Falls – First of the Waterfalls You will encounter in Havasu Canyon

Havasu Falls: 0.5 miles away from the campgrounds. It drops over 100 feet into a beautiful pool. You will pass these falls when you’re hiking in from Supai Village to the campgrounds.
Havasu Falls – It is the most famous waterfall located in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It’s 1.5 miles from Supai Village and is 90 -100 ft tall

havasu falls havasu canyon grand canyon

Mooney Falls: This is the largest of the Havasupai waterfalls, it’s only 0.5 miles after you pass the campgrounds but you have to descend through two tunnels, chains, and ladders. The lines can get long and it took us over an hour to get down. (Watch out for centipedes! :P)
Mooney Falls – The tallest waterfall in Havasu Canyon at 210 ft tall

mooney falls havasu canyon grand canyon

Beaver Falls: Beaver Falls is the furthest away and requires trekking through water, narrow trails, and over sketchy wooden bridges. It’s 3.5 miles each way (7 miles round trip) and a good place to cliff jump too.
Beaver Falls – The Last of the Waterfalls in Havasu Canyon. It is a 3.5 mile hike from the Havasupai Campgrounds

beaver falls havasu canyon grand canyon

OTHER TIPS

Havasupai is subject to flash floods, so check the weather forecast and always know where to find high ground (there will be signs).
Be sure to bring your permit info and paid receipts. There are multiple checkpoints during the hike and at the campsite.
When turning onto the road to Hualapai Hilltop, drive slowly and carefully, there is a lot of wildlife and cattle on the windy road.
It can get extremely hot in the summer! To avoid the sun, leave early (like 3am early).  You can hike during the night, so bring a headlamp!
There is a small restaurant in Supai and a food stand at the front of the campground.
You just need to pack enough water to get to the campground, there is a fresh water you can refill with there.
Frequent flooding causes waterfalls to disappear and reappear. What you see now may not exist in the future.

REMINDER: Arrive early and get a campsite as soon as you can! It’s all first come first serve and can fill up quickly.  For more information or to create your Custom Havasu Falls experience, get in touch with Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism!

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.

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