Bearfoot Theory

Havasu Falls Tips: 21 Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Visit

Headed to Havasu Falls? Here’s a list of Do’s & Don’ts with helpful tips and advice to ensure a successful Havasupai camping trip.

Havasu Falls Arizona

Havasu Falls (officially known as Havasupai) in Arizona is an absolutely magical backpacking destination with waterfalls and some of the bluest, dreamiest water you’ll ever see.

In order to maximize your fun as well as to ensure you are a mindful, respectful visitor, though, it’s important to prepare for your hike to Havasu Falls by understanding the land and its people.

Havasu Falls is on Havasupai tribal land. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green water,” for obvious reasons. It’s their choice to welcome visitors onto their land and doing so supports their community.

So out of respect for the land and the Havasupai tribe, there are just a few simple Havasu Falls tips that will ensure you, your friends, and future generations get to enjoy this majestic place.

This post may contain affiliate links.

1. Check out my full Havasu Falls camping guide

Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’ve already secured a permit to visit Havauspai, you’ll want to read through my detailed Havasu Falls Camping Guide to learn everything you need to know about visiting.

This guide includes up-to-date permit information, what to pack, camping tips, and more.

a pinnable image of a woman sitting at the top of mooney falls with the text "essential planning guide to havasu falls - camping, hiking and permit tips"

Save this post!

Enter your email & I'll send this post to your inbox! You'll also receive my weekly newsletter full of helpful advice for planning your adventures.

2. Don’t show up without a permit

Permits and reservations are required prior to visiting Havasu Falls .

Don’t think you’ll be able to sneak in – permits are highly regulated at Havasupai. There is a guard stationed on the road about 5 miles from the trailhead who checks permits. Additionally, each vehicle must have a copy of their reservation displayed in their window.

If you have a Havasupai permit, be sure to check in and pick up your wristbands before heading into the canyon. You must pick up your permit the day prior – or the day of – your start date.

Permits can be picked up at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, located at mile marker 115 on Route 66 (near Seligman).

Want to know the details of the permit process? Check out our detailed Havasu Falls Camping Guide .

3. Day hiking is not allowed

Havasu Falls is 10 miles from the trailhead. I’ve had many people ask if they can day hike if they are unable to secure an overnight permit. First, there are signs everywhere stating day hiking is prohibited .

Furthermore, it seems way too far to try to tackle the roundtrip hike and still have time to actually enjoy the falls.

Take a rain check, keep trying for a permit, and visit when you have enough time. Trust me, it will be worth the wait to do it right.

4. Don’t overpack

The 10 mile hike to Havasu Falls is a bit of a doozy, especially when it’s hot out. The lighter your pack, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the trek.

Important: While there are pack mules and horses available to carry your gear with advanced reservations, you should be aware that there have been a lot of reports of pack horses being malnourished and overworked. If you’d like to learn more, check out SAVE , a volunteer-based organization trying to end the abuse and improve the lives of these pack animals.

If you don’t want to carry your gear, a helicopter is $100 per person each way (as of April 2023) and includes one medium-sized bag up to 40lbs.

However, passengers are accommodated on a first come first served basis and locals have first dibs so you could be waiting for several hours before you can catch a ride.

Instead, we suggest you pack like you would on any other backpacking trip. I’ve shared my full Havsupai packing list here . Bring only what you need and can carry and leave the luxury items at home.

A person wearing a yellow backpacking pack stands near the top of Havasu Canyon before hiking down

5. Yield to the horses and mules

During your hike in and out of the canyon, you’ll likely encounter packs of horses/mules being led by local tribe members. These mules are carrying gear for campers who paid for the service.

Horses/mules have right of way on the trail so please step off the trail when you see them.

Be alert and if you hike with earbuds in, consider leaving one out so you can hear them approaching.

6. Camp only in designated areas

The camping area at Havasu Falls is about a mile long and the campsites are first-come-first-serve.

Do not camp in an undesignated space at Havasupai . Campsites are well marked and most have picnic tables.

There are campsites on both sides of the river. The sites on the opposite side are accessed by footbridges, which can be a bit tricky especially with a loaded pack.

Campsite with tent set up behind tree and tarp over picnic table with gear laid out on top of it

7. Respect the locals

It’s important to remember that the Havasupai tribe doesn’t have to let visitors into Havasupai to visit these falls.

Recognize that we are visitors in their home and it’s a privledge to be there, not a right. Be respectful of the rules and their land, and be friendly, just as they are to us.

8. Pack Out Your Trash

There are signs everywhere throughout Havasu Falls that ask you to pack out your trash.

No one comes to pick up trash (and all the trash left behind has to be helicoptered out by the tribe), so please don’t be lazy and leave your food or any other trash at the campsites or in the restrooms.

We were disgusted to see people leaving garbage bags of trash by the bathrooms and piled by the ranger station.

There are also people leaving camping gear, nearly empty fuel canisters, and discarded water shoes at the ranger station. This behavior is not okay — please be respectful and pack out ALL of your trash and camping supplies.

Read next: Need a refresher on Leave No Trace? Read our guide on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles .

Beaver Falls in Havasu Canyon

9. Don’t bring pool floaties

During my first two camping trips to Havasupai, I was horrified at the number of pool floaties left behind – there were at least 5 damaged float toys sitting at the base of Mooney Falls.

Due to the number of abandoned floaties, Havasupai has now banned the use of floats, noodles, and other pool toys .

Please be respectful of this rule and leave them at home.

Abandoned pool floats at Havasu Falls in Arizona. Pool floats are not allowed in Havasupai

10. Pack water shoes

If you plan on swimming at all or hiking down to Beaver Falls which requires several stream crossings, you’ll want a pair of shoes that can get wet. I love the Astral TR1 Loop Shoes for hiking through rivers and canyons.

For a full gear list, check out my Havasu Falls packing guide .

Two hikers cross a pool of water near Mooney Falls in Havasupai

11. Don’t jump off the cliffs

I recently saw a video of people jumping off the top of the falls. This is CLEARLY against the tribe’s rules, not to mention dangerous.

Due to its remote location, this is not a place you want to get hurt , so do everyone a favor and don’t go cliff jumping.

There are signs EVERYWHERE reminding people of this rule — please don’t break it.

12. Hang your food

The squirrels are incredibly smart at Havasu Falls and the marmots are also known to be sneaky.

You’ll want to bring some paracord and a bag like this dry bag to tie your food up high off the ground from a tree. Don’t try it too close to the tree trunk.

We saw squirrels jumping over a foot or two off of the ground onto people’s bags. They then ate right through the backpacks to get to the food inside.

Even better, if you have a bear canister , bring that as it’s the most fool-proof way to keep those buggers out of your food and you don’t have to worry about hanging your food.

A woman hangs a bag of food from a tree at Havasu Falls

13. Check the weather before heading out

I once visited Havasu Falls in May and it rained the entire second day. Luckily we checked the weather beforehand and came with appropriate gear, including a lightweight and waterproof tarp that we rigged up over our picnic table. Without it, it could have been a very miserable day.

Havasupai is prone to flash floods, so always be prepared and check the weather ahead of your trip.

Alternatively, you can check in with the ranger at the station (across from the first bathroom in the campgrounds) for the latest weather report.

A backpacking tent set up near a picnic table with a tarp set up over it in the Havasu Falls campground

14. Campfires are not allowed

Campfires are not allowed at Havasupai, although you’ll likely see old fire pits at most of the campsites.

Please obey the signage and rules and don’t build a fire.

15. Bring a camera, but leave the drone at home

Havasu Falls is a photographer’s paradise. It’s literally impossible to take a bad photo and it’s a great place to practice if you want to improve your camera skills .

There are also plenty of places to stash your camera so it doesn’t get wet, or you can store it in a small dry sack to be safe.

As far as drones go, they are NOT allowed on the Havasupai reservation . I packed my drone down there unknowingly and didn’t see the sign until we arrived at the campground, so it stayed in my pack the whole time.

Now that I think about this rule, it does make sense. There are many people down there enjoying the beauty of the place and drones are loud and disturb the peace. And if one person gets some sick drone footage, all of a sudden, everyone is going to be down there with one.

This is another rule that’s in place to protect the natural environment, the soundscape, and others’ experiences. So do as they say and leave the drone at home.

Fifty Foot Falls in Havasu Canyon

16. Bring a hammock

There are tons of trees and riverside swinging spots that are perfect for an afternoon hammock nap.

I even slept in my hammock on one of my Havasu camping trips!

Hammock set up between two trees at Havasupai in Arizona next to blue water pool

17. Be a good neighbor

The campground is busy and you’ll likely be within eye and ear sight of your neighbors. So don’t be inconsiderate and yell all night at your campsite, like our neighbors were.

Also, be respectful and leave the speaker at home – please don’t blast music that will disturb the peaceful nature of Havasupai.

Read next: New to camping? Read our tips on how to be a good campsite neighbor .

18. Don’t bring alcohol or drugs

Alcohol and drugs are prohibited for anyone, locals and visitors, on the Havasupai reservation.

During one of my trips, our neighbors not only disobeyed this rule but were yelling “drink, drink, drink!” which was subsequently heard by every single camper in the canyon.

19. Hike to Beaver Falls

Once you get down to Mooney Falls, the trail is mostly flat and gets prettier the further down you go so I highly recommend you hike all the way to Beaver Falls.

There are gorgeous secluded swimming holes around every corner and it’s worth the effort it takes to get there.

Get an early start though, because this is a longer day hike and you’ll want time to enjoy all the falls!

Did you know there’s more than 1 waterfall in Havasupai? Learn all about the 5 waterfalls of Havasu Canyon here .

Beaver Falls in Havasu Canyon

20. Just go, even if you’re a beginner backpacker!

Havasu Falls is a great introductory trip to backpacking. There are clean bathrooms, safe drinking water, and beautiful photo ops everywhere.

If you run out of food you can always head up to the village and purchase stuff at the grocery store.

Plus, if you’re nervous about the hike out, there’s a first-come, first-serve paid helicopter available. Basically, having the Supai village right there provides a small safety net.

If you’re new to backpacking, check out our Backpacking 101 Guide .

21. Don’t hike out in the heat of the day

The climb out if Havasupai is entirely west-facing with very little shade. Pack adequate sun protection and if you’re visiting during warm months, either leave early in the morning or stay and enjoy the falls and hike out in the early evening.

Most people were leaving the campground to start the hike out at 5am in April.

If you take off in the afternoon, leave with your hiking headlamps ready.

Check out our other Havasu Falls blog posts:

  • Havasu Falls Camping & Permit Guide
  • Complete Havasu Falls Packing List
  • The Five Amazing Waterfalls of Havasu Canyon
  • Photos To Inspire Your Havasu Trip

Save this post to Pinterest

Pinnable image of Havasu Falls cascading into turquoise-colored pool of water. Text reads "Do's & don'ts of Visiting Havasu Falls"

What Havasu Falls tips did we miss? What questions do you still have about planning your trip? Leave a comment below!

Portrait of woman at sunset on the Trans-Catalina Trail

With two decades of hiking and seven years of van life under her belt, Kristen has dedicated her life to helping people experience the positive effects of nature. As a pioneer in the outdoor blogging space, she founded Bearfoot Theory in 2014 and has since authored more than 350 blog posts about outdoor travel, hiking, camping, and van life. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Backpacker, and when she’s not on the road, she lives in Park City, Utah with her partner Ryan, their son, and two adventure pups.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

43 Comments

I would suggest the Outsak bags instead of a bear can for food storage. They are lighter than the bear cans and more packable. Bear cans are, well, for bear problems. The Outsaks work great when you are just dealing with rodents, ring-tailed cats and deer in places like Grand Canyon and Havasupai Canyon. Side note: Raccoons will figure out how to open Outsaks! Crafty little critters. Back to the bear can if these are in your camping area.

Havasu Falls! Perfect for our wedding anniversary coming up this June! The tips for what to do and what NOT to do are withut a doubt the best instructions ever! I am so impressed with your knowledge of this area and appreciative of you sharing the do’s and don’t’s. Your writings make me want to go more than ever!

Hi! I’m just curious how you got permits for the falls and what the cost was?

Check out this post for permit info: https://bearfoottheory.com/havasu-falls-camping-guide/

This is on my list for next year! Thank you for writing this guide since I had no clue what to expect or where to even start!

Don’t take a September slot if you have other options. Monsoon season. Do go in October, though. Perfect weather. Even if you can’t get a permit on your first attempt, do keep trying often. Slots do open up and timing is everything.

Unfortunately when we called this year, they only allowed for anyone to reserve one night for the campground. How would you stay for a week? Do they let you extend your stay once you are there?

They allow more than one night. The dates you requested were most likely full which is probably why they told you that.

Good to know. I hadn’t even given a desired date when I called in February. The person answered the phone with, “We are only taking single night campground reservations.” I had assumed that was what they decided to do for the whole season. We’ll have to try calling back. Perhaps there will be some cancellations.

Kristen, I don’t know why I waited so long to reach out to you for your help. Havasu Falls is one of the most amazing places on this planet. I hope your do’s and don’ts give people confidence to go, even if they are not experienced hikers or campers. Before I went last fall, I had read on many blogs about the sad state of garbage along the trail. It is indeed heartbreaking. And I was prepared for it, so I had packed an extra 13gal kitchen bag to pick up what I could on the way back out. That’s certainly not a lot, but as I said, I had been warned. Most of what I’d picked up were empty soda bottles and junk food wrappers…it’s obvious how that trash landed. In any event, if every hiker picked up just a handful of trash – it’s not particularly gross – I’m certain a small dent could be made to lessen this unfortunate state. With your reach of loyal and enthusiastic followers, would you feel comfortable addressing this? And asking those headed there if they’d pack out one or two things in addition to their own waste? I only thought of this now after seeing the flowe power tag. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your consideration, and THANKS for your Bearfoot Theory. I discovered you while googling around before JMT hike several years ago. You are the best. I work from time to time in Deer Valley and bet I’ll run into you one of these days.

I talk about trash a lot on here, and will continue to make a point of it. Thanks for making a big effort to help clean up the trail to Havasu Falls.

what kind of food do you pack? I want to go but to stay in a lodge. I called today and they are already booked for next year :(.

So sorry to hear that Liz. You can pack dehydrated food or easy backpacking meals. Here are some ideas: https://bearfoottheory.com/backpacking-food-ideas/

I am always collecting trash when i hike in general. I’m heading out in a week. I’ll be sure to bring extra bags. Thanks for the heads up!

I’m so sad to hear this. I don’t know why I’m surprised. 🙁 I will bring three trash bags, one for each family member, to pack out trash from the trail. Thank you for the suggestion.

Wondering if you had any issues with snakes, scorpions or other wildlife that I should be aware of. I am terrified of snakes, but I really want to do this hike… but also want to make sure I will be able to do it, once I commit. Thanks!

This is such a wonderful experience to read thru. Thank you for being super duper putting all this info together.

Can I bring dog with me to Havasu Falls ??

Hi Andy, they are not allowed.

Did you require any other permits other than the camping permit, such as day hike permits for the Grand Canyon?

Hi Jessica, your reservations includes all necessary permit, fees, & taxes

Where do I find the helicopter ride? Is there a website

Hi Melaney, the helicopter company to contact is AirWest Helicopters in Glendale, AZ.

They do not take reservations for the helicopter ride. You have to get in line to put your name on the list. We packed up camp early for the hike up the hills and arrived in Supai just after 5am. We were the second group in line. They start flying around 10am, tribal members and supplies go first. I was on the first tourist helicopter and flew out after noon. The pilot was AMAZING and the view wasworth the wait! They do take cards but prefer cash. They require name/address/phone to be written on every card receipt, which holds up the line of 100+ people (we were there this weekend, which I’m told is still off-season and less than busy season).

Thank you for all the awesome suggestions! We are headed there at the end of March and counting the days!

Hey! I was just wondering if there is a map posted anywhere of how to get to the waterfalls, check in centers or campgrounds?

Hi! Trying to plan a hike at some time next year. It is my first one and I am from Louisiana and have no idea where to start. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Hollie

Hi Hollie, thanks for reaching out–you’ll want to check out our Havasu Camping Guide–it will help you plan your trip step-by-step: https://bearfoottheory.com/havasu-falls-camping-guide/

Is there camp sites at Beaver falls or do we need to hike back to Mooney?

This was very helpful to read. We are headed to Havasupai in a few days and I feel much more knowledgable and prepared now. Thank you for the awesome photos and content!

Hi! What months would you recommend going? Is it overbearingly hot in the thick of the summer? Thanks!

Hi Alexis, you’re right! The summer can be really hot. We recommend Spring/late Fall. You can check out this post for more details: https://bearfoottheory.com/havasu-falls-camping-guide/

Hi! My group is all set to go 4/15-4/18…it looks like there may be rain showers. What tarp(s) do you recommend for the picnic table? Thanks!

The idea of waiting to hike out later in the day, early evening is very tempting. How does that work with their rules of NO night hiking?

Thanks so much for all of your awesome tips! You helped us have a successful, rad trip as two families with 8 tweens and teens in March 2018 and I am just now thank you ! It was EPIC! Love your inspiring, adventurous blog.

I’m glad you mentioned the abuse of the pack animals. I went years ago and will never go back because of the condition I saw them in. It was awful and not much has changed. The tribes dirty secret is slowly being exposed. More people need to be educated on what really happens here and it’s our job to help spread the word.

Hello, We have a tentsile hammock tent, is there anywhere to use that or should we bring our tent that goes on the ground?

Hi Dani! Tentsile tents are pretty cool. For the Havasu Falls backpacking trip, I’d bring your freestanding tent though because you can’t guarantee you’ll get a campsite that has enough trees for the tentsile. Check out our complete Havasu Falls packing list here: https://bearfoottheory.com/backpacking-gear-havasu-falls-packing-list/ Have fun!

This is a wonderful guide and has really inspired and prepared me for my senior trip next year! Thank you for your guide!

You’re welcome, thanks for reading!

Thank you for this wonderful guide! It is a great resource and inspired my husband and I to go to Havasupai last Fall. It is indeed the trip of a lifetime! I wanted to mention to others a little bit more about the alcohol restrictions in hopes of preventing others from experiencing the same unexpected trouble we did upon entering the Havasupai land border . We were aware that alcohol was restricted for our backpacking trip and we had all intentions of honoring this. We were under the impression that alcohol would be ok to leave hidden and secured in our vehicle. However, when we showed up for backpacking down into the Canyon, we were on a trip cross-country and had been living out of our camper that was well stocked with alcohol. At least a month’s worth and also quite a few local craft beers we purchased as gifts for friends back home. Upon entering the boundary, we were shocked to find out that all alcohol would have to be poured out onto the ground. We could go back into the closest town and drop our camper but it was at least 2 hours one way and we did not have the time since we planned to start hiking at 5am due to the heat. Sadly we poured hundreds of dollars away. Still it was worth it since Havasu is so amazing! Just wanted others to know that ALL alcohol is forbidden on Havasupai Lands.

Hi Kate, I’m glad we could be a resource for you planning your Havasupai trip. I’m sorry that happened to you on your trip, and thanks for sharing that info with us so future hikers can be aware too!

Sorry my above comment was so long. I really just wanted to communicate this so that it could be made clearer in the Bearfoot Theory guide. Thanks!

Havasu Falls blue water

A Guide to Visiting Havasu Falls the 'Right Way'

Topping the bucket list of bucket lists, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon is one of the most sought after destinations in the world. But getting there can be tricky. Here's everything you need to know.

The magic of Havasu Falls may be hard to define—is it the turquoise pools or its remote location?—but it's undeniable that people come from all over to witness their beauty. Getting there, though, is not as easy as booking a ticket To visit Havasu Falls "the right way" requires planning and plenty of physical preparation. Here's our guide to make your trip to the falls a memorable one.

But first, the basics

The official season runs from February - November. The earlier months mean colder waters but possibly fewer crowds. During the summer, from June to August, the trail is subject to close due to flooding and extreme heat (above 115°F / 46°C).

What you'll need

• A permit • A prior reservation to either the campground or the Lodge • Good hiking shoes and a pair of water shoes or rubber sandals • See "What to bring" below for more specific items

Obtaining a permit and making reservations for Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls sits on the Havasupai Indian Reservation—which is not part of Grand Canyon National Park—so you'll need to buy a permit from the Havasupai Tribe to access the area. That is if you're among the lucky few able to score a reservation when the season's dates go live on February 1 at 8 a.m. (MST). Tip: If you're planning on going with a group, have one member purchase all of your permits (up to four per account). This will help ensure you all get the same dates.

Visiting Havasu Falls is not a day-trip

All visits require at least a one-night reservation, depending on whether you choose to stay at the campground or Havasupai Lodge, aka "the Lodge" in Supai Village. Your price will include your stay, your permit, and any additional taxes and fees.

A man and woman stand at the edge of a cliff overlooking a waterfall. Tents and trees can be seen in the background

Where to stay

The campground

The campground is an area spanning a mile on both sides of Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and nearby Mooney Falls. There are no assigned sites; meaning, once you arrive, you're welcome to set up camp wherever you like within the designated area. To make a campground reservation, visit HavasupaiReservations.com before February and create an account. (You cannot obtain permits or make reservations for the campground via phone.) You'll thank us later when the site goes live and you're not messing with logins, especially since reservations can sell out within minutes. Having an account lets you check the cancellation/transfer page for dates that reopen later in the year. If you plan on camping, keep in mind all campground reservations are for three nights and four days—no more, no less.

Havasupai Lodge

Not a camper? You can instead make a reservation at the Lodge, located two miles from the falls, starting June 1. (Note: These are no-frills accommodations.) Unlike making a reservation for the campground, which is online-only, the Lodge only accepts reservations by phone. Call (928) 448-2111 to book a room for dates between February 1 - November 30. If you call and no one answers, try again (and again) until you reach someone, and don't be afraid to let it ring (and ring). All payments are due at the time of booking, and only one credit card is allowed per group. Payments are non-refundable and permit reservations are non-transferable.

What to bring

Congratulations! You got a reservation, permit and booked your travel to Havasu Falls. Havasu Falls is remote, so expect a hike with some shade. Bring sunscreen, a hat, a first-aid kit, snacks, and plenty of water. There is no water available on the trail , and it's recommended each person bring at least a gallon for themselves. Trekking poles are optional, although many hikers find these helpful for the steep switchbacks. For your stay at the bottom of the canyon, bring a bathing suit, water shoes, towel and camera. Pack a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow and portable backpacking stove if you are camping. Bring food even if you are staying at the Lodge.

A group of people hold onto a chain as they hike down a cliffside toward a waterfall and pool within a canyon

The hike itself

The trek to Havasu Falls is—to state it simply—difficult. Depending on your fitness level, the hike can be extremely strenuous, beginning (and ending) with switchbacks that change in elevation by 1,800 feet in the first two miles. The difficulty is compounded by heat in the summer. You'll start from the Hualapai Hilltop, marching down the Havasu Falls Trail into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The next six miles to Supai is relatively flat. From there, it is an additional two miles to the campground. On the way to the campground, you'll pass three waterfalls: Fifty Foot, Lower Navajo and Havasu Falls. Plan to spend at least four hours hiking down to the campground, drink plenty of water, and rest in the shade when you can.

What to expect when you arrive

***Feb. 2023 UPDATE*** The check-in process has been substantially updated for guests with permitted reservations for any time in February 2023. Check-ins for all permit reservations will take place at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, located at Mile Marker 115, Route 66 near Seligman, Arizona, 86434. The person whose name is on the reservation (the trip leader) must be present and prepared to check-in for all group members. Check-ins can be as early as the day before your arrival date through noon on the first day of your reservation. Failure to check in during this timeframe will result in your reservation being canceled. Check-in is located on the right-hand side of the lobby through the main doors. There will be signs.

Current check-in times:

  • January 31, 2023: Noon – 5 p.m.
  • February 1-28, 2023: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The trip leader should be prepared to provide a photo ID to receive all permits, wristbands, bag tags, and an entrance form, which will need to be completed and shown to the Havasupai Reservation boundary checkpoint staff. All members of the group will be asked to show all required paperwork at the Havasupai Reservation boundary checkpoint, approximately 5 miles from Hilltop (the trailhead).

The Havasupai Lodge is located in Supai Village, so if you're staying here, drop off your bags in your room and relax—you made it! To continue on to Havasu Falls and the campground, you have another two miles of hiking to go.

What to do during your stay

In addition to soaking up the wonder that is Havasu Falls, you should make time to explore the area's other waterfalls. You'll see three of them on your hike from Supai Village to the campground. Two more waterfalls sit just north of the campground on Havasu Falls Trail. Once settled in at camp, most people day-hike to the other falls. Just a half-mile from the campground, the Havasu Falls Trail requires scrambling down mist-covered canyon walls while holding onto a chain to get to the pools of Mooney Falls and continue to Beaver Falls. Adventurous hikers can go all the way to the Colorado River.

Important notes

COVID-19 Protocols: Vaccination status or negative test results are not required at this time. However, the Tribe requires all visitors wear a mask while in Supai Village and in all public areas including the store and the café. Please bring your own mask. Failure to comply may result in immediate removal from the Reservation at your expense.

All luggage and vehicles are subject to search for prohibited items when entering the Havasupai Reservation. These items include alcohol, drugs, drones and weapons. Violators are subject to fines and even imprisonment. There's no Wi-Fi or cell phone service at the campground and only limited service in Supai Village. There is no emergency assistance in the canyon. If you are injured, it could take hours to get treatment in or transportation out of the canyon, and you'll be on the hook for the cost of any rescue efforts. Leave no trace: Havasu Falls and the Havasupai Reservation are special places, wilderness areas whose breathtaking beauty and natural habitats for local wildlife are worth preserving. Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles as much as you possibly can so future visitors may continue to enjoy.

About the Author

Woman smiling

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Wine Enthusiast, and AAA publications. She is the author of two guidebooks and a contributor to Fodors Arizona & The Grand Canyon.

  • Link to author's Instagram
  • Link to site translated for China
  • Link to site translated for Japan
  • Link to site translated for France
  • Link to site translated for Germany
  • Link to site translated for Mexico
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official Facebook page Facebook
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official Instagram Instagram
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official Twitter Twitter
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official Pinterest Pinterest
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official YouTube channel YouTube
  • Link to Arizona Office of Tourism's official TikTok TikTok

homepage default image

Most Searched Stories

Travel Guide

Request Your Copy

Official State Travel Guide

Events

Top Annual Events

Appreciate AZ

Sustainability

Appreciate AZ

Plan Your Trip

Travel Inspiration

Plan Your Trip

Cities & regions.

From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.

Finding the Universe

Travel tales, photography and a dash of humor

Havasu falls hike guide

Guide to the Havasu Falls Hike + Map and Tips!

Last updated: April 7, 2024 . Written by Laurence Norah - 16 Comments

For a long while I’d seen beautiful photos of a series of waterfalls in Arizona within the Grand Canyon. I definitely knew that I wanted to get out here, see them for myself, and take a whole bunch of photos.

Which is exactly what I did, after figuring out what and where they were, and how to get to them.

The waterfalls are the Havasu Falls, found within the Havasupai reservation in Arizona. It’s a 10-mile hike each way to Havasu Falls which requires you to pack in and pack out all your gear, and this being a harsh desert environment, you’re going to want to plan properly.

It’s also a popular place to visit, and planning ahead is essential to ensure you are able to get a permit and are able to visit.

In this post, I’m going to share everything I learnt from my own Havasu Falls hike experience. I’m going to answer all the questions you might have, share tips for your trip, tell you how to get great photos at the falls themselves, and lots more! And if I don’t answer your particular question, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to help.

Havasu Falls at night milky way

This post is regularly updated with the latest information, and currently includes information for booking Havasu Falls for 2024.

However, things can change quickly, so if you spot anything out of date please let me know in the comments.

Let’s get started with my guide to visiting Havasu Falls, Arizona, by answering some of questions you might have.

Common Questions for Hiking to Havasu Falls

What are the havasu falls.

Havasu Falls are one of the waterfalls on the Havasupai reservation, found within the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

They are one of a series of falls found on Havasu Creek, a stream that flows into the Colorado River. The falls and the creek are famous for their incredible blue colour and idyllic, remote setting.

Havasu Falls and the other waterfalls on the creek can be visited as part of a trip onto the Havasupai reservation, home of the Havasupai tribe.

The Havasupai tribe, also known as the Havasu Baaja, or the “People of the Blue Green Waters”, have lived in this area for centuries, using the waters of Havasu Creek to irrigate their fields in this otherwise harsh desert landscape.

Supai Village, 8 miles from the trailhead and deep within the canyon, is home to many of the Havasupai people.

Havasu Falls, as well as the other falls near to Havasu Falls, have become a popular destination for hikers, photographers, and lovers of the wilderness, as well as generally for people who want to see these incredible falls themselves.

Havasu Falls

Why are the Havasu Falls so Blue?

When you see photos of Havasu Falls and the other falls on Havasu Creek, you will likely be astounded by the unreal blue colour of the water.

You will also probably think, as I did, that this is a result of some generous photo editing, rather than anything that can exist in real life.

Well, as I learnt, the falls and water really are that incredible iridescent shade of blue. This colour comes from the high levels of calcium carbonate in the water. This is further accented by the red canyon walls that rise up around the water, making the blue-green colour even more striking.

It really has to be seen to be believed!

How do you get to Havasu Falls?

Havasu Falls are found on the Havasupai reservation. They are primarily reached via a 10 mile (each way) hike from the Havasupai trailhead to the Havasu Falls.

Note that you can only visit Havasu Falls with a permit, and if you have accommodation booked.

Permits must be collected prior to your visit. As of 2024, permit collection is at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn .

See the sections on permits and accommodation further on in the post.

Where is the Havasu Falls Trailhead?

The Havasu Falls trailhead is at Hualapai Hilltop, which is found at the end of BIA Road 18. You can see it here on Google Maps. The closest town is Peach Springs Arizona, where there is gas available.

The closest larger towns for supplies are Kingman, AZ and Williams, AZ. These towns are around 2.5 hours drive away.

At the trailhead there is a paved parking area, and a toilet. If the parking area is full (very likely), you can park along the road, although do be mindful of signage, as some parking is for vendors only.

There is no gas, water or other services available at the trailhead, so make sure you have plenty of gas available for the round trip. The closest gas station is at Peach Springs.

Havasupai Trailhead Parking

Where is the Nearest Airport to Havasu Falls Trailhead

The nearest major airports to Havasu Falls are Las Vegas, Nevada (~4 hours drive) or Phoenix, Arizona (~5 hours drive). These airports both offer good national and international connections.

Where Can I Stay near the Havasu Falls Trailhead?

The closest accommodation to Havasu Falls Trailhead is in Peach Springs, AZ, which is around a 90-minute drive from the trailhead.

This is actually on the original Route 66, so if you wanted to, you could see some of the Route 66 attractions as part of this trip. See our guides to spending a week on Route 66 and planning a Route 66 road trip for more information.

There are two accommodation options in the Peach Springs area, which are as follows.

  • Grand Canyon Caverns Inn . Offers motel style accommodation. They are used to Havasupai hikers, and when I stayed they provided me with a little info pack for my trip out which included driving directions and a map for reaching the trailhead. This is also one of our recommended classic Route 66 motel options .
  • Hualapai Lodge – Found in Peach Springs itself, this is a 2* hotel with an on-site restaurant and seasonal hot-tub. Note that some reviewers have noted that the proximity to the train line means if you are a light sleeper, you will likely want to bring ear plugs.

There are other options in Seligman and Kingman, however these are a quite a drive from the trailhead.

If you want to get an early start, which I would very much recommend, I’d advise staying closer to the trailhead if possible. The two options above are where I would recommend you stay.

For 2024, the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn is also where you have to check-in for the hike and get your wristbands (more on this further on in the guide), so would likely make the most sense as you can check-in the day before your permit starts.

Do I need a Permit to Hike to Havasu Falls?

Yes, everyone visiting Havasu Falls needs a permit. The permit is included as part of the fee for the campground and lodge.

The Havasupai tribe are quite careful about managing access to the reservation, and there are a number of controls in place to ensure everyone has the correct permission.

IMPORTANT – do not attempt to visit the trailhead or start the hike without your permit as you will be turned away.

As of 2024, you must pick up your permit before starting the hike. The permit office is located at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn , which is found at Mile Marker 115 on Route 66 near Seligman.

This is where I stayed on the night prior to doing the hike and is a recommended nearby lodging option.

The trip leader is responsible for performing the check-in process, which can be done any time from one day before your arrival date through to the end of your permit.

To check-in, the trip leader will need to provide photo ID and a screenshot or print out of their reservation and account information page. They will receive wristbands, baggage tags and an entrance form which must be completed by every group member prior to arriving at the Hilltop area.

The wristbands are plasticized, and more than sturdy enough to stand up to a few days of swimming and hiking in my experience.

Havasu wristband

If you are travelling as a group, the group leader can check everyone in, however everyone in the group should have photo ID and a copy of their account information page as well as this will be reviewed at the Hilltop area and/or the Havasupai Reservation boundary checkpoint when you are driving to the Hilltop area.

Note that in prior years, permits were issued at Supai Village after the first 8km of the hike, and many websites will still have this information. You can see the update from the tribe here on the new process.

Instructions for permit collection will be provided when you buy your tickets, and on the official website, so be sure to check the most up to date information, as things can change.

Around four miles before you arrive at the trailhead you will pass through a vehicle checkpoint (the Havasupai Reservation boundary checkpoint) where your reservation and Photo ID will be checked.

Your car and belongings will be inspected for prohibited items, which include alcohol, illegal drugs, and drones. Make sure you don’t have any of these items in your car or with you along the trail, the search is very comprehensive and you will likely be refused entry if these items are discovered.

It may also be checked again when you arrive at the Hilltop parking area, although this didn’t happen to me, possibly because I arrived very early.

On the hike in, I was also stopped by a ranger on horseback, who asked everyone he was passing for their full name to check their reservation.

Everyone I encountered as part of the security and check in process was very professional and courteous. The only issue I had was on the hike in, when I took a photo of the pack mules which I had thought to include in this post.

I was quickly told by the guide accompanying the pack mules that photography of the mules was not permitted, and I deleted my photos. He was firm but polite and of course I was happy to comply.

For more on photography restrictions at Havasupai, see the section on photography.

Can you visit Havasu Falls as a Day Trip?

No, you are not permitted to visit Havasu Falls on a day trip. The only way to visit Havasu Falls is with an overnight reservation at either the campground or the Lodge in Supai Village.

See the section on accommodation in this guide for more information.

Note that you used to be able to visit Havasu Falls on a day trip, but this is no longer possible.

How Long is the Havasupai Trail?

The Havasupai trail is approximately 10 miles in length from the Hualapai trailhead where you park your car, to Havasu Falls.

From the trailhead to Supai village is 8 miles, and then it’s a further two miles to Havasu Falls.

Just below Havasu Falls, the trail enters the campground. From here there’s another mile of trail through the campground area.

At the end of the campground, the trail descends to Mooney Falls, after which you can follow further trails to Beaver Falls and beyond. See more on what there is do at Havasu Falls further on in the post.

Here are some numbers of trail lengths:

  • Trailhead to Supai Village: 8 miles
  • Supai Village to Havasu Falls: 2 miles (10 miles total from Trailhead)
  • Havasu Falls to Mooney Falls: 1 mile (11 miles total from Trailhead)
  • Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls: 2 miles (13 miles total from Trailhead)
  • Beaver Falls to Colorado River Confluence: 4 miles (17 miles total from Trailhead)

How Long Does It Take to Hike to Havasupai?

It took me around four hours to hike from the trailhead to Havasu Falls, and it took me around five hours to hike out from the falls to the trailhead.

Of course, the amount of time it takes you will vary depending on your level of fitness, how much gear you choose to carry, and the weather conditions.

I’d say that I am of average fitness, but I am not used to hiking with full camping equipment. I was pretty happy with my time, and based on other trip reports, I’d say it’s a pretty average time for the trip.

If you are particularly fit, expect to take less time. If you are not used to this sort of activity, it will likely take you longer.

How Hard is the Havasupai Trail Hike?

How hard you find the hike will of course vary depending on how used to hiking with camping gear you are.

The hike is not technically difficult, and the trail is easy to follow. However, if you are not relatively fit, or used to hiking with a fair amount of gear on your back, you might find it a bit of a challenge. This is especially the case on the hike out which involves plenty of elevation gain.

In summer, you will also be dealing with extreme temperatures, which can go well over 100F as the day progresses. If you hike in summer, you will want to hike as early in the morning as possible so as to avoid the heat.

When I did the hike, the trail opened at 4am, and I would advise starting the hike as close to 4am as possible in the summer months so as to complete the majority of it in the shade and cooler temperatures.

Here’s an overview of the hike each way to give you an idea of what to expect.

Hiking from the Trailhead to Havasu Falls Campground

The hike into Havasu Falls is pretty much all downhill. Overall, you descend from 5,200 ft at the trailhead to 2,800 ft at the campground, a total elevation change of around 2,400 ft.

For reference, that’s approximately twice the height of the Empire State building, or a vertical half mile.

The first mile or so of the trail from the trailhead is the steepest part of the trail, with a number of switchbacks down the side of the canyon wall and to the riverbed.

If you are not used to carrying your gear on your back, you will want to take it easy here as your body adjusts to the extra weight.

After the first mile or so, the rest of the hike will feel fairly level. It follows a dry river bed down to Supai village. The village has some food options, public toilets, and a couple of stores for supplies. There are large signs to point you in the right direction.

After Supai Village, the trail drops down a bit more until you reach Havasu Falls and the camping area. Here are some photos of the hike to give you some idea of what it is like.

Havasupai Trail Start

Return Hike from Havasu Falls Campground to the Trailhead

In my experience, the hike out is definitely more challenging than the hike in. It starts with the ascent out of the campground and up to Supai Village, an elevation change of 400 feet, after which you retrace your steps along the dry river bed.

It’s around this time that you realize that what felt like a flat walk on the way in is actually a gently sloping walk all the way out. It’s not super-hard, but it is consistently uphill. The surface you are walking on is largely loose sand and small rocks, which doesn’t make progress easier. Expect your feet to be very dusty by the end.

The hardest part of the hike by far is the final mile or so as you climb up out of the canyon and to the trailhead. The switchback trail gains a lot of elevation, and you will want to take plenty of breaks.

I would also advise trying to get to this point before the sun is shining into the canyon. When I did the hike out of Havasupai in early July, I made it to the start of the switchback here just before 8am, which was just in time to beat the sun, something I was very thankful for. That meant leaving the campground just before 4am.

havasu falls trip report

Is Water Available on the Havasu Falls Trail?

There is no water available along the trail, or at the parking area or trailhead. The only water is available in the campground, or at the lodge in Supai Village. There are also bottled drinks for sale at the lodge in the village.

It is absolutely vital that you carry plenty of water for the hike, both in and out. For the hike in you will need to fill up your water bottles before you set off to the trailhead. For the hike out, you can fill your bottles at the spring in the campground if you are camping, or at the lodge if you are staying at the lodge.

I’d recommend 3 – 4 litres of water per person for the hike each way, and ideally an electrolyte based drink or some soluble electrolyte tablets like this .

Dehydration is a really serious condition, and you absolutely need to take care of yourself and your hiking companions. Check out the signs of dehydration so you know what to look for.

Are there Toilets on the Havasu Falls Trail?

There are no toilets along the trail. The only toilets are at the trailhead, at Supai Village and at the campground.

Ideally you will not need to use the toilet during your hike, but obviously the situation might arise. The tribe requests that if you must go, to please be courteous to other visitors and pack out everything that is non-liquid, including toilet paper.

The easiest option for doing this is to use a “ wag bag ”. However, Ziploc Freezer Bags will work. Just flip the bag inside out and use it like a glove to pick up all solids and then flip back and seal up and place in another sealed up outer Ziploc Freezer Bag).

See more on the principles of leaving no trace here .

Is the Havasu Falls Trail Easy to Follow?

The Havasu Falls trail is easy to follow. For the most part it is a wide and sandy trail that is well trodden. The descent down the hill from the trailhead is an obvious switchback trail, and then the trail follows a river bed.

At any point on the trail where there is the possibility of confusion, there are very obvious signs to follow. You will also likely be walking with other people, and there will be plenty of obvious footprints to follow as well.

Do I have to Hike to visit Havasu Falls?

Whilst the majority of visitors to Havasu Falls choose to hike, it is not the only option. On some days you also have the option of taking a helicopter, which flies from the trailhead to Supai Village and back. This is operated by Air West helicopters .

Note that the helicopter can be cancelled without notice for a variety of reasons.

As such, helicopter flights cannot be relied on, and you should definitely be prepared to hike in and out with all your gear.

Even if you do take the helicopter, be aware that it lands at Supai Village, which is two miles from the campground and Havasu Falls, so there will still be some hiking required to see the falls and get to the campground if you are camping.

You also need a permit with an overnight reservation to use the helicopter.

Using the Helicopter at Havasu Falls

The helicopter service to and from the Havasupai Trailhead to the Supai Village is operated by Air West helicopters .

From March 15th through to October 15th, the helicopter operates on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays. During the rest of the year the helicopter only operates on Fridays and Sundays.

The helicopter service operates on all holidays except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

On the days that it runs, the helicopter service from the Havasupai trailhead to Supai Village and back usually operates from 10am in the morning, although this time can vary.

The helicopter costs $100 per person each way (as of January 2024), and you can take one carry-on sized bag with you. There is a $10 surcharge if you pay by card instead of cash.

The helicopter operates on a first come first serve basis, and there is a wait-list on the day. It cannot be booked in advance.

Wait list sign ups generally open around an hour before the flights start. However, the queue for the helicopter wait-list can start much earlier than this, especially in Supai Village (the hike out is harder than the hike in, so many people hike in and take the helicopter out).

When I hiked out of Havasupai in July, I walked through Supai village at 4.30am and the line for the helicopter wait list had already begun!

Note that locals and employees get priority on the helicopter, regardless of when they show up. So if a lot of locals are travelling on a particular day, you may need to wait even longer.

Usually, Fridays are the busiest days for locals leaving Supai Village, and Mondays are the busiest days for locals flying from the trailhead. On these days, you can face significant delays if going in the same direction as the locals.

AirWest endeavours to fly everyone who signs up between 10am and 1pm on the day. If you sign up after 1pm, you will be added to a standby list, but your flight is not guaranteed. Flights are also always weather dependent, and like any flight, can be cancelled for a variety of reasons.

The information above was obtained by contacting Air West helicopters directly via phone, and is up to date as of 2020. We do recommend calling Air West prior to planning your trip for the most up to date information. There is an automated message which tells you everything you need to know. Contact information is available on the Air West helicopters website.

Mooney Falls Havasupai

What are the Accommodation Options at Havasu Falls?

There are two accommodation options at Havasu Falls.

The first of these is the Havasu Falls campground, which is found along the Havasu River around 2 miles from Supai village, between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls.

The other option is Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village itself. The lodge has room with beds, hot showers (subject to hot water availability) with soap and towels, and both air-conditioning and heating. Rooms also have electrical outlets, four per room.

There is also WiFi at the lodge, and guests have access to a communal fridge, as well as a microwave.

Note that wild camping is not permitted anywhere on the reservation land, you can only camp within the marked camping area, which is between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls.

Havasupai campground

How Much does it Cost to visit Havasu Falls?

The price of visiting Havasu Falls varies depending on where you choose to stay, either the Havasu Falls Campground, or the Havasupai Lodge.

These are managed entirely separately, and they have different booking processes and cancellation policies, which we will also cover further on in the post.

Cost of Camping at Havasu Falls

Camping at Havasu Falls in 2024 is $455 per person. Reservations for the campground are only available for a period of 3 nights and 4 days.

Note that in previous years there were different prices for weekday nights and weekend nights but this is no longer the case for the 2024 season.

Prices increased in 2019 and also in 2024, largely because the tribe decided to reduce the total number of available reservations and create a more pleasurable experience for visitors.

I appreciate it may seem high, but it is definitely worth it!

The price includes your entry permit, taxes, environmental care fee, etc. This fee has to be paid in full in advance when you make your booking.

Cost of Staying at Havasupai Lodge

For 2024, the prices for the lodge are $2277 for a room. This is for a three night stay, so is $759 per night.

Rooms sleep 4 people, so this works out to be around $190 per person per night.

I’d recommend checking the official website for the most up to date information.

How do I Book for Havasu Falls in 2024?

There are different ways of booking accommodation at Havasu Falls, depending on if you want to stay at the lodge or the campground.

Let me cover the options you have for 2024, which should also apply for future years although details can change.

New for 2024 is a presale process for both the campground and lodge process.  I will cover this process as well.

How to book a campground at Havasu Falls for 2024

I will now cover the process for 2024 for booking a campground at Havasu Falls.

For 2024, there are going to be two ways to book a campground reservation. There will be an initial presale period with a lottery system in January, followed by a general sale in February.

Regardless of which option you go for, if you want to camp, you have to book and pay online at Havasupai Reservations .

All campground reservations have to be done online through the official reservations website, there is no phone, e-mail, or in person booking option.

One person can book a trip for up to 12 people, subject to availability of course.

The main decision you will need to make is whether you want to try your luck with the presale process or not. Regardless of whether or not you do that, you can also try booking when general availability becomes available.

Havasupai Campground Presale Process

The presale period for Havasupai campground reservations will open at 8am Arizona time on the 5th January 2024. A limited number of permit reservations will be made available for the presale.

Registering for the presale will require paying a $15 non-refundable fee. Upon registering, you will enter your three preferred reservation start dates, as well as a preferred month.

You will also need to enter all your details and provide payment details for full payment should you be successful at the end of the presale process.

Note that registering for the presale and paying the fee does not guarantee you a reservation.

The presale period ends at 5pm Arizona time on January 18th 2024. A randomized process will then have tickets allocated, and payment taken. This should happen no later than January 24th 2024.

If you are unsuccessful in the presale process, you will forfeit your deposit and will need to go through the general availability process for tickets.

The odds of being allocated a ticket via the presale process will depend on how many people choose to register for the presale tickets, and how many people choose similar dates.

This process is new for 2024 and so it is currently unknown if this will be a better way to get tickets for Havasupai or not. You can see the official announcement about the presale here on Facebook and on the official website here .

Havasupai General Campground Reservation Process

General campground reservations open on the 1st February at 8am Arizona time. The best option is to sign up for an account on the official website so you can be notified when reservations for the Havasupai Campground open.

If you want to camp at Havasu Falls, you should register at the official reservation page at least a couple days in advance of the reservations opening. On the day the reservations open the system gets very slow, and you don’t want to waste time creating a profile.

There are a few steps to creating a profile, including nominating a potential alternative trip leader in case the primary person booking the trip can’t make it. You can also select your preferred dates in advance, which can make the booking process a lot faster, and this is recommended.

You also have the option to add your payment information to the system in advance. Again, I’d advise doing this, so you don’t have to worry about it on checkout.

Please be aware that if you are travelling as a group, everyone who is coming needs to have an account, not just the trip leader. However, the group members only need to have the account prior to arrival, not prior to booking.

Campground reservations usually sell out entirely within a few hours of the system coming online.

When the day of the reservations open, expect the system to go very slowly. It is definitely a painful and frustrating experience, but if you persevere you should be able to get a date.

It took me a couple of hours to finally get to the end of the process, and I had to be fairly flexible with my dates as my first choices were booked before I could get through.

If you have problems or questions, the contact information is [email protected].

Havasupai campground

How to book at Havasupai Lodge for 2024

I will now cover the process for 2024 for booking the lodge at Havasu Falls.

The only way to book at Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village is online at this website .

Note that this is new as of 2021.  Up to 2020 the only way to book was by phone, so you might find other information advising you to call. This is incorrect as of 2021.

As with the campground, there will be a presale process for the Havasupai Lodge. This is new for 2024. I will cover these two different process below.

Havasupai Lodge Presale Process

The presale process for Havasupai Lodge is exactly the same as that for the campground, so rather than repeat that, I’d suggest just scrolling up a bit and reading that section.

Havasupai Lodge General Reservation Process

I will now cover the normal process for booking the lodge at Havasu Falls.

The booking process for Havasupai Lodge is slightly different than that of the campground and is managed by different teams.

For 2024, reservations for Havasupai Lodge are due to open on February 1st 2024. This is different from previous years where reservations for the current year opened in June of the previous year.

Demand for the lodge is also high, and you should expect the website to be busy when reservations open. All I can suggest is patience and persistence. When you get through, be sure to have all your details, including your name, address, phone number, required dates, and credit card information.

To make things easier, I recommend you sign up for an account well in advance. Once you have done that, you can pre-populate the reservation system with your details and credit card information, to make it easier to book when you get to the end of the process.

What if I have to cancel my trip?

For 2024 the same system is in place for both the lodge and the campground (prior to 2023 they had different systems).

Now, if you have either a lodge or campground reservation, you can transfer them using the official transfer system. This system was implemented in 2019 for the campground and 2022 for the lodge.

Prior to these dates there was a no-refund, no-transfer, no-cancellation policy, and many outdated websites still say this.

To transfer a campground or lodge reservation, you have to do it through the official Havasupai Reservations system. You can either transfer your reservation directly to someone you know will want it, or you can release the dates into the system so others looking in the official system can find them.

For either of these options, once the person buying your transfer has done so, your payment will be returned minus a 10% transfer fee.

If you do need to cancel, we’d suggest putting your reservation up for transfer in the official Havasupai reservation system as soon as possible.

Also be aware that you are not permitted to advertise your transfer anywhere other than in the official system, and doing so runs the risk of having your whole trip voided with no refund at all.

We highly recommend having good travel insurance that includes cancellation cover should you need to cancel your trip.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls Sold Out! Now what?

The first time I thought about going to Havasu Falls, I figured it would just be a question of popping onto the website, making a booking for when I wanted to go, and then wandering in.

I quickly learnt that this is not the case. If you want to visit Havasu Falls, you need to plan well in advance, and you need to make your booking on the day that the reservation systems open for the best chance of success.

But, life happens, and not everyone is going to necessarily manage to get a booking.

All hope is not lost. Life happens to other people too, and as described in the section above, when folks cancel, their bookings can become available.

If this happens for lodge or campground reservations, they will appear in the Havasu Reservations website on the cancellation / reservation list.

This list updates regularly (normally every day at 8am Arizona time for both the lodge and campground), and is your best option for securing a reservation. Note that you cannot buy part of a reservation – if the available spots are for more people than you want, you will have to buy the whole reservation, and then you can use the transfer system to try and sell any spare slots.

If you want to go to Havasu and have not been able to get a reservation, the transfer list is somewhere you should be checking on a daily basis. In the course of writing this post, just over a few days I have seen reservations popping up for sale.

Of course, using the transfer system is going to require you to be fairly flexible in terms of dates. It will also be harder the more people you are trying to travel with. People traveling alone have a better chance than a group of 5 people. But it is definitely possible to visit Havasu Falls even if you miss the initial reservation window.

Havasu Falls

Where Can I Rent Camping Gear for Havasu Falls?

If you are from the U.S., you probably have your own camping gear, but international travelers are less likely to have their own gear with them.

When I visited Havasu Falls it was as part of a longer trip across the USA, which we’d started from our home in the UK. I didn’t want to bring camping equipment from the UK, and buying gear for a one-off trip seemed unnecessary and wasteful.

Thankfully, there are a number of options for renting camping gear. I flew into Las Vegas , which was where I picked up a car rental to drive out to Havasupai.

I rented my camping equipment from a company called Basecamp Outdoor Gear .

These guys only do gear rental, and you need to book in advance before your trip, which you can do on their website. You can book items individually, or (as I did), you can book a camping kit. They also rent out hiking backpacks, which I also took advantage of.

Once you’ve booked, you arrange a pick up time. As it was only a 10 minute drive from Las Vegas airport to the pick up location this was a really convenient option, and I thought the prices were very fair. The equipment I rented was in excellent condition and it was good quality stuff too.

Of course, there are lots of other options for renting camping gear, some of which will even mail you the gear in advance of your trip – either to your home, or to your hotel in Peach Springs.

Here are some options to consider.

Online Rental with delivery

  • Lower Gear Outdoors , Rent online, Nationwide shipping (to home or even to hotels in Peach Springs) and return
  • Outdoors Geek , Rent online, Nationwide shipping and return

Camping Gear Rental in Arizona

  • Chandler: REI
  • Flagstaff: Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters
  • Flagstaff: Peace Surplus
  • Phoenix: AZ Hiking Shack
  • Tempe and Lake Havasu City: Lower Gear Outdoors
  • Scottsdale: Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company

Camping Gear Rental in Nevada

  • Las Vegas: UNLV ,  Basecamp , Cloud of Goods
  • Lake Tahoe: Tahoe Mountain Sports

When is Havasu Falls Open in 2024?

As of 2024, you can visit Havasu Falls from February 1st to November 30th.

However, not every accommodation open is available for these dates.

If you want to stay in the campground, the Havasu Falls campground is open from the 1st February through to the 30th November.

If you want to stay in Havasupai Lodge, this will be open from April 1st through to November 30th.

When is the Best Time to visit Havasupai?

The reality is that the demand for campground and lodge reservations is so high that the best time to visit Havasupai is likely going to be whenever you can get a reservation!

However, visiting at different times will result in a different experience. Here’s an overview of what to expect at different times of year.

Winter at Havasupai (February)

This is the coldest time of year, and only the campground will be open at this time of year. Expect freezing temperatures overnight, and temperatures generally in a range of 30F – 55F.

You will want to bring warm clothes for day and night wear, and despite the water having a year round temperature of 70F, the air temperature will make swimming an unattractive option.

Spring at Havasupai (March – May)

March through to May is a nice time for hiking at Havasupai as the temperatures are not extremely hot, but are instead pleasant.

It might be a bit cool for swimming still in early Spring, but this will improve as the months progress. Note that the trees will likely be bare at this time of year.

Summer at Havasupai (June – mid September)

This is by far the hottest time of year to visit, with day time temperatures likely to exceed 100F. If you visit at this time of year, you will want to plan your hike in and out as early as possible – ideally you’ll want to start hiking at 4am to avoid the heat.

This time of year is great for swimming and the trees are lovely and green. There is a possibility of bugs, although I had no issues when I visited in July. Also be aware that there is a higher possibility of thunderstorms and flash floods at this time of year.

It is worth knowing that on days when the temperature goes above 115F the trail will close to hikers for safety reasons. This is most common in July and August, so if you want to avoid this happening, try to visit in the cooler months.

Fall at Havasupai (mid-September – November)

As September draws to an end the temperatures will start to drop. Conditions will be similar to Spring, with cooler temperatures, around 50F – 80F. It’s great for hiking, and should be warm enough for swimming still. The leaves will also turn, which can make for some lovely photos.

So when is the best time to visit Havasu Falls?

Well, if you want a quieter experience, you will want to visit when only the lodge is open over the winter months. With the campground closed, you will only be visiting with the other people staying at the Lodge.

The lodge has 24 rooms which can each accommodate up to 4 people. So the maximum number of people staying at the lodge is 96.

I’m not sure what the total number of campsite reservations is that they accept each day when the campground is open, but I have seen numbers ranging from 200 – 300 a day. As they pretty much always sell out, when the campground is operating the trails and sights will obviously be busier.

Otherwise, I would say that May or September would be good months to visit. It should not be insanely hot, but it should still be warm enough to enjoy swimming.

Trail to Beaver Falls havasupai

Can I Take a Tour to Havasu Falls?

In prior years it was possible to take a guided tour to Havasu Falls with an outside company. However, as of 2019, it is no longer possible to book a guided tour to Havasu Falls, and the only way to get in is by making the reservation yourself and planning the logistics yourself.

The tribe now manages all visitors themselves. This decision will likely be evaluated on a year by year basis, and we will update this post if it changes.

There are no options to hire any kind of guide at the time of writing this post.

Do I Have to Carry all my Gear?

If you are camping, you will be carrying all your camping equipment as well as food and any other supplies, which can add up to quite a heavy pack.

If you would rather not carry all your equipment, you have the option to request a pack mule. This option is available for both campground and lodge guests.

The pack mules are managed by the tribe and they make regular trips to and from the trail head to the campsite / lodge.

If you hire a pack mule and your reservations is successful, you will need to drop your bags off at the trailhead or accommodation drop off point by a certain time in the morning. You leave your bags at that location, and then hike in.

Your bag will then be collected by a tribe member who is responsible for a group of pack mules. They will guide the mules to the lodge or campground, where your bags will be dropped off. You will then need to collect your bags from the drop-off point.

During this time, you won’t have access to your bags. We would suggest you have a daypack with water, snacks, camera, any essential medication as well as other essentials / valuables. You should also have a copy of your accommodation reservation, and ID.

Note that you cannot ride the pack mules, nor are you able to accompany them personally. When hiking, you need to give way to the pack mules. They are faster and bigger than you, so give them plenty of space.

Each pack mule can carry up to four bags, with a maximum weight of 32lbs per bag. In 2024, the price for a pack mule for round-trip transport is $400, or $200 one way. So if you do hire a pack mule, it only really makes financial sense if you split the costs with four other people.

If you are travelling with less than four people, it might make more sense to take the helicopter instead, as you can take a pack on this. See more on helicopters elsewhere in the post.

If you want to book a pack mule, it is highly advisable to do it at the same time as you make your reservation. There are a limited number of pack mules available, far fewer than the number of people hiking in and out each day.

Pack mule reservations are not guaranteed – you put in a request when you have made your reservation, and you will find out if the request was successful before your visit.

In theory it is possible to book pack mules for one-way transport; however, the official website advises that as priority is given to round trip bookings, one-way bookings are unlikely to be successful.

havasu falls trip report

How to Book a Pack Mule for Havasupai

Both both the lodge and the campground, you will make your pack mule request once you have made your booking online.

If you do not book your pack mule when you reserve, you can return to your reservation and add one at any time.

However, the longer you leave it, the further down the wait list you will go, and the lower the likelihood of a pack mule reservation.

If you change your mind before the pack mule reservation is confirmed, you can cancel without a fee online.

However, once the pack mule reservation is confirmed it is non-refundable, non-changeable, and non-transferable. So if you can’t make the trip, you will not get your fee refunded.

If you book a pack mule, be sure to follow the instructions around where to leave your bag, how to label your bag, as well as the rules around weight and size restrictions.

A note about the pack mules. Prior to 2019, there was concern over the welfare of the pack mules. However, the tribe has made significant changes to their policies regarding the pack mules, including things like maximum pack weights, and as of 2019 the pack mules are believed to be treated better.

Certainly, I saw a number of pack mules go past when I was hiking in and out, and they looked to be in good condition.

That said, I am certainly no expert on animal welfare, and I personally chose to carry all my belongings. That decision was more to do with wanting to overcome the challenge of the hike (it is quite a feeling of accomplishment!), but please make your own mind up regarding use of a pack mule.

If you don’t want to carry your gear or use a pack mule, consider using the helicopter service to get to and from Havasupai instead.

How Long Should I Stay at Havasu Falls?

The minimum amount of time I would recommend for a Havasu Falls trip would be two nights and three days. This way you get a full day of rest between the hike in and hike out, as well as time to explore.

For a more relaxing experience, I would recommend spending three nights. This will give you ample opportunity for swimming, hiking out to some of the other sights, and generally enjoying this incredible location. It will also give you more recovery time between the hike in and out.

Three nights is the amount of time recommended by the tribe, and as of 2019, all campground and lodge reservations at Havasu Falls are for three nights / four days. Of course, you don’t have to stay all three nights, but as you are paying for it, you might want to consider taking advantage of it.

I’d definitely advise against just staying one night as this will be quite exhausting, especially if you hike.

If you want to stay for longer than the three-night campground reservation but you still want to camp, you can try to add time at the lodge either before or after your campground reservation. As far as I can tell, you can also book an additional campground reservation adjoining your existing reservation, although that would result in a six-night stay.

Personally, I think three nights and four days is a good amount of time for your visit. Staying for much longer will make the logistics of booking the trip more challenging, plus you will have to carry more food.

Beaver Falls Havasupai

How Busy is the Havasu Falls Hike / Campground?

From 2019, the tribe reduced the total number of permits for access to Havasupai, and as such, less people are visiting each day than in previous years.

It is certainly not a quiet experience, and you will definitely be frequently passing people on the trail as you hike in and out. There will also be plenty of other people at the campsite and at the waterfalls. However, it did not feel crowded at all, and there was more than enough space for everyone when I was there.

There were also plenty of toilets available in the campground area, with three toilet locations throughout the camp. There was also no shortage of camping areas with picnic tables to choose from.

It was also possible to have moments entirely alone if you don’t mind keeping odd hours. For example, I found myself all alone at Havasu Falls for sunrise and when I went to shoot the stars over the falls in the evening.

So even when it is busy it is possible to find moments alone to enjoy nature.

For the hike in and out, I certainly passed plenty of people, but I started very early and it never felt crowded or too busy.

What Facilities does the Havasu Falls Campground have?

The campground is fairly basic, but it does have three sets of toilets as well as a spring for drinking water. There are also picnic tables throughout, and most people pitch their camp next to a picnic table.

The toilets are laid out with one set at the start, one in the middle and one at the end. They are composting toilets rather than flush toilets, but they were in good condition when I visited with plenty of toilet paper. I observed them being cleaned regularly while I was there.

There is one spring for drinking water in the campsite called Fern Spring. The tribe recommend you filter or boil this water before drinking it. I personally brought a LifeStraw water bottle and used it for the spring water and drank directly from the river using it.

Toilet at Havasu Falls

There are also no trash facilities at the campground. You need to carry your trash out with you. Please do this. There was so much trash at the site left behind by inconsiderate campers, including entire camping setups. I couldn’t quite believe it.

The tribe do their best to keep the site tidy, but picking up left behind tents, tarps and other trash like that really shouldn’t be up to them. It’s really sad to see such a beautiful place being impacted by people. If you don’t want to carry something out, I’d suggest not bringing it in in the first place.

There are also no showers or washing facilities at the campground. You are also not permitted to use soap or shampoo in the creek or campground.

Which is the Best Part of the Campground at Havasupai?

I explored the campground fairly thoroughly when I was there, and I would say that there isn’t a huge difference from one end to the other.

The campground at Havasupai is around a mile long, so it will take you around 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

As I mentioned, there isn’t that much difference; however, when picking a campsite there are some things to bear in mind.

First, if you are hiking in and out and carrying all your gear, if you camp closer to Havasu Falls then your hike out won’t be as long. I made the mistake of camping at the far end of the campsite, which meant my hike back out had an extra mile added on as I had to get all the way through the campground first.

Next, if you visit in summer, be aware that the canyon walls get very hot during the day, and radiate heat into the canyon. If you camp closer to the water, this effect is mitigated a little bit.

It is worth being aware that flash flooding is a possibility, particularly from June to August. There is not a lot of high ground at Havasupai, but it is marked on the map you are given when you check-in.

If rain is forecast in the area during your stay, you should definitely consider camping closer to the high ground locations so you can find a safe spot if the river rises, which can happen suddenly and with minimal warning.

As I cover in my tips section below, squirrels can be a real nuisance at the campground. They will eat through your tent and bags to get to any food they smell. I’m not sure if there were areas of the campsite with less squirrels than others, but if you see piles of them you might want to camp somewhere else.

If you don’t want to carry water back and forth long distances, you might consider camping nearer to Fern Spring. You may also consider camping closer to the restrooms if you don’t want a longer walk to these.

Finally, if you are visiting in summer, I’d advise picking a campsite with as much shade as possible. Most of the camp is pretty shady, but just bear in mind that temperatures regularly exceed 100F in the summer, and you will definitely appreciate the shade.

Otherwise, just find a nice level spot with a spare picnic table (they are found through the campsite), and pitch up. There was no shortage of space at all when I visited, and you definitely don’t need to hike through the entire campsite looking for the “perfect spot”, as to be honest, they are all pretty similar to each other!

Havasupai Campground

Is There Food Available at Havasu Falls?

The answer to this appears to vary depending on the time of year. In Supai Village itself, there is a general store and a cafe, although the latter was closed for renovation when I visited. You can see opening hours and an idea of what they have for sale here .

There are also various stalls between the village and the campground advertising fry bread and soft drinks, including frozen Gatorade. These were advertised as being open during the day, and I did see people with frozen Gatorade, however I didn’t try the food.

In terms of paying for items, cash is obviously the easiest option, so I’d make sure you have some cash on you. Although in the village you should be able to pay by card. Be aware that prices will be a little higher than average due to the remote location and challenges associated with getting products here.

However, it is a good option to have if you run low on supplies.

Can I Take Photos at Havasupai / Havasu Falls?

Yes, you can take photos at Havasupai, as hopefully this post demonstrates.

There are however some exceptions to this rule.

You are not allowed to take any photos of Supai Village, of any tribe members, or of the pack mules / horses on the trail.

In addition, drone photography of any kind is not permitted anywhere in Havasupai, and drones are not permitted on the reservation. There is a risk that drones may be confiscated if brought onto the reservation, so we would advise leaving them at home.

Other than this, you can take as many photos as you want. See more photography tips section for some tips on getting great photos at Havasupai.

Mooney Falls Havasupai

Are Pets Allowed at Havasu Falls?

Pets are not allowed on the Havasu Falls hike. There are dogs in the village, but these belong to the people who live in the village. Visitors are not permitted to bring any animals with them.

Is the Havasu Falls Hike Suitable for Kids / Families?

This of course depends on the kids! Certainly, families do visit Havasu Falls and I saw a number of families on the hike and at the campground.

Obviously the hike is long and probably not a good option for young children The official website discourages bringing young children due to length of trail, extreme weather, safety hazards, lack of medical facilities, etc.

Whether or not it is suitable for your kids will be a personal decision, as no one knows your kids like you do. This might be a great trip for older kids and teens!

Is Alcohol Permitted at Havasu Falls?

Alcohol is not permitted anywhere at Havasu Falls. Your vehicle will be inspected on the road in, and you should not have alcohol in your vehicle.

It is actually both a tribal and federal crime to possess, distribute or consume alcohol on the Reservation. This is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment (see law 18 U.S.C. §§ 1154 and 1156)

Similar laws and penalties exist for the possession and/or consumption of illegal drugs on the reservation, including marijuana.

Is There Cell Phone Reception at Havasu Falls?

Personally I did not have cell phone reception at Havasu Falls, and in fact I didn’t have reception from at least an hour’s drive away from the trailhead. This is a very remote part of the world, and there just aren’t many cell towers out here.

That said, I know other people mentioned that they did occasionally get reception. However, I would absolutely not rely on having phone reception, and I would assume you will have no reception or connectivity of any kind during your visit. There is also no WiFi along the trail.

To save your phone battery, I would suggest switching it to airplane mode. This will let you use it as a camera, but the battery won’t run down as it tries to find a mobile signal.

If you are staying at the Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village, there is free WiFi here.

Is Havasu Falls Open Year Round?

No, Havasu Falls is only open from February 1st through to November 30th.

Trail to Beaver Falls Havasupai

Full Pricing Information for Camping / Lodge / Helicopter / Mules at Havasu Falls

We’ve covered this information elsewhere in the post, but we wanted to put it all in one place for quick reference. Prices are up to date for 2024.

Campground Prices for Havasupai for 2024

  • $455 per campground permit per person

Campground stays are all for three nights / four days and include all taxes and entry permit.

Lodge Prices for Havasupai for 2024

  • $2,277 per room (sleeps up to four people)

Lodge prices are all for three nights / four days and include all taxes and entry permit.

Pack Mule Prices for Havasupai

  • $400 for round-trip pack mule, can carry up to four bags

One way mules are theoretically bookable but priority is given to round-trip bookings.

Helicopter Prices for Havasupai

  • $100 one way per adult. Children under 2 free. $10 surcharge for paying by card

Trail to Beaver Falls Havasupai

What to See and Do at Havasupai

Now that you know what to expect of the Havasupai Trail and the experience in general, you might be wondering what there is to see and do here.

Well, the answer is plenty! Here’s what you can get up to.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls is definitely the star of the show. On the hike from the campground you will pass some other falls (see the section below on other waterfalls), but Havasu Falls is the one that will really take your breath away.

The falls are one continuous drop into a large pool, and are around 100 ft in height. The large pool below the falls in popular for swimming and picnicking.

Havasu falls

Mooney Falls

A mile or so downstream (basically at the other end of the campsite) from Havasu Falls is Mooney Falls.

In terms of waterfalls, Mooney is just over twice the height of Havasu Falls, at 205 feet. It falls straight down into a large round pool surrounded by red rocks.

Mooney Falls can be seen from viewpoints around the rim. It is also possible to hike down to the base of the falls.

This is a challenging descent down a very steep path, which includes time passing through caves, as well as a descent holding onto chains, ladders and handholds. Up until the cave section the descent is not too bad, but the section after the caves is much more tricky.

Trail to Mooney Falls havasupai

This descent is not recommended if you are nervous about heights, or if the weather is bad.

It’s also recommended to wear gloves for improved grip, and to secure all your valuables and place them into a backpack.

When I visited, there was a collection of gloves at the top of the tricky section, which visitors left at the base of the climb for those climbing back up.

The climb up and down is best if you don’t try to go up if someone is coming down, and vice versa. So if someone is ascending for example, it is best to wait until they pass you before attempting to descend.

If you are reasonably fit and not worried about heights, the climb down is definitely achievable, and the views from the base are very nice.

The base of Mooney Falls is also where the hike to Beaver Falls starts from, as well as the hike to the confluence of the Colorado River.

Mooney falls havasupai

Hike to Beaver Falls

If you make it down to the base of Mooney Falls, then you might consider hiking to Beaver Falls as well.

It is slightly over 2 miles hike each way from the base of Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls, and you should allocate around 1.5 hours for the hike each way.

The hike is not particularly hard, but it does require you to cross the river three times. These river crossings are generally through water around two to four feet in depth. Obviously this hike is not advisable if the river is in any kind of flood condition.

The trail is quite easy to follow with the occasional signpost. It is hard to get lost as you are basically just following the river between two canyon walls. From time to time the path will split, giving an illusion of choice, but usually all the versions of it end up at the same place.

Trail to Beaver Falls Havasupai

Beaver Falls are very different to the Mooney Falls and Havasu falls. The drop is much smaller, and they are more of a series of falls between swimming holes. It is very picturesque, and I definitely recommend doing this hike on one of the days you are there if you have the time and energy.

If you are visiting in summer, I highly advise doing this hike as early in the day as possible. There are long stretches of the hike that is unshaded, and as the day progresses it will get very hot. I started my hike at around 8am and was very glad I did so, as by the time I got back to the campsite it was already very hot.

You’ll also want to carry plenty of water for this hike, and consider bringing some snacks.

Beaver Falls Havasupai

Hike to the Colorado River Confluence

If you are a really keen hiker, you can continue the hike on from Beaver Falls downstream all the way to where Havasu Creek flows into the Colorado River.

From Beaver Falls to the Colorado River confluence it’s around 4 miles each way, so you are looking at around 6 miles each way from Mooney Falls. After Beaver Falls you are also leaving Havasupai land.

This hike will likely take you all day if you choose to do it, and there are multiple times where you will have to cross the river. It is not recommended unless you are an experienced hiker, and you will either want to carry plenty of water and snacks, or bring some sort of water filter.

This hike is also not recommended in the summer months due to the heat. I visited in July so did not do this one.

Other Waterfalls at Havasu Falls

There are five waterfalls in Havasupai that are accessible from the campground and lodge. The three we’ve already mentioned are Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls.

The other two waterfalls are Fifty Foot Falls and Little Navajo Falls. These are found between Supai Village and Havasu Falls on the hike in.

These are actually very pretty falls as well, and they actually get very few visitors. Most campers take a couple of pictures as they head down to the campsite, and then only pass them again on their hike out. But there are swimming holes here as well, and they are the closest falls for those staying at the lodge. So don’t overlook these falls when you visit!

Fifty Foot falls

Swim in the River

So far all these options have likely seemed like quite a bit of effort. So here’s a much less stressful option – take a swim in Havasu Creek!

You can swim in the creek in a wide variety of locations, including as it passes through the campground and at the waterfalls. Just take care when swimming at the falls as there can be undertows and currents around the actual falls themselves. If you are visiting  on your own, it is best to swim when others are present for safety. Children should of course be supervised at all times. There are no lifeguards at Havasu.

You also want to be careful not to swim in the creek directly above any waterfalls for obvious reasons as you don’t want to carried over them!

The water in Havasu Creek is a constant 70F year round. It is particularly refreshing in the hot summer months.

If you do swim, you will definitely want a good pair of water shoes as there can be rocks and other sharp outcrops which can be painful.

Also note that rock climbing, diving, nudity, and jumping are not permitted at the falls.

River in Havasu Campground

After hiking all the way in, setting up camp, exploring waterfalls and so on, you are likely going to be a bit tired. So don’t forget to relax!

You’ve likely got a few days to enjoy yourself at Havasupai, so definitely take plenty of time for relaxing. That could mean napping, laying in a hammock, reading a book, chatting with friends, or playing cards.

It’s also worth being aware that once darkness falls, it does get really dark here. B etween the darkness, tiredness, and lack of activity, people usually go to bed pretty early. In my experience, the camp was pretty quiet when I was there from around 8pm, and I was usually in bed by 10pm, with the exception of when I did astrophotography.

Tips for Visiting Havasu Falls

Based on my experience visiting Havasu Falls, I wanted to share some quick tips to help you make the most of your trip.

Watch out for the squirrels!

If there is one major nuisance to be aware of when you visit Havasupai, it’s the squirrels.

These guys live at the campsite, and as far as I can tell, they survive entirely by carrying out sophisticated raids on the food supplies of unsuspecting campers.

The squirrels will eat through your tent, your backpack and any packaging in order to get to any food that they smell. When I rented my camping gear, I was warned about the squirrels, as they had had equipment returned that had suffered squirrel damage.

Squirrels at Havasu Campground

So what can you do about the squirrels? Well, the key is to put your food outside of your tent in something that the squirrels cannot get into.

A popular option is a Rat Bag – a steel mesh bag that the squirrels won’t be able to gnaw through. You may also consider sealing all your food inside  resealable food storage bags in order to prevent odor escaping. You can then hang your rat bag from a line in a tree to stop the squirrels getting to it.

When I visited Havasupai, there were also lots of sealable plastic buckets available throughout the campsite. Most of the campsites also had string hanging from the trees. So I was able to just put my food in one of these sealable buckets and hang it from a tree. Another option is to leave it on the ground or picnic table with a heavy rock on top of it.

Obviously you can’t rely on these buckets being available, so a rat bag is a good option.

Basically, don’t keep or eat any food in your tent, and remove it from your bags on arrival, so the squirrels aren’t tempted to eat through your equipment!

In terms of other animals, obviously this is a large area of wilderness, which is home to mountain lion, coyote, snakes, spiders and so on. The campsite is a busy place, as is the trail, so larger animals are liable to give it a wide berth, but it is worth being aware that potentially life threatening animal encounters are possible.

Squirrel protection measures Havasupai

Stay overnight nearby before your hike

I can highly recommend finding a nearby hotel such as the two I recommended earlier in Peach Springs to stay overnight before you hike in.

If you are driving from somewhere like Las Vegas or Phoenix, it’s around a 4 to 5 hour drive to the trailhead. Even if you left relatively early in the morning, you wouldn’t be able to start the hike until mid-morning.

In the cooler times of year this might not be too much of an issue, but in the summer you absolutely want to start the hike as early as possible. The best way to do that is to stay overnight as close to the trailhead as possible.

I have read reports of folks driving to the trailhead and staying overnight in their cars before hiking in. I personally wouldn’t do this as I’m not sure it would make for a good night’s sleep, and I don’t know if this is officially permitted or not.

Be Careful Driving to the Trailhead

The road out to the trailhead has a fairly low speed limit, and this is for good reason – there are massive elk and other animals all along this road. If you are driving in the early morning, they will be all over the place, including in the road.

You definitely want to be alert and very careful when driving on this road. I saw a lot of them as I drove it, and they were definitely of a size that would have ruined my car and ended my trip had I accidentally run into one of them!

Consider renting your camping gear

If you do not regularly hike and camp, or if you are visiting from out of state or country, you might want to consider renting your camping gear.

High quality camping equipment can be expensive, so if this is your first time doing this, renting will likely save you money. Of course, if you are planning on getting into hiking and camping, buying your own gear might be a better long term investment.

The other thing to consider is having to bring your gear from wherever you are travelling from. The price of checking luggage on airlines seems to be ever increasing.

Of course, if you have your own gear and equipment that you know and love, you will definitely want to bring this. I just wanted to share that renting is an option, and it worked really well for me.

Start the hike as early as possible

Hopefully I have made this point fairly well by now, but just to be clear, I very much recommend starting the hike as early as possible, especially in the summer months.

When I started my hike, the sun had not risen and my vehicle reported the outside temperature at 70F. This is a very comfortable temperature to hike in. By the time I arrived into the actual campsite, it was getting close to 100F.

Leaving early for both the hike in and hike out means you will be hiking when it is much cooler, and for the most part you will be hiking in the shade. Once the sun gets above the canyon walls, the temperatures noticeably increase!

Note that overnight hiking is not permitted, but early morning hiking is advised. When I visited I was told that the trail was open from 4am until 10pm, however, there is no official time posted. The official advice is to set off so you finish your hike by 10am, and to start early in the morning, but that night hiking is not permitted.

Take a water filter

There is no treated water available at the campground. The only water comes from a spring found in the center of the campground, and the tribe recommends that you filter this water.

I personally used a LifeStraw Go water filter bottle for my water filtration purposes. I even used it to drink the water from the creek itself which saved me carrying liters of water to and from Beaver Falls.

We have a guide to the best water filters for travel if you would like some options.

Lifestraw at Havasu Falls

Take plenty of food

When planning your packing, make sure you bring enough food with you. The average person needs around 2,000 calories a day of food, and when you are hiking your needs will be higher.

So when planning your meals, a good idea is to figure out how many meals you’ll need (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and ensure that you are going to be getting your calorie needs met by looking at the calorie contents of the food you buy.

High calorie foods like nuts are a good option as they offer a good ratio of weight / calories.

Note that campfires are not permitted at the campground or anywhere along the trail. You are allowed to use gas canister powered camping equipment to prepare hot meals if you are willing to carry this in with you of course.

Food is also available in the village for purchase, as well as fry bread at the stalls, so you will always have options. This means that if you don’t want to carry all your food, you don’t have to.

However, the choice at the store can vary, and it can close, so if you bring your own food you will for sure know that you have enough.

Bring good hiking shoes

The Havasu Falls hike covers a variety of terrain, much of which is loose. A good pair of well fitting hiking boots that you know and trust will go a long way to improving your hiking experience.

You should also plan to bring enough socks for each day that you will be using your hiking boots. For me that was just hiking in and out, so two pairs, but if you plan on hiking during your time at Havasu you might want some more.

It is also likely worth packing some sticking plasters or Moleskin in case of blisters.

Havasu Falls

Bring water shoes

I entirely admit I made an error with my packing – I wore hiking boots, and just brought flip flops with me for my time camping.

This was definitely an error. If you want to swim or hike down to Beaver Falls, water shoes are going to make it a lot more comfortable than flip flops.

I’d say water shoes are essential for swimming especially as the ground in the falls can be sharp. You definitely don’t want to get cut out here.

I was lucky in the end because I found a pair of water shoes that someone had left behind that fit me. You can’t rely on this of course, so I really recommend getting a good pair of water shoes and bringing them with you.

If you don’t already have water shoes, I’d recommend buying a pair like this that is also suitable for light hiking as well.

Havasu Falls

Get Travel Insurance

I highly recommend you get travel insurance for your trip out to Havasupai. This is a remote part of the world, and if something should happen to you, travel insurance should cover the costs of any emergency medical assistance you require.

Travel insurance can also help protect you against the cost of having to cancel your trip for any reason – visiting Havasupai is not cheap, and a cancellation might end up being pricey.

There are a lot of travel insurance options on the market, depending on where you are travelling from. Just be sure to read the fine print and ensure you are covered for medical evacuation, as well as this sort of activity.

Map of Havasupai Trail and Sights

To help you with your planning, I’ve put together a map of the main trail and some of the sights, as well as the campground area. You can see this below, and on Google Maps here . There is also a trailmap on the official website here .

Havasupai Trail Map

Photography Tips for Havasu Falls

One of the main reasons I was keen to visit Havasu Falls and Havasupai was for the photography opportunities. As a passionate professional photographer, I love taking photos, and this seemed like an amazing place to do just that.

Based on my experiences taking photos at Havasu, I wanted to share some quick tips to help you get great photos yourself when you visit. If you are looking for a good camera for this trip, see my guide to the best cameras for hiking and backpacking for some tips.

Bring a tripod

I appreciate that adding more gear to carry into Havasupai might not be awesome, but a tripod is going to let you get much more interesting photos, both in the daytime and at night.

It’s also a much more effective tool for taking photos of yourself than a selfie-stick!

Paired with a neutral density filter for your lens, a tripod will let you take those lovely long exposure shots of waterfalls that create that soft look. It will also let you take photos of the stars over the falls at night.

If you would like to learn more about these topics, see my guide to long exposure photography , as well as my guide to Neutral Density filters .

I personally used a carbon fibre VEO 2 tripod on this trip, which is a lightweight but sturdy tripod designed for travel. We have more tripod recommendations in our guide to why you need a travel tripod .

Photography Havasu Falls

Time the sun

The beautiful blue-green water and red canyon walls at Havasupai look their best when the sun is shining on them and making the colours really pop.

However, the canyon walls are pretty steep, and so there are only a few hours each day when the sun is actually shining on the falls. When I visited in July, this was during the middle of the day, when the sun was pretty much overhead.

Earlier and later in the day, the sun was either behind the falls, or had dipped below the canyon walls and creating shadows.

Obviously the angle of the sun and its position in the sky will vary at different times of year. I recommend checking the Photographer Ephemeris website here for the time of year you are visiting to see where the sun will be.

Havasu Falls

Visit the Falls early or late

During the day both Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls will be quite busy with people swimming and enjoying themselves.

If you want to get photos without people, your best bet is to come early in the morning or later in evening. I visited Havasu Falls at sunrise and was the only person here. After sunrise I hiked down to Mooney Falls, and was the only person there as well.

So it is certainly possible to get the falls to yourself, even when the campground and lodge are fully booked.

Just be aware that night hiking is not permitted, so don’t wander too far from the campground late at night!

Havasu Falls

Don’t miss the astrophotography opportunities

Being in the middle of the desert far away from any sources of light pollution means that there are incredible star gazing opportunities at Havasupai.

This only means that there’s the opportunity to take some great photos at night. When I visited in July, the milky was was rising in the early evening, which added even more stars to my photos.

If you do do astrophotography, my recommendation would be to shoot Havasu Falls. I’d advise against tackling the Mooney Falls climb at night for safety reasons!

For Havasu Falls, I had good results by using my headlight to illuminate the falls a little bit, just a few seconds during a 30 second or so exposure. This is a technique known as light painting.

For more on astrophotography, including camera settings and different techniques, see my complete guide to taking pictures of stars .

Bring spare batteries and memory cards

If you are camping, you aren’t going to have access to any power outlets during your time at Havasupai. So you will want to bring plenty of spare batteries for your camera, as well as enough memory cards to handle all the photos you are taking.

Another option is to invest in a USB power bank like this , which you can use to charge your phone. I also bought a charger for my camera batteries that runs off USB, and these are available for most camera manufacturers.

That meant I could use my USB power bank to top off my phone and my camera batteries.

Consider your clothing

If you plan on putting yourself into the photos, then I can recommend considering bringing along some brightly coloured clothing so that you stand out in the images.

Bright reds, yellow or blues would be good options, but really, any brightly coloured clothes will help you pop in the image against the bright colours at Havasu.

What to Pack for the Havasu Falls Hike

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to what to pack for Havasu Falls , but here’s a quick overview of what you should bring to get you started.

  • Backpack – A 40 – 55L should work for most hikers
  • Sleeping mat (I prefer a thermarest)
  • Head torch or flashlight
  • Water Filter and Water Bladder / Bottle
  • Day pack – great for the day hikes
  • Hiking poles – these will make the hike easier
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Travel towel
  • Hiking boots (see our guides to the best travel shoes for men and the best travel shoes for women for tips on picking a great pair)
  • Water shoes
  • Hiking socks
  • Clothing (will depend on time of year)
  • Swimsuit / swimming gear
  • Toothbrush / Toiletries / Hygiene items
  • Camera + camera batteries
  • USB power bank and cables
  • Sealable food storage bags or containers
  • Toilet paper or tissues (just in case they run out for some reason!)
  • Travel Wipes
  • Sealable bags to pack your trash out in
  • First Aid kit

Obviously, your needs will vary, but I would say that above list would make for a great starting point for any visit to Havasu Falls. It’s also worth being aware of what isn’t allowed, which includes amplified music, alcohol and so on. You can see the official rules here .

Hiking boots Havasupai

Further Reading for Havasupai

Well, that sums up what you hopefully found to be a thoroughly comprehensive guide to the Havasu Falls Hike! Before you go, I want to share some useful resources for you to help you plan your trip.

  • I’ve written a detailed guide to what to pack for Havasu Falls to help you plan your packing list
  • The official Havasupai Tribe website
  • The official website for Havasupai Campground reservations
  • The official Havasupai and Havasu Falls Facebook group . There are a range of subgroups as well, where you can talk about your trip, get tips from other visits, ask questions and more.
  • The National Parks Service website about Havasupai
  • Havasu Falls is within the Grand Canyon – do check out our guide to sunset and sunrise at the Grand Canyon for some photography tips
  • When you drive to the trailhead, you’ll be on Route 66. If you want to turn your adventure into an awesome road trip, see our 1 week and 2 week Route 66 itineraries for inspiration, as well as our guide to planning a Route 66 road trip
  • If you are new to travel in the USA, see our tips for driving in the USA and our guide to how much it costs to travel in the USA for some tips
  • We also have lots more USA content – see our USA guides on this blog here , and on Independent Travel Cats here .
  • If you’re starting or ending your Havasu Falls hiking trip in Las Vegas, see our guide to things to do in Las Vegas for some ideas on spending time in the party city. We also have a guide to the best day trips from Las Vegas .
  • If you would like a book, Exploring Havasupai is your best option. It has information on the area, tips on the hike in, what to bring, as well as detailed information on the hikes from the campground.

And that’s it for our guide to the Havasu Falls hike. We hope you found it useful in planning your trip.

If you have any feedback about the above, or questions that we’ve not answered, please let us know in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

A detailed guide to the Havasu falls hike, including how to book, where to stay, tips for hiking, camping and photography, what to pack for Havasu, and more!

Enjoyed this post? Why not share it!

There are 16 comments on this post

Please scroll to the end to leave a comment

Jenny Heidel says

4th October 2023 at 2:21 am

We were charged $1980 (or $660/night) for a room at Havasupai Lodge in 2021/2022/2023. Also the Grand Caverns Inn was purchased by the Havasupai tribe and no longer includes breakfast. Thanks for all the information!!

Laurence Norah says

4th October 2023 at 8:18 am

Thanks so much for the updates. I’ve updated that information in the guide. I hope you have finally made it to Havasupai now, and if not, have a great trip 🙂

3rd September 2023 at 4:48 am

Very detailed and Informative guide! Thank you for putting this together Lawrence & Jessica!

3rd September 2023 at 7:40 pm

Our pleasure Sapi, enjoy your trip to Havasu 🙂

23rd August 2023 at 4:37 pm

The website says the permits are picked up at the Grand Canyon caverns inn at mike marker 115 off Route 66, but your guide says you pick up the permits in Supai? Maybe this has changed since you did it?

23rd August 2023 at 5:14 pm

You are absolutely correct. This has changed since I did it but it sounds like a much more seamless process now as you go through all the admin prior to actually starting your hike. It now makes even more sense to stay at the Grand Canyon Inn the night before as well. I have updated the guide, thanks so much for bringing this to my attention 🙂 Have a great time at Havasupai!

Sue Lyttle says

16th March 2023 at 10:17 pm

Las Vegas is in Nevada, not Arizona. Just in case anybody is looking for a flight to Las Vegas, AZ and can’t find it.

19th March 2023 at 8:18 am

Thanks Sue! Of course it is. Oops! Not sure how that slipped through but I’ve fixed it now, many thanks for calling that error to my attention. Have a great time at Havasu!

27th December 2022 at 5:40 am

Havasu Falls is set to officially reopen on 2/1/23! I’ll be making my first trip on 8/31. Thanks for posting so much great info.

27th December 2022 at 9:05 am

Awesome, you are going to have an amazing time! I’ve updated this guide with the latest information and the announcement from the official Facebook page. Let me know if you have any questions!

Brian Volk says

18th April 2022 at 4:47 pm

Probably the most accurate info on visiting the falls that I’ve seen. Well done! I typically don’t finish reading these guides, but I did yours. The actual hiking milage, in my experience, is low but there are plenty of debates on that. My wife and I have made over 40 trips into Supai and even their own maps depict distances on the low side. But that doesn’t matter with what you have written, here.

18th April 2022 at 5:53 pm

Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know that you found this content accurate, that is awesome especially coming from someone with so much experience on the area. I try to include as much content in my posts as I can (sometimes possibly too much!), and also to keep it up to date which has been a challenge over the last couple of years. Hopefully the trails open soon. If you take the trail again in the future and/or notice anything has changed, do feel free to let me know 🙂

Safe trails!

Jonathan says

3rd October 2020 at 3:43 pm

Hi Laurence & Jessica,

Great guide to Havasu Fall and how to get the Havasupai reservation permit, amazing photos as always!

I have long wanted to visit here but of course now am unsure when that might be possible. But I have to be in Arizona at the end of next year for a family wedding. Wondering what you would advise in terms of when to get ready to get the permit and any tips given all the closures this year?

Also wanted to ask if you could share more about visiting the Supai village itself? I didn’t see much in your article other than you went through it and checked in. Is there anything to see or do here?

Finally, wondering your thoughts of how to plan a 7 to 8 night trip, thinking about starting in either Las Vegas or Phoenix and ending in the other city. Flying from NYC, traveling solo, active mid 30’s man interested in most things. 2 nights for the family wedding in Phoenix, 3 nights for the Havasu Fall trail (if get lucky!), and wondering how to spend the other 3 days? Thoughts?

Thanks for your help, Jonathan

3rd October 2020 at 4:19 pm

Hey Jonathan, it’s good to hear from you – and thanks for your kind words 🙂

So assuming the trail is open next year (it’s been closed most of this year for obvious reasons!), in theory it will open for campground reservations on the 1st February 2021 at 8am Arizona time.

There are a few caveats. First, the majority of the folks who couldn’t go this year are going to be given priority for slots next year, and I’m not sure how that’s going to affect the timing. So that might happen before the slots open to the general public. Whenever it happens, it definitely means there will be less availability next year.

The good news is that you say you are visiting at the end of the year, which is generally a quieter time to visit. So my advice would be to definitely try and get a slot when the site opens, but not to fret too much if you fail. The reason is that lots of people cancel as the year goes on, so you are likely to be able to get a spot through the cancellation system. The only problem with that is of course that your timeframe isn’t that flexible, so ideally you’d want to get a slot when they open.

The booking system definitely gets overloaded, and as you have to click through each month to get to the last months, it can be a really frustrating process. The webpage times out a lot, and you have to then start all over from the first month. Patience and perseverance are key!

Now for your other questions. Honestly, I didn’t hang around Supai village because it felt a bit like I was intruding. The tribe are quite private and other than the shops there wasn’t much to see. Photography isn’t permitted in the village, and there are quite a few “private” signs. Overall it felt like a place to stock up and check in, but not to sightsee. Your experience may be different. I’d also add that as it’s a couple of miles from the campsite, and I was pretty hot and tired, I didn’t really feel like stopping on the way in and out, and the falls area had so much to see and do that I didn’t take the time to walk back once I was at the campground!

For the remainder of your trip you have a few options. From Vegas you have the Valley of Fire park and also the Lake Mead National recreational area (home to the Hoover dam), both of which are worth a visit. The stretch of highway from Kingman to Peach Springs, where you turn off for the trailhead start, was originally Route 66. It’s a good stretch with quite a few sights, so is worth checking out. On the way out, you could continue on to Seligman and even go to the Grand Canyon – well worth the visit if you’ve not been before. Otherwise there’s lots of lovely outdoor wilderness to explore on the way down to Phoenix!

I hope this helps, let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Safe travels,

Barry S. says

14th August 2020 at 10:06 am

This is a GREAT and informative website, but it looks like due to COVID-19, this year’s reservations will be put on next year’s set, so getting a reservation in 2021 will be unlikely.

Note, helicopter prices are now $100. a flight, as of recording on August 12, 2020.

14th August 2020 at 11:04 am

Thanks so much for your input. I’ve updated the article with the revised helicopter prices, and more information about how 2021 is likely going to be even hard to get a reservation than normal! I hope you are able to visit at some point though if you haven’t already 🙂

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let me know when there's a reply to my comment (just replies to your comment, no other e-mails, we promise!)

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter where we share our latest travel news and tips. This also makes you eligible to enter our monthly giveaways!

We only ask for your e-mail so we can verify you are human and if requested notify you of a reply. To do this, we store your data as outlined in our privacy policy . Your e-mail will not be published or used for any other reason other than those outlined above.

  • Partnerships
  • Guest Post Submission

Go Wander Wild

Havasu Falls Hike: Havasupai, Arizona Trail Guide

The Havasu Falls hike in Arizona ranks among the top backpacking experiences in North America, and perhaps the world! The hike requires a lot of pre-planning, which is why we’ve compiled the ultimate trail guide with all the essential information to ensure a successful and enjoyable hike!

Havasu Falls Hike

Nestled below the rim of the Grand Canyon, sits the Havasupai Reserve in Arizona. Probably best known as the setting for a bucket list hike to Havasu Falls, a paradise of turquoise waters cascading down vibrant red rocks. 

It’s no wonder that this place has become a viral sensation on Instagram over the last decade. And yes, it really is as magical as it sounds.

Planning your Havasu Falls hike requires quite a bit of pre-planning and preparation. 

Many people get a little overwhelmed at the prospect of hiking from the rim down into the Grand Canyon (and out again). Plus, the distance of this hike – at 20+ miles round trip – can sound like a lot.

However, I will assure you right now that with the right planning and preparation and the right attitude, the Havasu Falls hike truly won’t be so bad.

We are here to share everything you need to know about hiking to Havasupai so you know exactly what to expect, what to pack, and how to plan your hiking itinerary. Let’s get this adventure started!

Havasupai Hike Guide

Havasu falls trail stats, havasu falls hike overview.

  • Know before you go
  • The route to Havasu Falls
  • Tips for hiking to Havasu Falls
  • Where to camp in Havasupai
  • What to pack

Good to know: You’ll see the hike referred to as both ‘Havasu Falls’ and ‘Havasupai’ in this article (and elsewhere on the Internet). Havasu Falls is the actual waterfall, Havasupai is the name of the Native American Reservation the hike and falls are located on.

Go Wander Wild Page Break

  • Location: Havasupai, Arizona, nestled within the Grand Canyon
  • Distance: ~20-miles*, out-and-back
  • Elevation gain: 2,400 ft
  • Difficulty rating: moderate
  • Timing: Typically takes 4-7 hours to hike in and 5-8 hours to hike out, it is recommended you spend 2-3 nights there to experience the various falls
  • Pets: No pets allowed on the trail
  • Permits: Permits are required for both hiking and overnight camping in Havasupai
  • View the trail notes

*A note on total distance:

Though the trail indicates 10 miles of hiking, one way, I can assure you that you’ll be covering much more than 20 miles in total during this backpacking adventure.

Determining the exact total distance can be challenging, and will depend on a few factors:

  • Camping location: The trailhead is roughly 10 miles away from the campground’s start. The campground itself spans about 1 mile, and if you camp towards the far end (like we did), you’ll likely hike at least 11 miles just to reach your campsite.
  • Waterfall visits: The 10-mile distance only accounts for reaching your campsite. You’ll end up hiking additional miles during your time at Havasupai as the main waterfalls are spread out, requiring more hiking to move between them. For instance, the round trip to and from Beaver Falls from the campground totals about 6 miles.
  • Confluence hike: Opting for the optional hike to the confluence of the Colorado River adds another 12 miles or more to your journey.

Based on our personal experience, we logged over 40 miles of hiking during our 4-day backpacking trip in Havasupai, which included the Confluence hike. 

Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai, Arizona

The Havasu Falls hike offers a remarkable journey through the heart of the Grand Canyon, leading adventurers to a series of stunning waterfalls nestled within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. 

The trail winds through breathtaking desert landscapes with captivating vistas and natural wonders along the way. 

Highlights of the hike include wandering through the town of Supai, encountering a number of majestic waterfalls, swimming in the turquoise pools, and camping overnight in the valley. 

Psst! Did you know the Havasu Falls hike trail is one of the best hikes in Arizona !?

Things to know before you go

There are a few things to consider and planning to be done ahead of time before you can begin your Havasu Falls hike. 

Best time of year for the Havasu Falls hike

Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai, Arizona

The best time of year to tackle the Havasu Falls hike depends on personal preferences and weather conditions. While the trail is open year-round, hikers should consider factors such as temperature, crowd levels, and seasonal variations in water flow. 

While the weather in Arizona is sometimes thought to be warm and sunny year-round, temperatures in the canyon are quite variable and even drop as low as freezing at times. 

For this reason, Spring and Fall are the most popular and optimal seasons for hiking to Havasupai. During these seasons, you’re most likely to experience mild temperatures and vibrant landscapes. 

Summer brings increased water flow in the falls, but comes with the price of extreme hot weather. Winter hiking is possible but may require additional preparation for cold temperatures.

How long does it take to hike to Havasu Falls?

Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai, Arizona

The average time to hike to Havasupai ranges from 4 to 7 hours one way, depending on individual fitness levels, pace, and rest stops. 

While some hikers complete the trek in a single day, we do not recommend this. Instead, we would highly recommend taking advantage of the 4-day permit and spending 3 nights camping at the Havasupai campground.

This is how we chose to spread out our Havasupai hike and it gave us enough time to relax and rest our legs, while also getting to explore all of the Havasupai waterfalls and complete the Confluence Hike. 

Our experience: We are avid hikers and it took us 4 hours in and 4 hours and 20 minutes out with a few snack and photo breaks sprinkled in. 

How difficult is the Havasu Falls hike?

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

The Havasu Falls hike is rated as moderate in difficulty , requiring a reasonable level of fitness and preparation. However, the answer to this question will really depend more on your personal experience and level of fitness. 

While the trail features some challenging sections , including steep switchbacks at the beginning of the descent, most of the hike is relatively flat and manageable . However, hikers should be prepared for the distance and elevation changes, as well as the desert terrain and weather conditions.

Obtaining a permit for your Havasu Falls hike

Permits for the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai

Permits are required for hiking and camping in the Havasupai Indian Reservation and must be obtained through a competitive lottery system . 

Hikers must apply for permits well in advance and should be prepared for limited availability and high demand. Additionally, hikers must adhere to the permit regulations, check in at the Grand Canyon Cavern Inn, and display their permits and wristbands at all times during the hike.

We have a complete article on our sister site, Two Wandering Soles, that breaks down exactly what you need to know about getting a permit for your Havasu Falls hike . 

We broke down the route for the Havasu Falls hike into parts to give you an idea of what to expect on the trail.

Part I: Descending into the Grand Canyon

Havasu Falls hike trailhead in Havasupai, Arizona

Starting your expedition at the Hualapai Hilltop, the initial descent through a series of switchbacks is quicker than expected. As you progress, the trail gradually descends into a narrow canyon, offering a refreshing change of scenery. 

This section is exposed to the sun, so we recommend getting an early start which will offer shaded relief from the canyon walls. 

Part II: Hiking through a narrow canyon

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

  • Mile 2 – 7.5

The subsequent stretch covers approximately 6 miles of mostly flat terrain with a subtle decline. 

Walking atop a dry river bed in a narrow canyon, you’ll encounter gravel sections that require good ankle support . However, the breathtaking views and potential shade make this part of the hike enjoyable, especially if you begin early.

Part III: Supai village exploration

Supai Village on the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

  • Mile 7.5 – 8

Around mile 7.5, you’ll reach Supai village, marked by signs prohibiting photography beyond this point . The village offers a glimpse into local life with farmsteads, rock formations, and essential amenities like a medical center, grocery store, and cafe.

Part IV: Passing by enchanting waterfalls

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

  • Mile 8 – 10

Leaving the village, you’ll trek approximately 2 miles to the campground, passing by three stunning waterfalls: Fifty Foot, Lower Navajo, and the iconic Havasu Falls. 

We recommend not lingering too long at the falls and instead maintaining a steady pace to secure a campsite. You will have plenty of opportunity to return and savor the sight of Havasu Falls after setting up camp. 

Campground experience

Havasu Falls hike campground in Havasupai, Arizona

Arriving at the campground, you’ll realize that finding a suitable campsite can be a task in itself, given the campground’s size. Be prepared to spend time scouting sites and potentially walking an extra mile if needed.

Hike to the waterfalls at Havasupai

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

Once you’ve made it to the Havasupai campground and set up camp, your permit allows you to stay for 4 days in total. If you’re hiking in on Day 1 and hiking out on Day 2, you’ll have two days in between to spend relaxing and visiting the various waterfalls in the area.

Because of the distance between the Havasupai waterfalls, we’d recommend splitting up your waterfall hikes into 2 days. Visit Mooney and Beaver Falls together on one day, and Navajo and Fifty Foot Falls on another day.

Havasu Falls is close to the campground area and has a nice area for swimming, so you can plan to visit as many times as you like.

The Confluence Hike

The Confluence Hike Havasupai, Arizona

  • Distance: 12 miles, out and back
  • Elevation gain: 2,975 ft
  • Difficulty rating: Challenging

There is an optional hike you can take on one of your days in Havasupai called The Confluence Hike. This particular hike marks the juncture where the Havasupai Creek merges with the Colorado River.

It is an epic hike and the trail is notably less crowded than other parts of Havasupai. However, it is challenging! It’s about a 12-mile round-trip journey (from the campsite) on a pretty rugged trail that involves river crossings.

Tip: Combine this hike with your visit to Beaver Falls, which is on the way!

Hiking out of Havasupai

Havasu Falls hike out of Havasupai, Arizona

On your return journey, you’ll reverse the trail sections. The hike out will take a bit longer than your hike in since you’ll be gaining elevation. 

We recommend getting an early start to beat the traffic on the trail and return to your car at a reasonable time. Plan about 5-8 hours for your hike out. 

While there are uphill stretches, particularly noticeable in the final mile with steep switchbacks , the gradual incline makes it manageable. The adrenaline rush from nearing the parking lot often eases any challenges encountered along the way.

Tips for hiking Havasupai

Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai, Arizona

We picked up some helpful tips from our own experience hiking the Havasupai trail. 

  • Plan and prepare for your Havasu Falls hike well in advance. Preparation includes obtaining permits, packing appropriate gear, and familiarizing yourself with the trail.
  • We recommend bringing 3L of water per person on the Havasu Falls hike
  • Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing, especially during hot weather.
  • Use the bathroom at the trailhead parking lot. There are no restrooms on the trail until you reach Supai Village (about 8 miles into your hike). 
  • Start your hike early. The first 3 or so miles of the hike into the canyon are fairly exposed, but if you get an early enough start, you will still get some shade from the canyon walls. 
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Havasupai tribe.
  • Stay on designated trails and follow all posted regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.
  • Get a campsite before checking out the waterfalls. The scramble to get a good campsite is real. We wound up walking around the campsite for another hour or so before we found a good spot to wedge our tent in between others. Though it may be tempting to stop and oogle at the waterfalls when you first arrive, you’ll have plenty of time for oogling after setting up camp. 
  • Leave a jug of water and some snacks in your car for when you return to the parking lot after your hike out. 
  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas. The trailhead parking lot is sort of in the middle of nowhere, without any gas stations around for miles. Having a full tank of gas when you arrive will ensure you don’t get started on your drive out. 

Where to camp at Havasupai

Havasu Falls hike campground in Havasupai, Arizona

Camping is available at the Havasupai Campground, located near Havasu Falls. 

The campground offers basic amenities, including restrooms and picnic tables, and campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Things to know about the Havasupai Campground

Havasu Falls hike campground Havasupai, Arizona

  • The campground spans one mile in length. If you find a spot at the far end, you’ll have to factor an extra mile into your hiking. 
  • Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls bookend the campground , with Havasu Falls located closer to the beginning and Mooney Falls near the opposite end. The campground’s prime location along Havasupai Creek ensures that many campsites are conveniently close to the water’s edge.
  • While navigating the area, you’ll encounter makeshift bridges over parts of the river , which offer access to additional campsites on the opposite bank. 
  • Most campsites lack significant privacy , fostering a communal atmosphere where tent neighbors often become trail companions.
  • Due to its popularity, the campground consistently accommodates between 300 to 400 campers nightly . Arriving early is crucial for securing a desirable campsite, underscoring the importance of beginning your hike early on Day 1.
  • While the water doesn’t require filtering, we recommend using an additional filtration device (such as a Steripen or Grayl self-filtering water bottles ) as a precaution.

What to pack for the Havasu Falls hike

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

The Havasupai hike is a unique backpacking experience that requires particular gear. We’ve listed out exactly what we brought below.

  • Printed out permit**
  • When checking in at the Grand Canyon Cavern Inn, trip leaders must present their photo ID along with their printed permit.
  • You’ll need cash if you want to eat at the Indian fry bread stand at Havasu Falls or the cafe in town. It’s also a good idea to have on you in case of emergency.
  • Get your first week of using Alltrails+ for FREE when you sign up using our link !
  • Portable battery charger ( this is our favorite one that can hold 5 charges)
  • Before your hike, be sure it is well-stocked and replace any necessary items.
  • We hiked for many years without this, but now that we have it, we think it’s an essential – especially when we’re in an area with zero cell service and potentially very hazardous conditions.

Backpacking gear

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

  • a rain cover is recommended too, especially if you’re hiking during monsoon season
  • Lots of layers (here is a great resource if you’re wondering what to wear hiking )
  • Comfortable hiking boots or shoes
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Packing cubes or stuff sacks to keep items compressed and organized
  • Dry bag (we always carry one with us for our valuables in case of rain)
  • Camera/tripod ( this one’s our favorite for hiking)
  • Lightweight tent: find out the best 2-person tents for camping and backpacking
  • Check out the average temperatures in Havasupai during the month you’ll be visiting to make sure your sleeping bag is sufficient! 
  • Ultralight inflatable sleeping pad ( this is the one we use )
  • Foam pad : Layer a foam pad with your inflatable sleeping pad for maximum comfort!
  • Camping pillow (optional – we have this one )
  • Microfiber towel or sarong
  • Bug repellant (especially if you’re visiting Havasupai from May – September)
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, hat, sun glasses
  • Toilet kit: toilet paper, lightweight poo shovel , bag for packing out TP, Kula cloth
  • Hand sanitizer ( my all-time favorite hand sani! )
  • Wipes 
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, & floss

Food & Water

Havasu Falls hike Havasupai, Arizona

  • We highly recommend bringing a bladder as it makes it so much easier to carry large amounts of water and to hydrate while hiking (without needing to stop)
  • Make sure you fill this with water before driving to the trailhead as there is no water fill there.
  • Way to purify your water (we love our Grayl water bottles , and before them we always brought along our Steripen )
  • These are our go-to tips for backpacking food
  • Note: There are a few limited food options within Havasupai
  • Plenty of snacks: check out our favorite hiking snacks here !
  • Electrolyte tablets ( we like these )
  • Tea bags for at night (optional)
  • Aeropress , coffee grounds, and collapsible cups (optional)
  • Don’t forget propane, but FYI: you can’t fly with this!
  • Lighter and/or matches
  • Utensils 
  • Collapsible bowls
  • We’d recommend just boiling water in a Jetboil or something similar instead of cooking in a pot. You can simply add boiling water to your dehydrated meal pouch, eliminating the need to do lots of dishes.
  • You should plan to pack everything you brought out with you (including trash)
  • Small bottle of biodegradable soap
  • Small microfiber towel for drying dishes and other gear
  • Bear canister or food storage bag (we use this one that is designed to keep critters out)

*Don’t forget to pack your permit! 

Be sure to download our FREE hiking packing list before your next trip and never leave another essential behind again!

Hiking Packing List | Go Wander Wild

You may also like…

  • Best Hikes in Sedona, Arizona for All Levels
  • Backpacking for Beginners: Ultimate Guide
  • What to Wear Hiking in Every Season
  • Best Hiking Snacks: Healthy & Delicious Trekking Food

Save this article on Pinterest for later!

Havasu Falls Hike | Go Wander Wild

We want to hear from you!

Have you done the famous Havasu Falls hike in Arizona? What was your experience like? Are you planning a trip to Arizona for hiking and want more advice? Comment below and let us know!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Two Roaming Souls

How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls | Ultimate Guide

By Author Emily Junda

Posted on Last updated: January 29, 2024

Categories Arizona , Backpacking , Travel Guides

Havasu Falls is one of the most majestic places on earth! It’s a side canyon of the Grand Canyon that has beautiful blue/green water that creates many stunning waterfalls as it makes its way through the canyon. There are 5 named waterfalls, but endless smaller terraced waterfalls mixed in along the way. In this post, I am going to give you all the details for how to plan a trip to Havasu Falls! 

Havasu Falls is one of the stops on a havasu falls backpacking trip

Note: This is a long post because I didn’t want to leave out any details, but each section is labeled, so feel free to skip to the sections you are most interested in.

Take A Virtual Tour With Us From Our Trip To Havasu Falls:

Screenshot of Two Roaming Souls Havasupai Teaser Video from 2018

Hiking Stats To Havasu Falls:

These statistics include hiking all 5 waterfalls from Hualapai Hilltop to Beaver Falls

Distance: 24 miles

Elevation: 3,651 feet

Difficulty: Difficult

Type: Out & back

Permit: Yes

Bathroom: At Trailhead, Town of Supai & Campground

Important Updates To The 2024 Havausu Falls Permits

  • There is only one 3-night permit offered for camping (no matter the duration you plan to stay).
  • The permit cost for the campground has risen to $455 per person .
  • The rate for the Havasupai Lodge has risen to $2,277 for a 3-night stay.
  • Presale does not guarantee a reservation spot, but it does increase your chance of receiving a reservation spot on your desired dates.
  • Public reservations will be available starting from February 1st .
  • Mule reservations, (for luggage only), cost $200 per trip.

Reservations/Permits For A Trip To Havasu Falls:

You MUST have a permit to hike to Havasu Falls. No day hiking is allowed. Reservations for Havasupai falls can be hard to come by, so you need to be prepared well in advance to snag one. There is a new permit system as of January 2019.

NEW:  You must create an account on HavasuapiReservations.com before purchasing a permit. This is to help public reservations on Feb 1 go much smoother.

Permits go on sale February 1st at 8 am (ARIZONA TIME) each year. The reservations are available for the whole calendar year following from February 1st-November 30th.

What Months Aren’t You Allowed At Havasu Falls?

The reservation is closed to tourists for the months of December and January .

Reservations are non-transferable and non-refundable. (Sometimes they make special exceptions). You can make reservations at:

https://www.havasupaireservations.com/ or call

  • (928) 448-2180
  • (928) 448-2237
  • (928) 448-2141
  • (928) 448-2121

Facebook Groups For Planning A Trip To Havasu Falls:

Or some Facebook Groups offer advice. But most Facebook Groups you need to request to be in the group. Some reputable Facebook Groups For How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls are: Havasupai and Havasu Falls , Havasu Falls 2021 , etc.

Cost Of A Trip To Havasu Falls:

The updated cost for a Havasu Falls Permit is $455 per person. This permit is good for 3-nights, 4-days at the reservation.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Havasu Falls:

The real answer is whenever you can snag a permit. But there are definitely better times to go throughout the year. 

In our opinion, it’s best to go when it is warm (Spring-Fall) so you can enjoy swimming in the stunning aqua blue water! 

But, monsoon season is something you need to be aware of, because the trail can close down at any time if the reservation feels it is unsafe. Monsoon season is typically from June 1st-September 30th, but can happen at any time. (The Havasupai Reservation had a monsoon July 11, 2018, followed by another smaller monsoon closing the trail until September 1, 2018). 

Another thing to consider is the Havasupai Tribe will shut down the trail if the temperature gets above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, we believe the best times to aim for are Late April/March or late September/Early October. 

Although they only allow 150 people during Monsoon Season and 300 during other peak times, therefore it will be more crowded in spring and fall. During those times the weather should still be relatively hot enough to swim in the water, and has less chance from a monsoon or heat shutting the trail down.

What If I missed the February 1st Reservation Opening For Havasu Falls Permits?

There are a few alternative ways to get a permit to Havasu Falls if you miss the February 1st reservation opening date, but it isn’t guaranteed. I wouldn’t bank on one of these options, but you might get lucky! 

Check Facebook Groups

One way to snag a Havasu Falls Permit after the Feb 1st reservation opening is to join a Facebook Group for Havasu Falls Backpacking. Life happens and a lot of people’s plans change. Reservations aren’t transferable, but people might have a few people drop out of their group and need additional members.

One catch is you usually have to be with the person whose name is on the reservation, so you will have to link up with them to coordinate hiking plans. We joined this group: Backpacking Havasu Falls , and people are always looking for other people to take their friends reservations.

Stay At The Lodge Instead Of The Campground

Another way, is to stay in the Lodge in Supai. People have up to 2 weeks ahead of their reservation to cancel it. There might be a waitlist you can put your name on for cancellations. But do note, the cost is $2,277 per night. Up to 4 people can stay in a lodge room which is $569 per person.

Check the Havasu Falls Cancellation & Transfers Page.

There is also the option to check the Havasu Falls Cancellation & Transfers Page for reservations that have been canceled.

havasu falls trip report

Trailhead For Havasu Falls:

The name of the trailhead is Hualapai Hilltop (or Havasupai Trailhead). To get here you turn off AZ-66 onto Indian Rd 18 and continue for 60 miles. The road dead-ends at the trailhead parking lot.

Also, you can put in Havasupai Trailhead into Google Maps and it will bring you to the parking lot.

Try to avoid driving Indian Rd 18 in the dark, because there is wildlife and free-range cattle all along this road. There is not nearly enough parking spaces in the lot, so many people have to park along the road next to the canyon rock walls. The line of cars can extend as far as a ½+ mile from the trailhead (which is extra miles you have to hike there and back).

The office for any helicopter rides, horse rides and bag drop offs (more info below) is located at the end of the parking lot near the start of the trail. If you’re carrying all your own gear yourself down to Havasupai, you don’t need to check-in at the trailhead. Instead, you will check-in at the office in the village of Supai (8 miles down the trail).

havasu falls trip report

Camping At The Havasupai Trailhead: 

Many people arrive the night before their reservation date and sleep in their car to ensure an early start time. There are restrooms located at the trailhead. 

It’s not advised to set up your tent in the parking lot, because you will be taking spots from other hikers and many cars arrive at night and might not see your tent pulling into a spot. 

There were tents set up on the ridge behind the restrooms that overlooks the canyon, but I don’t think it is allowed. 

Also, it’s a good idea to bring ear plugs & eye mask if you are sensitive to light or sound, because the parking lot tends to be active with cars and people throughout the night. The last thing you want is a bad night of sleep before your big trip to Havasu Falls!

Cell Service At Havasu Falls: 

You might be wondering what kind of cell service there is near Havasu Falls. Verizon will have minimal cell service at the parking lot. I had 3 bars and Extended LTE.  AT&T didn’t have service. Unsure about other providers.

Should I fill Up my Gas Tank Before Visiting Havasu Falls: 

It’s a good idea to fill up on gas before venturing out to the trailhead for Havasu Falls. The last gas stations before Havasupai Trailhead will be Seligman, AZ (if coming from the East) or Peach Springs, AZ (if coming from the West).

I’d suggest filling the tank in Williams, AZ (if coming from the East) or Kingman, AZ (if coming from the West) because it will be cheaper. You can always top off your gas tank at Seligman or Peach Springs if you are worried. We suggest getting the GasBuddy App to find the cheapest gas near you. 

When To Start Hiking For Havasu Falls: 

We highly suggest starting the hike before sunrise, because for most of the year the trail will be hot! 

On our way down we woke up at 3:30am and were on the trail by 4am, along with many other hikers. You should have a good flashlight or headlamp if you plan to hike in the dark.  The first half mile descends steep switchbacks, and going off trail could be dangerous. Leaving at 4am gave us enough time to get to the campground before the heat of the day. 

On the way back up, we left at 5:30am and encountered the sun toward the end of the hike which almost immediately made the hike more challenging. The final switchbacks were about 50% shade and we were thankful for any amount of shade at that point. 

Check when the sunrise is during the time of year you go and plan to leave a few hours before. However, the Tribe doesn’t like visitors hiking through the village of Supai at night. Since Supai is about 2 miles from the campground, there’s kind of a sweet spot where you start hiking at night but don’t pass through Supai until just after first light.

havasu falls trip report

How Long Does It Take to Get To Havasu Falls: 

When planning a trip to Havasu Falls, you might be wondering how long the hike actually takes. The hike to the town of Supai is 8 miles, and then an additional 2 miles to the start of the campground.

It took us around 5 hours each way (Hualapai Hilltop to Campground & Vice Versa) with stopping for pictures and a couple of snack breaks along the way. 

havasu falls trip report

Checking In At The Supai Office For Havasu Falls: 

There is an office located at the beginning of the Town of Supai (8 miles from Hilltop) where you need to check in and show your reservation number. You will have to sign a waiver and list all members in your party.

They will give each person a wristband that you are required to keep on during your stay (rangers do check) and a tent tag to attach visible to rangers walking the trail. You also will receive a packet of papers that has information and maps of the village and the campground.

a tent at the campground for havasu falls

Campground For Havasu Falls:

Tent or hammock camping in the campground is what the majority of visitors do. The campground is first-come, first-serve, so there is yet another advantage of leaving early in the morning.

The campground is 2 miles further past the town of Supai. You are only allowed to camp between the ranger station which is located right near the first restrooms and fourth restrooms by the top of Mooney Falls which stretches about ¾ of a mile.

Many people choose to camp along the river but there are many located on higher ground along the canyon walls. There are campsites located on both sides of the river but due to the flash flood in July 2018, some bridges were washed away.

There is still one “bridge” located further down the trail about a ¼ mile from where the river splits. Otherwise, you might have to get in the water up to your waist to cross to the other side of the river. (Hopefully they are planning to add more bridges for the future).

The campground gets VERY CROWDED, so just be prepared to have neighbors very close. We had people set up 5 feet from our tent, so be prepared to make some new friends! If you are sensitive to noise or light, this is another good time to have earplugs and an eye mask.

While most of the campground is close to at least one bathroom, the first half is definitely closer to the water source (info below). However, the beginning of the campground tends to be more crowded. You will just have to feel it out when you arrive and find a situation that works for you.

havasu falls trip report

Campfires At Havasupai Campground:

As nice as it would be to have a campfire on a trip to Havasu Falls at night, campfires are strictly prohibited. So don’t plan to cook any food over a campfire and plan your clothing accordingly. We suggest having a Jetboil or MSR Pocket Rocket  for easy backpacking meals. 

havasu falls trip report

For the best camp stoves check out our post: Best Camp Stoves For Backpacking

Drinking Water At Havasu Falls: 

It is recommended to have a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person for each day of hiking. There is no drinking water located at the trailhead or anywhere along the trail until you reach the town of Supai. 

There is a water faucet located at the Tourist Office, Lodge and General Store. But most people will be able to make it until the campground for water. 

The only potable water located at the campground is called Fern Spring. You will see signs for it on the left side of the trail just after the Ranger Station. Many drink the water from Fern Spring unfiltered, but even the Tribe suggested that we filter it. 

We figured it’d be a shame if one of us got sick in such an epic place. We use the  Platypus GravityWorks water-filter system , and we absolutely love it! 

You can filter the water straight from Havasu Creek, but it’s suggested to have a high-end water filter due to contaminants coming downstream. You will notice that the village of Supai has tons of horses. So when you consider all the horse waste plus the visitors “interacting” with Havasu Creek, the tantalizing blue water suddenly doesn’t seem so enticing to drink. 

The water at the campground really isn’t that far of a walk and much safer. Therefore, I would only drink the water from Havasu Creek in an emergency.

Should You Be Worried About Critters At Havasu Falls: 

There are a lot of critters who love to eat human food such as mice, squirrels, etc. We suggest having a Rodent Resistant Bag  or a Bear Canister.  And you will want to keep your food out of your tent, because these critters will make a hole if they suspect food. 

A couple we met at Havasu Falls lost all their trail mix to a pesky squirrel. They hung their food on a line, but the squirrel ate through the line, ate through their bag and found the trail mix. The funny part is that they ate the nuts and M&Ms, but left the raisins. 

Note : It’s a good idea to bring spare cash incase this happens and you want to purchase food from the frybread stands or cafe.

Also, be aware of snakes and scorpions. Thankfully, we didn’t see any, but I suggest keeping your shoes inside the tent just to be safe.

Weather For Havasu Falls: 

Havasupai goes through different seasons. But their winter tends to be mild. And like mentioned above people aren’t allowed at the reservation during the colder months (December/January). But if you want to sleep in much cooler temperatures, February/March & October/November will be a bit cooler.

Spring & Fall will have the best temperatures (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) to visit Havasu Falls. But those permits tend to get picked up first. 

The summer weather can get a little too hot (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Luckily there is a flowing creek to help keep you cool. But the hike in and out for your Havasupai Trip could be extreme. 

What If Rain Is In The Forecast For Havasu Falls:

Check the weather before going. If it is going to be raining you will want to check to make sure they are allowing people to enter the reservation. If you get a permit during Monsoon Season, check a week or so before you go that the reservation is open, because if they get a monsoon, they sometimes close down to fix paths/campground for tourists.

Wifi & Cell Service In Havasu Falls: 

Surprisingly, there is cell service in the town of Supai. Both Jake and I had cell service in the town of Supai, but there is also wifi available. But, you are in the most beautiful place, so who really needs wifi?!

Lodging For Havasu Falls:

If camping isn’t your style, lodging is available as well. The Lodge is located in the town of Supai. Lodging goes on sale February 1st @ 8am (ARIZONA TIME). The rate per night is $175.00 (without taxes & fees) which accommodates up to 4 people. An additional entrance fee of $90.00 per person will be charged upon arrival. 

You can cancel your reservation 2 weeks before arrival for a full refund, cancellation within 2 weeks is non-refundable. Due to cancellations, you might be able to get a permit through the lodge later in the year. You can call to make reservations at: (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201.

Can You Buy Food In Havasupai?

There are a few different places to buy food in Havasupai, such as the general store, cafe or frybread stand. 

General Store in Supai: 

If you forgot something on your Havasupai Trip or need a snack, don’t worry because there is a general store that is similar to a gas station store. Be prepared to pay high prices as they have to fly all their supplies in. There hours are Monday-Friday: 7am to 5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 5pm. (Hours may vary)

havasu falls trip report

There is a cafe located before you approach the established part of Supai. They serve the “famous” fry bread along with burgers and fries. Their hours are from 8am to 5pm (hours may vary).

havasu falls trip report

Fry Bread: 

There are also 3 frybread (fried dough) stands between the village and the campground. The hours vary and don’t seem super reliable (see sign above). But some people take the trek out to grab a “famous” frybread! Our camping neighbors grabbed some frybread and indian tacos and let us have a taste! They were delicious. They are cash only, so plan ahead if you want to indulge. 

havasu falls trip report

Backpacking To Havasu Falls: 

Backpacking to Havasu Falls with your own gear there and back is by far the cheapest option, but also the hardest option. Jake and I strongly suggest this mode of transportation! You will feel very accomplished if you hike in and out with everything on your back! Try to pack as light as you can and try hiking early to avoid the sun. (Packing list below).

havasu falls trip report

Check out our post: Ultimate Backpacking Checklist for what to pack for a Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip

Pack Mules At Havasu Falls:

horses lined up to take everyones packs back up the trail at havasu falls

(The Havasupai reservation is trying to encourage packing in and out your own gear if you are able). 

But, if you feel you will need assistance with your bags, then having your gear sent via pack mule is your best option. You must have your bags checked in at the registration office located at the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot by 7am for the way down. They will advise you where to pick up your backpack and where to drop it off for the way back up. 

havasu falls trip report

The maximum size and weight limit are strictly enforced. Each pack mule can carry a maximum of 4 bags or total weight of 130lbs. The maximum bag size must not be larger than the standard military size duffle bag (36 inches long and 21 inches wide). 

For a cooler, the max size is 48 quarts and must not exceed 24 inches long, 19 inches wide, & 16 inches in height. If you are with a group, you could split a pack mule with 3 other people to cut the price down. (Price is per pack mule)

  • Hualapai Hilltop to Supai (Lodge) or Campground: $132 one way or $264 roundtrip.
  • $300 extra charge for missing the 7am campsite bag drop off

Note: There has been a lot of backlash about the working conditions for these animals. If you search the internet you will quickly find documentation of malnutrition and poor working conditions even resulting in death to some animals. 

The group behind this website, HavasupaiHorses.org , has been trying to help fix the situation since 2016. Because the Havasupai Tribe is a sovereign nation, it is difficult to enforce US laws. However, it seems that pressure on the Tribe has resulted in improvements. 

We paid close attention to the mules, and the 30 or so that we saw looked healthy. But there’s obviously more to a horses wellbeing than just looking healthy. My advice is to avoid using the horses altogether if you can.

Riding a Saddle Horse To Havasu Falls:

This option is not the cheapest, but could be a fun experience. Each person is allowed one small day pack. Therefore, you’d have to pay an additional rate for a pack mule to carry your additional bag/s. The maximum weight limit is 250lbs including person and daypack. (Price is per saddle horse)

  • Hualapai Hilltop to Supai (Lodge) or Campground: $250 one way or $500 roundtrip
  • Supai Village to Campground: $175 one way or $350 roundtrip

Helicopter Rides For Havasu Falls: 

Backpacking isn’t for everyone, so we noticed a lot of people hiked in, but decided to get the helicopter out. But definitely don’t rely on using this service, because it isn’t the most reliable. No reservations are taken for helicopter transportation. 

The Airwest Helicopter Company is not associated with Havasupai Tourist Enterprise (the company you get reservations through). Helicopter rides are on a first come, first serve basis. Helicopter rides start at 9am (from Supai) but it is encouraged to arrive a few hours before to put your name on the list.

There is a check in office located at Hualapai Hilltop for rides to the village and a check in office in Supai Village for rides back to Hualapai Hilltop. The helicopter ride takes about 3 minutes one way. Havasupai Tribe members will take priority over tourists.

  • Hualapai Hilltop to Supai: $85 one way

Drugs & Alcohol Rules At Havasu Falls: 

The Havasupai Reservation doesn’t allow the consumption of drugs or alcohol anywhere on the reservation. So please don’t bring any with you. 

The 5 Waterfalls At Havasupai: 

There are 5 different named waterfalls along the hike to Havasupai Falls. Each waterfall is stunning in their own unique way!

Fifty Foot Falls: 

fifty foot falls, one of the waterfall stops on how to plan a trip to havasu falls

Fifty Foot Falls is the first waterfalls you will encounter. About ½ mile past the village, an unmarked trail will veer to the left. The trail to the right will take you straight to the campground, but if you want to take your pack off and take a little detour take the trail to the left. 

We set our packs down and changed our footwear so we could cross the water and get a good look at the waterfalls. I believe many people miss this falls because they hurry to the campground and you’d have to backtrack (3 miles roundtrip) from the campground to reach this one. 

And don’t expect to see it on your way out because if you leave early morning on your departure day (our recommendation), it will be dark when you pass it. 

Little Navajo Falls: 

fifty foot falls, one of the waterfall stops on how to plan a trip to havasu falls

Little Navajo Falls is shortly after Fifty Foot Falls. Continue down the path past Fifty Foot Falls and along the river you will see small terraced waterfalls leading to another larger drop. This waterfall has changed since the last Monsoon. We spent a few minutes enjoying the falls and taking some pictures before heading on to the campground. There is a path to the right that leads you back up to the path that takes you to the campground.

Havasu Falls: 

About ½ mile before reaching the campground, you will come across the breathtaking “Havasu Falls”. You will hear the giant falls before you can see them.

Continue on the path down toward the campground and to your right, you will see the beautiful aqua blue falls. Since this is only ½ mile from the campground, we snapped a few photos and continued on to set up camp and change into bathing suits before heading back.

havasu falls from a distance

The sun will pass fast on this falls between the tall canyon, so head there mid-morning and stay to swim til early afternoon if you want to get some sun! (May vary based on time of year)

Mooney Falls:

mooney falls on a havasu trip with the cool features of the trail in the shot

Mooney Falls is a stunning 200 foot drop into a deep aqua pool. Mooney Falls is actually very similar to Havasu Falls, but a bit taller and much harder to reach the bottom.

The campground ends right near the top of Mooney falls, so some dare-devil people set up camp right along the cliff above Mooney Falls. But you are not supposed to set up past the last bathrooms, so perhaps they got reprimanded.

If you plan to hike down be sure to use the bathrooms before heading down the treacherous ladders down to the bottom of Mooney Falls. The path down to Mooney Falls is dangerous but doable. You sign a waiver upon your arrival at the tourist office stating you will not hold the Havasupai Tribe accountable for any mishaps. But honestly, if you take your time and be extra cautious, you will make it up and down with no problems.

a view of mooney falls on a havasu falls trip from the distance

The path down consists of climbing down a steep canyon rock wall. You will first descend through 2 tunnels with stair-like carvings in the rocks until you reach the steepest section with ladders held up by bolts and chains to hold onto. Mooney Falls sprays mist on the rocks and chains, so they can be very slippery. Since there is only one route to travel up and down, it can become very crowded.

It is best to go early to avoid lines, and especially best to go before the crowds start to make their way back up, but once there are lines either direction, it might be nearly impossible to go the opposite direction of the crowds.

We encountered a couple trying to go down at about 3pm. They were perched in the rock face about halfway down the ladders with no way to communicate to the line of people coming up. I bet they waited almost 30 minutes for an opportunity to go the rest of the way down.

Screenshot of Two Roaming Souls Climbing To The Bottom Of Mooney Falls

Beaver Falls: 

beaver falls, one of the waterfall stops on how to plan a trip to havasu falls

Beaver Falls is the last of the 5 named waterfalls. Located 2 miles from the end of the campground you will finally reach one of the many cascade pools you can swim in. This one is also the hardest to get to due to its length and challenging paths. 

Beaver Falls is about 2 miles further down the river from Mooney Falls. There is a trail to the left if you are looking down the creek. The path changes to each side of the river, so you will need to cross the creek a few times. 

About .5 miles from Mooney you will encounter very plush green vegetation between the canyon walls. Follow the path until you reach a giant tree that looks like a palm tree with no trunk. There are 2 paths you can take from here: the high road or the low road. 

The high road will climb a couple ladders on the right, just after the palm tree.  We suggest if you plan to take the low road to do it on the way there so you are going with the current. You will encounter a few small waterfalls you have to either pass on the side or jump down to continue toward Beaver Falls. 

If you take the low road, beware that the water level changes throughout the year, so you can’t always walk along the creek floor, and have to swim in areas. it’s about a 1/4 mile till you reach the top of Beaver Falls. 

It may be tempting to jump the waterfalls at Beaver but it is against the Havasupai Tribe rules. (We also don’t know how deep it is or if any rocks or logs are in the way.) 

In order to get to the bottom of Beaver Falls you will need to scale a wall for about 8 feet and climb a rope down a steep rock wall to the left if looking down the falls or if looking to the right, you can connect with the high road and continue that way. 

If you choose the high road, you have to climb a few ladders and along narrow paths with large cliffs to one side. Both are doable, but again be extra cautious. 

If you want the sun to be shining while you explore Beaver Falls, you should plan to get there before noon.  

Screenshot of Two Roaming Souls Youtube video on Taking The Low Road To Beaver Falls Havasupai

Hiking To The Colorado River From Havasu Falls: 

Many people don’t make it past Beaver Falls, but if you are up for the challenge, you can hike to the Confluence where Havasu Creek and the Colorado River meet up at the Grand Canyon. The hike is an additional 4 miles from Beaver Falls (12 miles round-trip from the end of the campground). 

Jake & I decided to turn back after Beaver Falls, but some brave soles decide to hike down to the Colorado River. The trail starts to the right if you are looking down river from Beaver Falls. 

There are two ways to get down the ridge, one requiring rappelling and the other safely descending over the ridge to the right. The hike is said to be difficult and hard to follow at times, but inevitably follows the river. You will need to do many river crossings along the way to stay on the trail. 

It is advised to start this hike at sunrise and to bring a headlamp in case you underestimate the time it will take you. Bring at least 2 gallons of water or a water filter, sunscreen, & extra snacks.

Packing List For Havasu Falls: 

(Links included to our favorite products)

  • Printed Permit
  • Backpacking Pack
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Hiking Socks
  • Water bladder or water bottle
  • High Energy Food: Trail mix, energy bars, jerky etc.
  • Electrolytes
  • Sleeping Bag –> Check out our article on How To Choose The Right Sleeping Bag 
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sunscreen  (Travel Size)
  • Pants (for night)
  • Layers (Check the weather- It can get chilly at night)
  • Chaco’s or keens –> Check out our article on our Gear Review: Chaco’s
  • Backpacking Towel
  • Ultralight Daypack
  • Bug Spray  (Travel Size)
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper (They supply, but they DO run out occasionally)
  • First AidKit
  • Inhaler (for people who have asthma)
  • Rodent Resistant Bag  or  Bear Canister
  • Food for lunch & dinner
  • Cash (most places in the village only accept cash or if they do accept credit they charge a percentage)
  • Hiking Poles
  • Biodegradable shampoo & conditioner
  • Cards/games
  • Rain Jacket
  • Battery Pack
  • Camp Pillow
  • Raft/Floaty (make sure to pack it back out with you)

Contact Info:

  • Camping reservations: (928) 448-2180, (928) 448-2237, (928) 448-2141, or (928) 448-2121 Or https://www.havasupaireservations.com/

Reservation lines are open from 9 A.M. – 3 P.M. on Monday through Friday

  • Lodging reservations: (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201

Takeaway | How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls In Havasupai

Havasu Falls is one of the most special places on earth. When you are there, you don’t know how something so majestic exists. While it may be an expensive and hard trip to plan, it will be worth every penny. Respect the tribe and leave the reservation better than when you arrived!

Note: Drones are Prohibited. There is NO dayhiking allowed.

Please Help Share How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls In Havasupai On Pinterest:

havasu falls trip report

Best River Hiking Shoes - tworoamingsouls

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

[…] How To Plan A Havasupai Trip […]

Top 10 Best Hikes In Arizona | Ultimate Guide - tworoamingsouls

Saturday 24th of April 2021

[…] How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls | Everything You Need To Know […]

The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Itinerary - tworoamingsouls

Monday 16th of March 2020

[…] Havasupai is one of the Grand Canyon’s prized possessions! For more details on Havasupai check out our article: How To Plan A Havasupai Trip […]

  • Post published: November 20, 2018
  • Post category: USA

Your Complete Guide to Havasupai and the Havasu Falls Hike

The Havasu Falls hike is the ultimate bucket-list adventure. Located adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, the contrast of the bright blue water of Havasu Creek against the red canyon walls makes Havasupai one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the remote location makes it seem like you’ve just stumbled upon a secret desert oasis. Trust me, the long trek to get there is totally worth it!

havasu falls trip report

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you book through my links, at no extra cost to you.

Keep reading for tips on planning your trip to Havasu Falls, including how to get a Havasupai campground reservation, what to expect on the Havasu Falls hike, and tips for viewing each of the Havasupai waterfalls.

SEE ALSO: Hiking Half Dome – Tips to Plan Your Trip to Yosemite National Park

Havasupai Trip Overview

  • PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 1-3
  • Miles Hikes: 26
  • Trailhead: Hualapai Hilltop

Havasuapi Itinerary Overview:

Day 1: 10-mile hike to the campground

Waterfalls: Fifty-Foot Falls, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls

Day 2: 6-mile hike

Waterfalls: Mooney and Beaver Falls

OR option to hike all the way to the confluence and back (17 miles RT)

Day 3: 10-mile hike back out to Hualapai Hilltop

Havasupai is an Indian reservation at the base of the Grand Canyon, where the Havasupai Indian Tribe lives. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green water”. Supai is the name of the town. Havasu Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Havasupai, and the Havasu Falls hike will take you about 10 miles from the trailhead. There are several other waterfalls besides Havasu Falls that are worth checking out as well, including Mooney Falls, Fifty Foot Falls and Beaver Falls.

havasu falls trip report

How to Get a Campground Reservation at Havasupai:

So you want to do the Havasu Falls hike? To hike Havasupai, you’ll need a permit/reservation. Day hikes are not allowed. It’s very difficult to obtain a reservation, but it’s SO worth the extra effort and planning once you get one. See below for tips on how to get a permit for Havasupai.

Campground Reservations for Havasupai:

I highly recommend camping (vs staying in the lodge), as the campgrounds are in a great location if you are wanting to go all the way to Beaver Falls (or the Confluence!). The campground is beautiful- every campsite is near the bright blue Havasu Creek, and you are able to choose wherever you want to camp. The campground stretches about a mile in between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, meaning that after your Havasu Falls hike you are super close to the campground from there. There is fresh spring drinking water and 4 bathrooms throughout the campground.

havasu falls trip report

The Havasupai Tribe requires an entrance fee and a camping fee for each person. The prices tend to increase a bit year-over-year. For 2019 it was $100/night per person for a weekday night, and $125/night per person for a weekend night (Friday, Saturday or Sunday). They enacted a new rule for 2019 that is still standing for 2020 that you can only make a campground reservation for 3 nights/4 days (no less or more than that). Depending on the number of weekday vs weekend nights, this will be $300-$375 per person.

Havasupai reservations for the entire calendar year open on February 1st, 2020 at 8am MT time. You can book online at Havasupaireservations.com . You can no longer call to make a reservation. Reservations will likely be sold out for the entire year within a few minutes, so make sure you get online right as it opens.

Before 2/1, make sure you set up your online account at Havasupaireservations.com.

Also new Havasupai Campground rules:

  • All campground reservations are now officially transferable. This is great news if your plans change and you need to sell your reservation to someone else. You must do it through the Official Transfer System on the Havasupai website.
  • All campground reservations are now for 3 nights/4 days ($300-$375 per person)
  • All pack mule reservations are now online only. There will be fewer mules available than normal, so if you would like to use one you must put in a waitlist request after making your reservation
  • All people in your party must have an online account set up prior to arrival at Havasupaireservations.com , not just the trip leader.

Pricing per person: $100/night for weekdays, $125/night for weekend nights

If you get lucky and are able to book a reservation- just know that the Havasupai reservations are non-refundable (however, they are transferable this year). While you don’t have to note the names of everyone in your party, you do have to note the name of one person, and that person has to be present at check-in with a photo ID in Supai in order to proceed to the campground.

Supai Lodge Reservations

Although I highly recommend camping vs staying at the lodge, staying at the lodge in Supai is an option if you are not the type who likes to sleep in a tent. There is a store and a small cafe in town if you don’t want the extra weight in your backpack to pack food. The only downside is that if you want to go to Beaver Falls for a day-hike, it will add an extra 4 miles round-trip to your hike to get there. Also, you would likely not be able to hike to the Confluence (where Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River) if you are staying at the lodge, because of the increased distance.

The lodge is located in the town of Supai, which is an 8-mile hike from the trailhead, and 2 miles before the campground. From what I’ve heard, it’s very basic accommodations. The rates are $175/night, + the $90 per person entrance fee. Each room can sleep up to 4 people. You can cancel up to 2 weeks before your trip for a full refund. As of now, the only way to make a lodge reservation is to call: 928-448-2111 or 928-448-2201.

How to Get to Havasupai:

havasu falls trip report

The trailhead to Havasupai is called Hualapai Hilltop, which you can enter in your GPS to drive there. It’s west of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I recommend flying into Las Vegas, renting a car, and driving there.

The drive from Las Vegas to the trailhead is a little under 4 hours. Some people drive straight to the trailhead and sleep overnight in their car before getting an early start to their hike. However, I personally recommend staying at a hotel the night before so that you get a good sleep before your Havasu Falls hike. The closest hotel is in Peach Springs, AZ a little over 1 hour from the trailhead, called Hualapai Lodge . The accommodations were nicer than expected, the beds were comfy, and the staff was friendly.

havasu falls trip report

Note that the cell service as you arrive in Peach Springs is spotty (I have T-Mobile and didn’t have service at all on the drive from Hualapai Lodge to the trailhead) so make sure you pre-load the directions into your GPS before you lose service. You will continue driving on Route 66 until you reach Indian Road 18, where you will turn left. This road goes straight to the Hualapai Hilltop parking area.

How to Get to/from Supai Village:

1. hike down with your backpack.

This is the most common option. You hike down with all of your belongings (8 miles to town, 10 miles to the campground)

2. Hire a Mule to Carry your Pack

If you do not want to carry your backpack, you can hire a mule to carry your stuff. This option is popular for the hike back out, when people are worn out from all the hiking on their trip and don’t want to carry their packs for the 10-mile hike back out to Hualapai Hilltop. However, the new rules for 2019 state that you pretty much have to reserve a mule for round-trip instead of just one-way, via the waitlist online system after you make your campground reservation. I haven’t seen the prices for 2019, but in 2018 The mule cost $132 one-way, and can hold up to 4 bags. Pack Mule reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable. For the hike back out, you must drop your backpack off at the designated area near the campground by 8am that day. Note that if you do this and are a fast hiker, you may beat the mule and have to wait around a bit for your bags to arrive. The window for the bags to arrive back at the top of the trailhead is 10:00-12:00.

3. Helicopter from Supai

Another, more expensive option, is taking the helicopter to/from Supai. It costs $90 per person one-way, and you are not able to reserve in advance. Food/supplies and Havasupai Tribe members always get to be first in line over people who are visiting. The line can be super long- when we hiked down and arrived in Supai around 11:00am, we saw people in line to helicopter out who had been waiting in line since 3:00am!! I would really only use this as an option if you are injured and are physically unable to hike out. Otherwise, it seems like a huge waste of time.

Tips for a 3-day / 2-night Backpacking Trip to Havasupai

*Note that for 2020 onward, all campground reservations must be for 3 nights/4 days. In this case, I recommend either a day of rest or hiking to the Confluence for the extra day.

Day 1 of your Havasupai trip: Havasu Falls hike and campground set-up (10 miles)

havasu falls trip report

If you are hiking Havasupai in Summer, most people get to the Hualapai Hiltop trailhead around 4-5am to start their 10-mile hike in order to beat the heat (there is very little shade on the trail). However, if you are going in the Fall/Spring (I went in early November) you can plan to start hiking a little later. We started the hike at 7am, and arrived to town around 10:30am.

The Hualapai Hiltop trailhead has plenty of parking spots in the parking lot as well as along the side of the road. There is a bathroom at the trailhead as well. The hike into the town of Supai is 8 miles, and the hike to the campground is 10 miles. The hike to Havasu Falls is in between the town of Supai and the campground.

havasu falls trip report

The hike starts with some switchbacks going down into the canyon. Once you get to the bottom, the rest of the hike is pretty much flat, following along a dried-out riverbed. Some people have said that the hike through the canyon is boring, however I thought it was super cool to be walking in between the two canyon walls. Although the hike is long, I personally didn’t think it was that difficult since most of the way is flat. However, you will be walking on sand and gravel for part of the way, which can make it a bit more challenging.

havasu falls trip report

Eventually, you’ll see a sign for Supai (with a bunch of stickers on it) where you will turn left to head to the town. This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of the iconic blue water of Havasu Creek!

havasu falls trip report

When you cross the bridge and follow the trail through the wildflowers into Supai, the first thing you will come across is the Sinyella Store on the outskirts of town.

havasu falls trip report

This convenient store sells a variety of things, including coffee, yogurt, fruit, cans of soup, ramen, toiletry items- even kombucha! There’s also a cafe attached, where you can try the ever-popular FryBread for $8. Definitely a tasty treat to reward yourself for the long hike! They also sell breakfast burritos here, which we didn’t try.

havasu falls trip report

At 8 miles in, the heart of the Supai Village is not far past the Sinyella Store.

havasu falls trip report

You’ll see the Havasupai tourist office on the left where you’ll need to stop to check in and get your wristband. Make sure you have a print-out of your reservation, your photo ID, and your car’s license plate number in order to check-in. They’ll give you wristbands to wear, as well as a tag to put on your tent. You can also reserve a mule here for your hike out if you want to go that option. (Reserve the mule at check-in if you think you want one)

Once you’re checked in, keep walking past the store, the lodge and the church to veer to the left to follow the trail to the campground. It’s 2 miles to the campground entrance from Supai, but there are 3 waterfalls to stop at on the way on this Havasupai Falls hike! The first waterfall you’ll see from the trail is Navajo Falls. The water doesn’t look as blue here as the iconic Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, but it is still beautiful.

Walk down to the falls and turn left, and follow the skinny trail closest to the water for a few hundred yards and back-track to come to Fifty-Foot Falls.

havasu falls trip report

Fifty-Foot Falls is often over-looked, as it is not super clear how to get there and is not as popular as Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, however this is a stop that definitely can’t be missed! It literally looks like you’ve stumbled upon a secret desert oasis. I wish we had gone swimming here- but we had our backpacks on and our swimsuits weren’t in close reach. Consider wearing your swimsuit on the hike the first day if you are interested in jumping in the water at any of the falls that you stop at before the campground.  

havasu falls trip report

Next, head back to the main trail and keep going for the Havasu Falls hike. Hiking to Havasu Falls from Navajo and Fifty-Foot Falls is quick. You’ll see a few more FryBread huts, although they weren’t open when we hiked past them around 11:30ish so if you want FryBread, definitely get it at the Sinyella Store on the way into town.

havasu falls trip report

You’ll cross another bridge, and then soon after will come to Havasu Falls on your right. Even if you’ve seen a million pictures of Havasu Falls before your trip, nothing compares to seeing it in person! It’s truly amazing. Your first sight of the falls definitely makes the 10-mile Havasu Falls hike worth it.

havasu falls trip report

You can walk down to the base of Havasu Falls and enjoy the viewpoint, and swim around. The water is chilly (I read that it stays at 70 degrees F year-round), but it’s worth it to at least wade around at the base of Havasu Falls. It’s so beautiful!

havasu falls trip report

Once you’ve spent some time enjoying Havasu Falls, head to the campground and pick your spot. The Havasupai campground is about a mile long, stretching between the ranger station, just beyond Havasu Falls, and continuing to Mooney Falls. I recommend walking as far back as your can, towards Mooney Falls, to set up camp. Not only is it less crowded back here so you’ll likely find an awesome spot, but you’ll also be closer to Mooney Falls for the start of your day hike on the second day. There are little wooden planks at a few points where you can cross Havasu Creek to the other side where there are other campsites as well.

havasu falls trip report

There is potable water at the beginning of the campground (you’ll see a sign for it). I recommend packing a collapsable water jug so that you can get water as you walk in to bring to your campsite for drinking and cooking, so you won’t have to go back and forth.  

havasu falls trip report

Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your campsite and resting up for your hike the next day! I recommend walking over a few feet from your campsite to check out Mooney Falls from above, but I would wait until the next day to hike down to the base of Mooney Falls to save your energy (and your legs- that climb is steep!)

havasu falls trip report

Also, no campfires are allowed in Havasupai. I recommend bringing some lanterns so you have a light source once the sun goes down.  

Day 2 of your Havasupai Backpacking Trip: Hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls- 6 miles (optional- hike past Beaver Falls to the Confluence + 10 miles)

havasu falls trip report

Get an early start to beat the crowds (and the heat, if you’re hiking in Summer) and head down to the base of Mooney Falls. Mooney Falls is absolutely amazing, and climbing down to the bottom of the falls is quite the adventure! You’ll start by hiking down the trail, which then leads to a sign reading “Descend at Your Own Risk” where you will descend through 2 small caves.

havasu falls trip report

The view once you pop out of the first cave is amazing:  

havasu falls trip report

Next comes the most treacherous part. After you come out of the second cave, you have to climb down a few ladders to get to the bottom. The ladders are wet and slippery from the mist of Mooney Falls. There are also chains hooked into the rock that you can grab to hold on to. Don’t look down!

havasu falls trip report

The pictures of the ladders and chains definitely don’t do it justice. I remember reading about it before I went and thought to myself “that doesn’t look that bad” from the pictures I’d seen, but once you see it in person, it is definitely a little nerve-wracking. Once you get to the bottom, spend a few minutes admiring Mooney Falls before continuing on to Beaver Falls.

To get to Beaver Falls from the base of Mooney, take the trail on the left side. It will take you up and inland close to the canyon walls initially , but generally follows the river. You’ll have to cross the river 3 times to get to Beaver Falls. I definitely recommend bringing close-toed water shoes to hike in on day 2 so that you don’t have to change in and out of your hiking boots for each river crossing. I bought these shoes on Amazon and they worked great!

The hike from Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls was hands-down the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done in my life. It’s truly incredible hiking in between the red canyon walls, looking down on the bright blue Havasu Creek flowing along, guiding you on the trail. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a Big Horn Sheep! We saw one during one of our river crossings.

havasu falls trip report

The trail will take you through fields of grapevines, through the river, and up a few ladders until eventually you’ll see a sign for Beaver Falls.  

havasu falls trip report

Beaver Falls is a great area for swimming. Climb the ladders down to the base of the falls, and explore! There are a few different levels to the falls, and you can swim around on each of them. The bottom of the river was never very slippery, so it’s surprisingly easy to maneuver around. At the top section of Beaver Falls, you can even walk behind the waterfall! Even in November, we still braved the cold water for a bit to swim around. Definitely worth it.

havasu falls trip report

If you want to hike to the Confluence (where the Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River), it is an extra 6 miles each way from Beaver Falls (16 mile round-trip hike from the campground). While I really wanted to hike to the Confluence, going in November means a lot less daylight and a lot less sun shining through the canyon. Based on this, we decided to forego the Confluence and instead spend more time hanging out and enjoying Beaver and Mooney Falls. If you do want to hike to the Confluence, you will need a super early start from camp and must not depart Beaver Falls later than 11:00 am. You definitely want to make it back to Mooney Falls before dark, as climbing up those ladders and through the caves at night would be super sketchy. I’ll have to come back sometime in Summer and hike to the Confluence! Definitely another bucket-list item.

On your way back to camp, stop by Mooney Falls and wade around and enjoy the scenery. It’s such a magnificent waterfall! Be careful swimming too close to the fall, though, as there is a strong under-tow.

Day 3: Hike Back to Hualapai Hilltop

On your last day, you’ll hike back out the way you came, through the canyon floor and then up the switchbacks at the end until you reach Hualapai Hilltop. Make sure to stay hydrated and bring plenty of water for your journey!

havasu falls trip report

Other Tips for Havasupai:

  • Stay Hydrated – Make sure you pack enough water for for your hike- there is no potable water until you make it to Supai, and no other sources of water for filtration along the way either until you get there.
  • License Plate: Take a picture of your car license plate before you start your hike, so that you can easily grab the plate number upon check-in at the Havasupai Tourist Office in Supai
  • Sunlight: Just because it’s daytime doesn’t mean that the sun will be shining through the canyon. Because of the way the canyon is situated, when I was there in November, the sun was only peeking through the canyon at certain times of the day
  • Photography: If you’re trying to take pictures of the waterfalls, the best time is when it’s either completely in the sun, or completely in the shade, but never half and half.
  • Trails: The 10-mile trail through the canyon to Havasu Falls and the campground has little off-shoots of trails that I considered a little shortcut. From my experience, all of those little trails you see will converge back with the main trail. As long as you are following the dried riverbed on the way in, and following Havasu Creek after that, then you won’t get lost!
  • Cell Service: Don’t plan on there being any cell service in the canyon

What to Pack for Havasupai:

  • Hiking Boots (These are my favorite!)
  • Cliff Bar Energy Chews (to give you energy on the hike!)
  • Dehydrated Meals (this one is my absolute FAVORITE! I bring it on every backpacking trip)
  • Sleeping Bag (This is the one I have that I love!)
  • Nano Puff Jacket (I bring this on EVERY camping trip. It packs up small and keeps you warm!)
  • Travel Towel (perfect for backpacking!)
  • REI Quarterdome Tent (great beginner backpacking tent. I love this thing)
  • Inflatable Sleeping Pad (this is the one that I use)
  • Portable phone charger (so you’ll have enough juice to take pics!)
  • Deuter Backpacking Pack (I’ve used this same one for 4 years now and it’s been great!)
  • Jetboil – this is a game-changer. Boils water in under 90 seconds!
  • MSR Water Filter – one of the best products for filtering drinking water on the trail!
  • Ultralight First Aid Kit

Best Time to Hike Havasupai Falls:

  • Fall/Spring: This is the best time for hiking Havasu Falls, in my opinion. The temperatures are pleasant for hiking, and the trails are less-crowded.
  • Summer: unbearable heat for hiking mid-day, however it makes swimming in the falls feel great! July-September is monsoon season, meaning you run the risk of a flash flood happening.
  • Winter: The campgrounds are closed December/January for maintenance Hopefully this post is helpful in planning your trip, and I wish you luck getting a permit reservation!

havasu falls trip report

Like what you see? Share it! Share this content

  • Opens in a new window

You Might Also Like

Read more about the article The Ultimate Guide to a Kern River Camping Trip

The Ultimate Guide to a Kern River Camping Trip

Read more about the article The Best Oahu 3 Day Itinerary For First Timers

The Best Oahu 3 Day Itinerary For First Timers

Read more about the article The Most Epic Things to Do in Southern Utah

The Most Epic Things to Do in Southern Utah

This post has one comment.

' src=

I have been wanting to go here for years! This has been such amazing photos and helpful information. I literally wrote down damn near everything that you have on here and my best friend…boyfriend, and I are going next year. hah, no if and’s but’s about it. We both thrive to travel and one day do it not only as a lifestyle but for a living. Thank you so much for this. Your time and information aren’t only helpful but extremely inspiring and motivating!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes
  • Destinations

Everything You Need to Know to Visit Havasu Falls — Including How to Get a Permit, What to See, and How to Be a Good Visitor

Here's what you need to know to plan a trip to Havasu Falls this year.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

havasu falls trip report

Kevin Boutwell/Getty Images

The beauty of Havasu Falls needs little explanation. The waterfall topples off fiery red rock and drops into a turquoise pool that is so bright it looks fake. It is a site people have traveled from all over the world to see and photograph — and after it closed in March 2020 for the pandemic and subsequent flooding, traveler hype has only increased. 

This year, for the first time since early 2020, Havasu Falls is once again welcoming visitors — but it takes plenty of planning and a long hike to get there. The falls are located west of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona — more specifically, the site is found on the Havasupai Reservation, a Native American reservation for the Havasupai people. The landscape, which is managed by the Havasupai, should be respected to ensure it remains in good condition for both the next group of travelers and the Tribe.

To that end, the number of visitors that can access Havasu Falls and the surrounding lands is restricted, and obtaining a permit takes luck — in addition to lots of planning. And travelers who obtain a coveted permit must be prepared to trek into the remote falls (or book a helicopter ride).

It’s a complicated process, and there is plenty of false information out there. We’ve outlined the basics below, but keep your research to websites run and maintained by the Havasupai — namely HavasupaiReservations.com and TheOfficialHavasupaiTribe.com .

Putt Sakdhnagool/Getty Images

When to Visit Havasu Falls

The official tourism season runs from February to November, but most travelers visit between May and September. During the heart of summer, June to August, the heat can be extreme, and rains and flooding can occur. The months of May and September typically offer slightly cooler weather, although it’s worth noting that the temperature of the turquoise pools found at the base of the falls is roughly 70 degrees all year long.

The forecast for Supai, the capital of the Havasupai Reservation, can be found on weather.com.   

How to Get a Permit for Havasu Falls

A campground or lodge reservation — required for all visitors — includes all the necessary permits, tags, fees, taxes, and entry passes. So, in order to get a permit to visit Havasu Falls, you’ll need to book a campground or lodge reservation on HavasupaiReservations.com .

That said, reservations opened for the 2023 tourism season on February 1, 2023 and sold out quickly. Those who didn’t score a reservation and still want to visit Havasu Falls in 2023 can visit the official Havasupai reservation site each day at 8 a.m. (GMT-7) when reservations that were canceled or transferred are released. 

It’s worth noting that you’ll need an account on HavasupaiReservations.com to make a reservation, so you’ll want to register on the site in advance so you can quickly claim an available reservation. If you’re traveling with a group, the reservation can be put under one person’s name.

Choosing Between the Campground and the Lodge

All visitors must book a stay at either the Havasupai Campground or the Havasupai Lodge. Both reservations include the permits needed to access Havasu Falls. 

For 2023, all campground reservations are for four days and three nights and are $395 per person. The camping is dispersed , meaning you can camp wherever you want for about a mile along both sides of Havasu Creek. The campground is located between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, providing campers with easy and direct access to the landscape’s biggest sites. There are no designated or assigned campsites at the campground, but there are restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking water. Campfires and alcohol are not permitted.

Like the campground, all lodge reservations are for four days and three nights. The rate per room is $1,980, and each room has two queen beds that sleep four adults (making the per-person nightly rate $495 for a group of four). The lodge is located in the community of Supai and is a two-mile hike (around 45 minutes) from Havasu Falls. There is a store and cafe where travelers can purchase food. The Havasupai Lodge is currently closed but will open in July 2023.

anirav/Getty Images

Hiking Into the Havasupai Reservation and Havasu Falls

The falls, campground, and lodge are all located in a canyon, so you’ll leave your car at the top and hike down. Most travelers park at Hualapai Hilltop and begin the eight-mile descent to the community of Supai, where the Havasupai Lodge is located. Those with campground reservations will need to continue another two miles. There’s a handy map on the Havasupai website .

To avoid hauling all your gear in and out of the canyon, travelers can reserve a pack mule before their visit. The cost per pack mule is $400 round trip, and one pack mule can carry up to four 32-pound bags. There is also a helicopter service into the canyon.

What to See Besides Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls gets all the hype, but Navajo Falls above it and Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls below it are similarly spectacular. All hikers traveling to Havasu Falls will naturally pass Navajo Falls, which is a grand series of cascades and pools surrounded by lush vegetation. 

Around a mile downstream from Havasu Falls is Mooney Falls, which is arguably the second most popular site. Mooney Falls is an impressive 100-foot waterfall that smashes into stunning travertine pools of blue-green water. Those looking to bypass the crowds know to go to Beaver Falls, which is around three miles from Havasu Falls and the Havasupai Campground. Beaver Falls is a series of swimmable pools fed by small cascades.

And finally, since the Havasupai Reservation sits within a canyon on the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, visitors can expect nonstop canyon and desert landscape views from the trail, campground, and falls. 

Cultural Importance of the Havasupai Reservation and Havasu Falls

For many centuries, the Havasupai moved freely in and around the Grand Canyon. When the Havasupai Reservation was established in 1880 , it effectively confined the Tribe to the land at the base of Havasu Canyon. The Tribe’s new space limitation restricted their ability to hunt, grow food, and support their growing community, yet it did include the area surrounding Havasu Falls, which was historically used for cremations. Even the name of the Havasupai Tribe comes from the turquoise, mineral-rich pools of water that gather at the base of the many falls along Havasu Creek.

Christian Bradshaw/Getty Images

Rules for Visitors to Havasu Falls

There are several rules for visitors who make the journey to the Havasupai Reservation and Havasu Falls. For campers, bear canisters and bags are a must to keep critters out, and campfires are not allowed. All visitors should know that alcohol is not allowed on the reservation and everything you bring in — including trash — must be packed out. 

Where to Stay Nearby

Since the hike to the Havasupai Lodge and Campground is several miles, most travelers choose to stay overnight near the trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop. The go-to spot is Grand Canyon Caverns Inn , which is located on Route 66 near Seligman, Arizona. The inn is just over an hour from Hualapai Hilltop and the trailhead into the canyon.

How to Get There

Part of Havasu Falls’ appeal is that it is hard to access — only those willing to put in the time to make advance reservations and hike in are rewarded with the beauty of the falls and the canyon. 

The trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop is close to three hours by car from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) and over 3.5 from Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. 

Related Articles

Graphic of Unstoppable Stacey with globe set behind the script of 'Stacey'

Havasu Falls Hike Trip Report | Feel Like a Non-Native Species?

  • May 24, 2019
  • No Comments
  • This article may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

UPDATED April 3, 2024 — Havasu Falls Hike Trip Report — The scabs on my knees weren’t yet dry from a previous hiking fall in the Sonoran Desert when six days later I tripped again and fell headlong onto the sandy Havasu Falls Trail.

The 10-mile footpath through hot, dry desert-like terrain leads to one of the planet’s most unique places: the blue-green waters of Havasu Creek, which eventually empty into the Grand Canyon.

The words of my dirt-biking husband echoed in my ears: “We’re not having fun until somebody bleeds.”

My two young companions, Charlotte and Claire, and I were hiking along the remote Arizona trail at a good clip – later reaching the campground in just four hours compared to the four to six hours suggested by the Havasupai reservations website.

My fall was almost a Superman dive after my left foot caught a rock, rolled my ankle and catapulted me forward to land on already skinned knees, elbow and thigh, which bruised to match the color of my fuchsia shorts.

Tripping down the hot, dry Havasu Falls Trail

havasu falls trip report

The surreal feeling that I was in a Charlie Russell painting

Moments before my tumble, where the walls of the canyon squeezed together, we met a mule train of about eight pack animals galloping up the trail.

We heard the metal of horseshoes striking the rock path before we ever saw them. One of the mules – with its head lowered and swinging like a snake ready to strike – broke out of the herd and charged the three of us.

Forced to jump towards the rock wall, I raised my arms to fend off the stampeding beast whose ears were pinned back to its neck.

For a moment, I had the surreal feeling that I was in a Charlie Russell cowboy painting as dust rose in billows around me.

We dodged the renegade mule, but a group of hikers had now bunched up behind us as they, too, waited for the caravan to pass.

Pack animals climb up rugged Havasu Canyon

The Havasu Falls Hike navigates a rugged environment

Moments later, I took my tumble, and so I had a good audience of maybe a dozen people. My fall and subsequent ankle sprain in the rugged environment earned some notoriety, as later in the day, people asked me how my ankle was doing.

At the Supai Campground, we pitched our tents next to the blue-green water of Havasu Creek, a riparian paradise. Grab a quick look at my Havasu Packing List .

Small backpack tent pitched next to Havasu Creek

Havasu Falls Hike to Beaver Falls

The next day we packed lunches and hiked three miles from the shady campground to Beaver Falls. First, we had the infamous climb down hand-hewn foot holes carved into the travertine cliff face that skirts the 210-foot-high Mooney Falls.

It reminded me of the prehistoric hand and foot holds cut into cliffside trails at Chaco Canyon.

As people backed up, we had to wait in a narrow, dark tunnel carved into the rock face. When it came to be my turn, I stepped into the light, gripped the heavy chains fastened into the rock with large bolts, and lowered myself straight down the precipice.

Looking down travertine cliff at Mooney FAlls

Fear, anguish and sweaty palms at Havasu Canyon

Indeed, I remember the fear and anguish of climbing the sheer drop on the chain-assisted ladder in my previous visits to Havasu Canyon over the past 20 years.

What I do not recall is the abundance of other ladders – handmade wooden contraptions that would never hope to pass OSHA inspections — that we encountered on our way to Beaver Falls.

Some ladders were placed so far below the edge of the rock that you had to step into thin air to reach the first rung. I believe the ladders were added after the wicked flood of 2008 that changed the course of the river and the trail.

The last time I’d been in Havasu Creek was the spring before the big flood of  July 2008.

havasu falls trip report

I kept favoring my sprained ankle, climbing up and down the numerous stepladders like a one-armed paperhanger. OK, not exactly like that but I scrambled with a syncopated rhythm as I favored the injury.

havasu falls trip report

Beaver Falls in Havasu Canyon

After sitting in the cold blue-green waters of Beaver Falls, my ankle felt immensely better. But severe pain stabbed my right knee every time I hoisted myself up each rung as we retraced the challenging way back to our campsite.

I was surprised, as I had not felt such sharp knee pain for years. Yet I knew that it resulted from favoring my left ankle, so I just stopped favoring it.

The pain in my knee soon disappeared once again, proving that hikers must pay attention to what their bodies tell them and compensate accordingly.

Blue green waters of Havasu Creek at Beaver Falls

Rest Day at Havasu Falls

We decided to spend our third day in the Havasu Canyon as a rest day at Havasu Falls.

Check out our itinerary in the Complete Guide to Hiking Havasu Falls .

Some people call this iconic blue-green waterfall ‘Havasupai Falls,’ but the true name is Havasu Falls. ‘Havasupai’ is the name the people call themselves: ‘Havasu’ meaning blue green water + ‘Pai’ meaning people.

The colors are really so outstanding that the people associate their name with them: ‘People of the blue-green waters.’

People enjoying sand beach in front of Havasupai Falls

Colorful conversation with local leads to introspection

“Colorado, it means the color red,” said the gray-haired Havasupai man the morning of our rest day. “The Spaniards when they came here named the river ‘Colorado.’”

“It is down there,” I said, pointing west and down the Havasu Canyon, from which we’d hiked the day before.

“Did you hike to the Colorado River?” he asked. It was at that confluence that the blue-green waters of Havasu Creek would flow into the muddy red waters of the Colorado.

“I did 24 years ago. I was much younger then,” I said tugging at my hair, the same silver color as his. “We hiked to Beaver Falls yesterday, and it was definitely harder than I remembered.”

“Did you see the palm tree? The last time I saw it, it was this high,” he said, holding his hand about waist high to indicate the size of the non-native species.

“I brought my son down there, and he was just as tall. That was 20 years ago. Did you take a picture of the palm? I would like to see it.”

The non-native palm is a signpost on Havasu Falls Hike

The solitary palm is a sort of signpost. When we asked for tips before launching our Beaver Falls hike, a fellow canyoneer told us, “Once you see the palm tree, you’re almost there.”

As I spoke with the Havasupai man at the campground rangers office, Charlotte and Claire waited for me near the latrines. 

I think they were in a hurry to relax at Havasu Falls, but I chose to stop at the man’s request and look through the hundreds of pictures I’d taken in the past two days.

I finally found a selfie of me posing next to a palm frond hanging from the tree. It is the only palm tree that I know of that is growing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Technically speaking, it grows in the Havasu Canyon, an offshoot of the Grand Canyon.

UNSTOPPABLE STacey in front of palm frond

I am a non-native species here in Havasu Canyon

I have an affinity to the palm tree that grows next to the blue-green waters. I feel a bit like the old palm tree, the invasive species. For I, too, am a non-native species here in Havasu Canyon.

I am not native to Arizona, yet I thrive in its climate. Like the Havasu palm, I am a solitary traveler who enjoys serving as a signpost — beckoning, and encouraging others to continue along on their next journey.

Perhaps your next excursion will be to the blue-green waters of Havasu Canyon. Learn more at www.havasupaireservations.com

RELATED STORIES:

5 Places to Find the Authentic Wild West in Southeast Montana

Passport to Pueblo Country: Your Ticket to Tsankawi Trail and San Ildefonso Pueblo

Enjoy this article? Then STAY TUNED for my next Havasu Falls hike article entitled, “ Complete Guide to Hiking Havasu Falls .”

SUBSCRIBE below so you won’t miss it!

“UNSTOPPABLE Stacey” Wittig is an Arizona travel writer based in Flagstaff. Follow her travels on Instagram @UNSTOPPABLEStacey

Stacey with Charlotte and Claire overlooking Havasu Falls

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Join over 10.9K people and get exclusive travel tips, inspiration for your next UNSTOPPABLE journey and more

YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR UNSTOPPABLE solo AND boomer TRAVEL

©2024 Unstoppable Stacey, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy

Graphic of Unstoppable Stacey with globe set behind the script of 'Stacey'

BOOK A TRIP

Want to know How to Buy Cheap Flights?

Master UNSTOPPABLE Stacey’s secrets for finding cheap flights, and you’ll be going to more of your dream destinations than you thought possible.

Get instant access to the How to Buy Cheap Flights report

Like what you see?

Then join the unstoppable travel community.

Get UNSTOPPABLE Stacey’s tips and inspiration delivered conveniently to your email inbox. No spam, promise!

We Are Travel Girls

A Community Created To Inspire, Connect, Educate & Empower Female Travelers

ARIZONA , NORTH AMERICA , UNITED STATES · June 19, 2020 Last Updated on March 10, 2024

HAVASU FALLS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We may receive a small commission when you make a purchase using our link.

Havasu Falls is heaven on earth, no pictures or words can describe this place (but I’ll still try through pictures and words).

It literally has the most incredible landscape and waterfalls situated at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the USA. The water is the bluest water and the fact that it is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is indescribable. When the sun sets, the beauty continues with some of the brightest stars I have ever seen.

The Havasupai Tribe actually lives in the Grand Canyon and because the falls are on their land, they have the privilege of being the proud owners of these wonders and have done an incredible job preserving them throughout time.

In this guide I’ll share everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to see Havasu Falls for yourself!

Havasu Falls Hiking Permits

The Havasupai Tribe does not allow day-through hiking to Havasu Falls. They no longer allow 1-2 nights camping permits either; you must buy a 3 night/4 day camping permit to hike to Havasu Falls.

To obtain camping permits, you must purchase them through the Havasupai tribe’s reservation website. Permits are between $300-$375USD depending on what days you go (weekends are more expensive). Only 300 permits are sold per day; permits go on sale every year on February 1st and they go FAST.

Tips To Get A Permit

Safari works better than Google Chrome. If you miss out on buying them on February 1, do not worry!

The tribe’s website also has a cancellation/transfer list . Because hikers have to buy their permits so far in advance, this online marketplace often has a plethora of permits available.

It’s price-controlled so people cannot elevate the price for profit. This Facebook group is also a good resource, as many people announce on here when they’ve posted available permits on the tribe’s website.

The best advice if you miss permits on the original launch date is to regularly check the tribe’s website and the reservation Facebook page for your desired dates. 

How Long Is The Hike?

Havasu Falls is a 10-mile hike to the campsite and a 10-mile hike out of the canyon to the trailhead.

I thought the hike down there was hard…until I hiked out. It’s hard. Like one of the hardest hikes, I’ve ever done. And you’ll want to quit multiple times. But the falls are totally worth it!

It’s 8 miles to the Havasupai Tribe’s village where you can check-in, grab a well-rewarded snack, and take a break before finishing the final 2 miles.

On our “break” day, we hiked about 7 miles exploring other waterfalls, adding our mileage total to be about 27 miles; the pretty average for anyone doing this hike.

What Time Should You Start Hiking?

The earlier the better. The bottom of the canyon starts to get extremely warm throughout the day, so you will want to start your hike before the sun rises.

We started hiking at 6 am and got to the campsite by 10 am. The hike takes 4-6 hours depending on your fitness level. 

Packing List

Try to pack as little as possible. There are pack mules and helicopters that can take your bags down for you for a fee, but part of the reward is conquering this feat yourself, so I encourage you to carry your own baggage to the campsite!

In my opinion, if you cannot bring down your own stuff (with obvious exceptions), you shouldn’t be hiking to the falls or you should be packing lighter.

Here are the necessities:

  • Tent/Hammock – We chose to sleep in our hammocks instead of bringing a tent to save on weight. Through the night that I saw a snake right next to our campsite right before I fell asleep, I was really wishing I had a protective tent, I really loved sleeping directly under the stars.
  • Camera Gear – You will want to capture this incredible beauty. We brought a camera, a wide lens for the landscapes, a portrait lens for tighter shots, and a Go-Pro for some underwater footage (NOTE: Drones are prohibited but tripods are allowed). 
  • Hiking Shoes – Hiking boots with ankle supports are recommended, I had low tops and 27 miles later, my ankles wished I had brought boots
  • Water Shoes – At the bottom of the rivers you will be hiking through, the canyon is rocky and slippery…bring chacos or another type of water shoe for your exploring. The last 2 miles from the tribe’s village to the campsite is mostly sand and it gets extremely hard to hike through this area in hiking shoes. Sandals will help immensely…thank me later! 
  • Outfits – Two fresh hiking outfits, it’s fine to re-wear clothes while you’re down at the falls, but you will want a fresh set to start your two big hiking days…especially socks.
  • Bathing Suit
  • Hat – It will be sunny; protect yourself and bring a hat.
  • Food – While there are a couple of food options offered within the Grand Canyon, they are quite unreliable and the last thing you want to do is get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and not have any food. Bring electrolytes and dried fruit, but also bring snacks that you like! I was trying to be healthy and wished the entire time I was hiking that I had some more salty cheezits to munch on. 
  • Water –  I brought half a gallon of water down with me and it was plenty through the first 10 miles, but you will definitely need to refill when you get to the campsite. I brought hydro flasks because I love me some cold water (I still had ice on my hike out!), but these heavy water bottles definitely add extra weight so keep that in mind when choosing yours. We were advised to bring filters, but we ended up not using them and were just fine.
  • Rain Outfit
  • First Aid Kit – It’s almost inevitable hiking this much without a single blister, so make sure to bring lots of bandaids! 
  • Bug Spray – I recommend bug bands! Less smell and lighter to carry.
  • Blanket – My friend brought a blanket and I did not; I was extremely jealous of her blanket. Even though it did not seem like it was going to be that cold, the wind chill and night with only an eno to block the cold definitely makes you want to curl up.
  • External Battery – You will most likely not have any phone service the entire time you are in the Grand Canyon, but it is still smart to bring a charger in case you forget to turn your phone on airplane mode and it ends up dying searching for service the entire time.
  • Small Daypack
  • Flashlight/headlamp – It’s best to hike out before the sun rises as it gets quite hot during the day, so you will need a flashlight or headlamp. 
  • Quick-dry Towel
  • Toiletries – Do not bathe in the water. The tribe does an incredible job preserving the water, so respect their home and do your part by not contaminating their water with your chemicals.

Where Do You Stay The Night Before The Hike?

You will want to get an early start to your hike, so I recommend staying at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, AZ the night before. Let me just say now, you’re not paying for the quality of the place…you’re paying for the location.

The cheapest rooms are $110/night for a mediocre hotel, but it’s the closest hotel to the Havasupai trailhead, making it totally worth the money. The hotel has a little store that has a lot of camping items you can snag if you forgot anything. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep; you will need it for tomorrow’s hike!

The Hualapai Hilltop trailhead is an hour and a half from Peach Springs, AZ. Any maps applications should be able to locate the trailhead, but download directions ahead of time, as service is quite finicky.

Some trailhead tips include:

  • SO IMPORTANT: Make sure to fill up with gas before turning onto the road for the trailhead! You need at least 120 miles in your gas tank because that road is 60 miles with no gas station, and you’ll need 60 miles to get back to the main road. 
  • Be alert. You will most likely be driving to the trailhead before the sun rises; there are large animals on the road such as moose, cows, deer, etc. that will easily total your car if you are not careful.
  • Park anywhere along the trailhead, but be mindful of parking against the mountain as rocks often fall, damaging cars. 
  • Take a photo of your license plate or make note of the number because you will need it at check-in in the village.
  • There is no water at the trailhead, so come prepared. 

Is Food Available To Purchase?

There is a local restaurant in the village, but it is 2 miles from the campsite so is a sandwich really worth a 4-mile trek? If they happen to be open on your hike in or out, however, I recommend stopping and treating yourself.

There is also a food hut stationed at the campsite that serves tacos, burgers, and ice-cold Gatorade. They have super random hours whenever they feel like working the hut, but if you’re lucky, they will be open at least some of the time you are down there.

The hut is cash only and tacos are like $12 so make sure to bring a lot of cash. We were planning on saving money and not buying anything from the hut, but after working our bodies so hard, there’s nothing more that you want than some freshly grilled food and an ice-cold drink of electrolytes.

If you are wanting to cook yourself, keep in mind that open-flame fires are prohibited, but backpacking stoves are allowed. Keep your food locked up at all times or little critters will steal it quicker than you can say, Havasu Falls.

Can You Find Fresh Water?

There is drinking water available both in the village and the campground. The campground has a spout sourced from a fresh spring.

We were advised to bring filters, but we ended up not using them and we were just fine. All of the people we met were drinking straight from the spring as well, but if you have an easily upset stomach, bring some filter tablets or a filtered water bottle.

Are There Bathrooms?

Yes, there are bathrooms if you need them, but they are on the edge of the campsite and a trek to get to. The toilets are pretty clean and well-stocked, but I would bring a bit of toilet paper just in case.

What Are The Sleeping Arrangements?

There are two options for sleeping the days you’re at the bottom of the Grand Canyon: the Havasupai Lodge or the Havasupai campgrounds.

The lodge is situated 2 miles away from the waterfalls, within the tribe’s village, but pretty difficult to get reservations for, as it’s small and often fills up quickly. The cost of a room is $550/night and can accommodate up to four people with hot showers, electricity, and a comfortable place to rest your head.

The campground itself allows camping anywhere within the grounds, first come, first serve. I personally recommend camping because it’s an incredible experience, but know yourself and what suits your travel style best.

Tip: the further back into the campground you hike, the emptier/more camp options are available. 

Are There Other Waterfalls Besides Havasu?

The Havasupai reservation has multiple beautiful waterfalls worth hiking too; Havasu Falls is just the most popular.

Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls are on the reservation as well and are highly recommended – the adventure down to these falls is super fun as you cling tightly to wet chains and rickety ladders to descend the side of a mountain.

The last option is the confluence to the Colorado River – something I was unable to conquer in my time down there, as it’s an extra 16-mile round trip, but something I will for sure be doing next time.

Most people do not make it to the confluence, but a group we met at the campgrounds was able to do it and said it’s incredibly untouched and a must-see if one has the time and energy.

Is There Cell Service?

Most likely you will not have any cell service the majority of the time you are in the Grand Canyon.

Put away the phone and enjoy the disconnect from the world for a few days. All the chaos of life will still be there when you head back to reality.

If there is a need for cell service, however, you can usually get a little service more towards the village; the lodge also has wifi.

  • There are mules and helicopters that can bring down your bags if necessary, but, with certain exceptions, if you can’t hike it in yourself, you probably don’t need it. It’s cheaper, a better workout, and much more rewarding to hike with all of your belongings! Please think twice before using the mules. 
  • As hiking courtesy goes, hikers hiking out have the right of way; it’s a difficult hike and the momentum and encouragement to keep moving depletes the more times you have to stop or move over for a refreshed hiker that is on their way down to the falls.
  • Please leave no trace, as anything you leave behind has the potential to cause harm to the wildlife and beauty; so do your part to preserve this wonder for as long as possible.
  • Havasupai is a sovereign Native American nation, meaning it has its own laws, rules, and customs apart from the United States. Please be respectful of the people and their wishes (this also means no alcohol or drugs), as violating the laws of the land can result in punishment from both the Tribal Court and US law enforcement.  

We hope that this article has helped inspire you to visit Havasu Falls, USA. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.

Want to share your own travel tips by guest writing for We Are Travel Girls? Go to our Contribute page for guidelines and to submit your article.

Subscribe to get access to our FREE eBook with tips for saving money when you travel!

Read More About Arizona

  • How To Kayak And Paddle Board Antelope Canyon, Arizona
  • A Guide To Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon & The Grand Canyon
  • 9 Tips For Visiting Lower Antelope Canyon
  • How To Take Stunning Photos At Antelope Canyon

We Are Travel Girls Contributor Sara Morgan  TheSaraMorgan.com Connect with Sara  Instagram  | YouTube

Pin For Later

This article may contain affiliate links, if you purchase something using one of our links we may receive a commission. Please see our Disclosures for more information.

You’ll Also Love

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Notify me of new posts by email.

  • Travel Girls Getaways
  • DESTINATIONS
  • TYPE OF TRAVEL
  • TRAVEL RESOURCES
  • AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
  • TRAVEL GIRLS GIVING

Get Access To The Travel Resources Library

Subscribe to receive free access!

  • Work With Us
  • TESTIMONIALS
  • DISCLOSURES
  • TERMS OF SERVICE
  • PRIVACY POLICY
  • ACCESSIBILITY

COPYRIGHT © 2023 WE ARE TRAVEL GIRLS

Exclusive Member of Mediavine Travel

havasu falls trip report

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona | Waterfalls, Permits & Reservations

  • Gear Spread
  • Permits and Reservations
  • Trail Report

Havasupai Falls Hike Overview

When the chance to hike to one of the most photographed outdoor destinations in the world comes around, you have to say yes . So, when a close friend reached out and said she had two three-day permits to backpack into Havasupai, I asked when, how much, and put in my vacation request immediately. We would spend three days hiking through glorious canyons, downclimbing slick rock, swimming in travertine pools, and eating frybread on the banks of Havasu Creek.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Havasu Falls

The one and only, Havasu Falls.

Havasupai, or Havasu Falls, is in a remote side gorge that flows into the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in northern Arizona. The area is one of the most picturesque in the American Southwest due to its turquoise waters, soaring waterfalls, and the striking contrast between the harsh desert and this lush oasis.

The hike into and out of the canyon is unforgiving, and makes the journey all-the-more rewarding to those who complete the 20-mile round-trip hike. The best times of year to visit Havasupai are spring and fall when the weather is just right for comfortable morning hiking and afternoons spent in the cool water.

Havasupai is a dream destination for many, and I was beyond stoked to descend into the canyon.

Havasupai Permits and Reservations

Permits for Havasupai are only available by reservation ahead of time. You have to book on the reservation website or by calling the visitor office in Supai, Arizona. Reservations open at 8:00 a.m. Arizona Time on February 1 and they go quickly. Similar to the John Muir Trail permits , hikers log onto the website and call in by the hundreds to book reservations in the canyon. Speed and good karma are your only assets in securing a permit and a spot in the campground.

Luckily, my hiking partner was able to secure our second choice itinerary for three days and two nights on Havasu Creek.

Havasupai Falls Trail Report

My good friend Mary and I had talked about hiking Havasupai since early 2017, and the plan was always to get to the canyon at some point. We had officially been hypnotized by Instagram: every outdoor blogger drools at the sight of Havasupai’s cerulean waters. When Mary texted me early one morning asking if I wanted to be on her permit into the canyon, I don’t think I ever typed so fast in my life. Yes!

Six weeks separated the  permit  purchase day and day one of the hike, and it wasn’t until week five when two realizations set in:

  • Yew! I’m going to Havasupai!
  • Oh, shit. I haven’t prepared at all .

Havasupai is a challenging hike. It’s 10 miles one-way to the only campground and requires an elevation loss of over 2,500 feet — you essentially descend to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This was about all of the information I had. Maintaining my cool, I went into deep Google mode — researching our water needs, weather reports, blogs, and write ups on other hikers’ experiences. I run regularly to keep my cardio strong, but I knew the elevation loss and gain would be brutal. I did a few local hikes in Southern California with some weight in my pack and called it good for the potential suffer-fest ahead.

Packing for this trip took some serious thought. Late winter in the Grand Canyon area can be unpredictable. Storms can move in quickly, bringing the threat of floods and freezing temperatures. Alternately, heat is always on the table when high-pressure systems move in on the desert. I’m not an ultralight backpacker, and finding the balance between weight and protection proved more vexing than when planning my more frequent trips into the mountains.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Gear Spread

A somewhat condensed gear spread.

It was just the two of us, Mary and myself, so we opted for the efficient Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 three-season backpacking tent. Supai Village (the small community in the canyon) fortunately has a weather station and we knew the highs would be in upper 60s and lows in the 40s: ideal backpacking weather.

I packed the Western Mountaineering SummerLite 32-degree down sleeping bag and the Exped Synmat Hyperlite MW for my sleep system. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody and Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Zip-Neck Top and Bottoms rounded out my nighttime attire for keeping the chill away. The Optimus Crux is my favorite backpacking canister stove, and I partnered it with the Optimus Weekend HE cookset, which is perfect for two people boiling water or preparing one-pot meals. To haul it all down to the bottom of the canyon, I used my trusted Osprey Atmos 50L which continues to perform like a dream.

After finalizing my kit and loading up the car, I drove from Ventura, CA to Phoenix, AZ over two days, stopping near Joshua Tree National Park to sleep in my car on the side of the road (sorry mom). I arrived in Phoenix later that afternoon and settled at Mary’s apartment near Arizona State University.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Joshua Tree

A brief overnight in Joshua Tree set the tone for the trip.

Mary had the stomach flu. Of course she did.

Thankfully, Mary bounced back quickly from the 24-hour bug, and we went to the grocery store to load up on provisions for the three-day trip. Oatmeal, nut butters, bagels, summer sausage, cheese, dried fruit, nuts, and crunchy snacks made up the usual trail food suspects. Upon returning to Mary’s efficiency studio apartment, our gear exploded onto every surface as we went about finalizing our kits before departing the next day. It’s always fun (and a little stressful) packing with a friend and comparing kits, giving advice, and making sacrifices together.

 Havasupai Falls Hike in ArizonaHualapai-Hilltop-Gear-Spread

Laying out the gear. If you’re hiking with partners, make sure you don’t duplicate gear, and go over your communal items beforehand.

Grand Canyon Views

We left early on Monday morning to get a head start on the 5-hour drive to Hualapai Hilltop, and the scenery along the road was gorgeous. When we arrived at the lip of the canyon, our jaws dropped. Even if you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, little can prepare you for the view you receive at Hualapai Hilltop: spectacular.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Hualapai Hilltop First View

Even amazing pictures don’t quite do it just. Hualapai Hilltop is breathtaking.

We settled into the crowded parking lot and erected a tent between our two cars. The nearest campground to Hualapai Hilltop that’s accessible by vehicle is over two hours south of the parking area, so most people sleep in their cars or pitch tents in whatever flat spot is available. We felt safe enough, although my sideview mirror was broken off when we returned to our cars. Break-ins occasionally happen at Hualapai Hilltop, so leave your valuables at home and lock your vehicle!

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Hatchback-Sunset

Chilling before the big day. Sometimes a sunset is all you need.

Hiking Havasupai

The night was cool and mild on the canyon rim. We woke with the sun, hungry for breakfast, ready to hit the trail. We filled up on oatmeal and coffee, hoisted our packs, and began our descent into the earth. We lost over 1,000 net feet of elevation in the first two miles alone. I have to climb up this on the way out… I thought to myself as we navigated switchback after switchback.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Jumping for Joy

Despite the switchbacks, there is a certain joy in backpacking.

The trail itself is well-maintained and easy to follow without a map, and we made it surprisingly quickly to the floor of Hualapai Canyon. After descending from the sprawling upper canyon, we dipped into a narrower slot canyon with red-orange sandstone walls towering over us. Some people feel claustrophobic in canyons. I, however, felt comfortable with the cool canyon walls hugging me closely as we dropped deeper and deeper into the strata of the plateau.

We saw our first cottonwood trees through the canyon: a sure sign of the seasonal waterways that nurture these beings in such an uncompromising environment. Willows, grasses, moss, and ferns appeared at seeps in the rock walls. Life found refuge, even here.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Floor of Hualapai Canyon Day 1

Trekking on the floor of Hualapai Canyon.

Running Thunder

The trail continued, wide and clear. I gazed at the water-smoothed stones, when, all of the sudden, we heard it: thunder in the distance. Closer. Louder. On top of us. But, no clouds in the sky. Ripping around a bend in the canyon’s course a team of eight mules led by a man on a beautiful horse kicked up dust and rocks. We flattened ourselves into nearby brush and watched in amazement as the mules galloped through the canyon.

The services of the canyon’s residents and their pack animals are available to bring your items into and out of the canyon for a fee, if you don’t want to hike it in and out yourself. The other option is by helicopter: another type of thunder found in the canyon. A helicopter runs regularly back and forth from Supai Village to Hualapai Hilltop, shuttling residents, tourists, and their respective supplies. The whirlybird does shatter the tranquility a bit, and it isn’t how I would want to experience the canyon. To each their own.

Reaching the Bottom

We started to hear another sound upon arriving at a bright emerald wall of cottonwood trees. We’d finally reached the junction with Havasu Canyon and its namesake creek. The air was fresh and filled with the smell of flowing water and the energy it brings to the desert. We were getting close.

 Havasupai Falls Hike in ArizonaPalm Tree Havasu

Encountering this after descending 2,500 feet is just a little stunning.

We came across a fenced-in ranch that signaled our entrance into Supai Village. Following the parade of hikers, we arrived at the visitor center office to check-in before heading to the campground two more miles down the trail. We knew the campground was an additional walk from the office, but it felt like an eternity finishing those two final miles. Once we saw Havasu Creek, though, that fatigue turned into awe and pure joy.

Meandering past Fifty Foot Falls and Havasu Creek below us, our jaws dropped to the red dirt. I never thought the water could be that blue in person. I thought that filters and Photoshop witchcraft were obviously involved. I was wrong.

The canyon narrowed as we approached Havasu Falls. The roar of falling water and trails of mist filled the air — we stood transfixed.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Wide

Havasu Falls and Creek. A site for sore feet.

Absorbing the wonderland before us, we finally arrived in the campground and began the search for our campsite. Mary did way more research than I had, and she revealed that the best campsites were across the creek and away from the crowded side-by-side sites. We mounted a log strewn across the creek and ended up at a dreamy creekside campsite nestled against cottonwoods and willows.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Havasu Creek Campsite

A fairly isolated, creekside campsite is the way to go. Once the tent is set up it’s time to dry out your wet and stinky clothes. Featuring the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 .

Unable to rest for even a moment, we changed into our sandals and headed back up the trail to find ourselves a waterfall. The lower cascades which create Navajo Falls were crowded with people and cheap inflatable floaties. We scooted along a barely-visible trail against a rock outcropping and found the real gem: Fifty Foot Falls. A single family and a group of young locals were wading in the shallow pool accented by a wall of crashing water.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Fording Havasu Creek

Fording Havasu Creek, where the waters are blue, the rocks are red, and the bright green of life comes as a surprise.

The magic continued even after sunset, as we settled in for our first night under a narrow strip of brilliant stars shaped by the undulating walls of Havasu Canyon.

Waterfalls Worth Hiking To

The following morning we had a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, and loaded up our day packs for our hike to the next grouping of falls: Mooney and Beaver Falls. If you think getting into the canyon was an adventure, then the hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls is an epic in just a couple miles.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Trail to Mooney Falls

Yes, you will want to prepare for some small spaces. On the way to Mooney Falls.

The path winds from the canyon bottom to the top of the cliff over which Mooney Falls crashes. We knew there would be some ladders, but we didn’t know we had to climb down through caves and down slippery, mist-slickened hand holds polished by decades of repetitive use. With a few deep breaths we descended the chains and ladders to the bottom of the cliff. It was easy to forget in that moment that we had to climb back up.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Trail-to-Mooney-Falls-2

Climbing ladders like this is just part of the adventure on the way to Mooney Falls.

Our fear faded back to wonderment as we were bombarded with the shower of Mooney Falls —  a 190-foot fall draped in moss and long-dry calcite deposits. We stopped and took countless photos before moving down trail towards Beaver Falls.

 Havasupai Falls Hike in ArizonaMooney Falls Right Navajo Falls Left

The stunning waterworks of the Havasupai hike. Navajo Falls on the left, Mooney Falls on the right.

After ascending and descending several more ladders and quietly observing a bighorn sheep just off the trail, we overlooked Beaver Falls. Step after step of white travertine surrounded by azure pools and shaded by cottonwood trees: paradise.

We spent the next few hours eating our lunch, taking in the sun, dozing with the white noise of the water. The sun became hot and the water called to us for a dip. A new friend we met while hiking took pictures of us and we returned the favor. Did it have to end?

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Mooney Falls Left Rainy Hikers Right

Mooney Falls on the Left. Much later, a soaked selfie on the way out of the canyon.

Heading Home

We saddled back up and began our return to camp. Sun-kissed and smiling we saw another female bighorn with a spring lamb staring at us calmly through the cacti and vines. Another reminder of the abundant life brought to this place by Havasu Creek.

Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona Bighorn Sheep and Canyon

Bighorn Sheep and beautiful trees are all too common here.

Exhausted, we stumbled into camp for a nap and some quiet time, followed by Indian fry bread at the food stand setup under a tent at the bottom of Havasu Canyon. (Yeah, there are food stands in the canyon!)

Sleep came and went quickly, and we woke to a chilly, overcast morning: a stark contrast to the last two days of sunshine and swimming. We broke camp and packed up quickly to get a head start on the day — there was a good chance of rain.

The journey out of the canyon was challenging as we struggled to regain that 2,500 feet of elevation while hiking through driving wind, rain, and temperatures in the 30s. Hualapai Hilltop came into view after several hours and lots of laughs, despite the strenuous hike. The hike up is hard, I won’t lie, but it’s made sweeter by the memories made in the canyon.

Reflections

When thinking about our trip to Havasupai, I wouldn’t change anything, except maybe extending the trip to the maximum four days permitted by the nation. I would have liked to hike to the Colorado River, ten additional miles north of the Havasupai campground, to see the confluence of the streams. But the weather on our third day was poor anyway, so that extra day may have been spent holed up in our tents out of fear of flash flooding upstream.

Another aspect of the trip does, however, give me pause. Remember: Havasupai is an Indian reservation. The Havasupai, or “People of the Blue-Green Water”, have reportedly lived in this area for over 800 years. It’s hard not to feel like an intruder when you walk through the village of Supai and then set up camp on the banks of their local stream. The history of the creation of the earliest American national parks is one of displacement and at times violence in the name of preserving beautiful places. The Havasupai were isolated in this canyon by the United States government during the establishment of Grand Canyon National Park , and it can be easy to forget the troubled backdrop to this most beautiful place.

The past looms large, but the present poses challenges as well. There have been reports of the pack mules who shuttle gear being overworked and appearing to be in poor condition. Many of the yards in Supai are littered with trash, but I couldn’t tell if it was the refuse of tourists or locals. Like many American Indian nations, health problems continue to be a concern, and the ongoing threat of uranium mining and other destructive extractive industries threaten the Havasupai’s home and way of life. Tourism is an important part of the Havasupai economy and helps to support the community, but is enough being done to ensure the benefits of visiting dollars are not outweighed by the costs of American expansionism?

Despite my reflections, I would absolutely recommend the hike to Havasupai . It is possible and essential to travel to this place with respect for the people and the land.

 Havasupai Falls Hike in ArizonaHualapai Hilltop Day 1

Contemplative before and after the hike. Havasupai meant a lot.

Finally, this trip in particular came at a time in my life when I needed it most. I separated from my partner of over seven years four months prior to the canyon, and was still recovering from the Thomas Fire : the largest wildfire in modern California history, which devastated my home county. Not only was my home, my friends, and my employer threatened and disrupted, some of my favorite local wild places were ravaged by fire and mudslides or closed off due to potential dangers. I had gone four months without backpacking, the longest I’ve gone in the last five years. I was still sitting in a state of depression and fog when Mary invited me to hike Havasupai, and I cannot thank her enough for her timing, intentional or otherwise.

I am not many things. I am not a runner. I’m a person who runs. I am not a foodie. I’m a person who eats a lot. But, I am a backpacker, and I am most alive when I have a pack on my back and dirt under my feet. Havasupai reignited my love for this activity that has become a passion and an obsession, and I am so grateful to this place for restoring my spirit after one of the most challenging times of my life.

Submit Your Own Trip Report!

We’re looking for trail blazers from all walks of life to share their own Trip Reports. Help build the trail and gear resources of Backpackers.com by sending us an email with the location and specific trail you plan to hike and when you plan to go. We’ll feature you as an ambassador of the outdoors on our site, and you’ll help backpackers tackle the wild.

Connect Here: [email protected]

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy : This Trip Report contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

havasu falls trip report

Seb Cancino

Seb devotes their energy to hiking, backpacking, camping, and cycling in the mountains and deserts of the western USA. Their favorite trek was a thru-hike of the Big SEKI Loop in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, and they are planning a thru-hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail in 2021. Peek on their Instagram to see where their latest adventures are taking them!

Welcome to Backpackers.com. We are a small, independent team writing gear reviews and useful outdoor guides.

Our mission is to empower all walks of life to be ambassadors of the outdoors. Read our About page for more information, and check out our gear reviews , trip reports , and outdoor guides .

  • REI Accessibility Statement
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to Gift Registry categories
  • Expert Advice

How to Visit Havasu Falls – Everything You Need to Know

Annemarie Kruse

Havasu Falls is incredibly famous. Most people have heard that it is in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but don’t know much more about it. Many people want to visit the waterfalls every year and don’t know where to start planning their trip. Start here. This is a basic outline of everything you need to know to see Havasu Falls, with links to helpful planning resources.

COVID-19 Update: As of January 2021, Havasu Canyon remains closed to tourists. Find out more at  havasupaireservations.com

  • You must plan your trip well in advance
  • Visiting Havasu Falls requires a strenuous hike
  • You must get a permit to visit Havasu Falls
  • You must stay overnight at Havasu Falls
  • Do your research and know what to expect

Havasu Falls and rainbow in morning light.

Additional Resources to help you plan

  • How to Reserve Havasupai Permits
  • Where is Havasu Falls?
  • Hiking the Trail to Havasu Falls

1. You must plan your trip well in advance

Havasu Falls is not in Grand Canyon National Park, it is on an Indian reservation near the National Park. This means you cannot expect to add a visit to the waterfalls onto your trip at the last minute. You must plan in advance.

The waterfalls are not easy to get to

There are no roads to the waterfalls only a difficult 10 mile hike in each direction.

The hike begins on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, a 4-5 hour drive from either Phoenix or Las Vegas.

There are restrictions on visiting the waterfalls

The Havasupai tribe control access to Havasu Falls and the other nearby waterfalls. They require that you stay overnight in the canyon on your visit. You must reserve a permit to hike into the canyon. The permits are very difficult to get and sell out months in advance (Read more in #3) .

It is logistically difficult to plan a trip

This is the Grand Canyon. It is very remote wilderness. You must have the proper hiking and camping equipment to visit this place safely. Summers are very very hot, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (38 C). In July and August monsoon storms and flash floods are common. Check the weather well in advance.

2. Visiting Havasu Falls requires a strenuous hike

Read our blog about the trail to Havasupai.

The hike to Havasu Falls Havasupai is 10 miles in each direction. It is rocky and sandy with very little shade. The hike to the falls is all downhill, which means that the hike back out to your car will be all uphill and is quite difficult.

Train in advance. If you are not prepared for the hike, you will be sore and tired while you are at the falls and you will not enjoy exploring the area. Before going to Havasupai, you should feel certain that you are capable of hiking  at least  20 miles during your trip.

3. You must have a permit to hike to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls is on tribal land that belongs to the Havasupai Indian Tribe. The Havasupai Indians require that all visitors reserve a permit in advance.

Permits are in high demand because the waterfalls are so popular. You must reserve your permits on February 1 when the permit reservation period opens up or they will all be sold out for the entire year. You can reserve online.

4. You must stay overnight at Havasu Falls

The Havasupai Tribe require that all visitors stay overnight in the canyon and as of 2019 they are requiring a minimum stay of 3 nights on each reservation. This is for your own safety due to the nature of the challenging 10 mile hike each direction. No day hiking is allowed.

It is easy to spend 3 or more nights at Havasu Falls and exploring Havasu Canyon . There is a lot to see and do in the canyon. If you visit for only one night you will not have the chance to see much. You will take most of the day hiking to the waterfalls and will be too tired to explore when you arrive, then the next day you will have to leave.

Most people camp in the Havasu Falls campground . You will need to bring all of your own equipment to stay here and you will need to carry that equipment with you while hiking. The tribe does offer the option to hire a pack horse to carry some equipment for an added fee, but it is best to prepare to carry your own equipment and food.

There is a Lodge/hotel that some people stay at in the canyon. It is in the village of Supai, Arizona which is about 2 miles away from Havasu Falls. You will pass through Supai on your hike to the waterfalls. The lodge is very basic, does not have many rooms, and offers no food.

5. Do your research and have the right expectations

The Havasupai Indian Reservation is a very remote wilderness area. Be prepared that during your visit you will not have access to flushing toilets, running water, shops, hospitals, or other things you depend on in day to day life. Carry first aid with you and know what to do in the event of an emergency.

You will need to carry all of your food into the canyon and  carry all of your trash out of the canyon.

The Havasupai tribe that lives in the canyon is isolated from the rest of the world but they are very proud of their canyon home. Take some time to learn about the Havasupai people

View of Havasu Falls.

Home > USA Parks > Grand Canyon > Havasu Falls: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Havasu Falls hike

Havasu Falls: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of the Grand Canyon

This site may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

As you go around the Grand Canyon, images of the fascinating emerald waters of Havasu Falls stand out in all the postcards, photo books and calendars. Yet, it seems strange, of all the millions of tourists who flock to this magnificent gorge in Arizona  every year, only a very small percentage have ever seen these mysterious waterfalls. Why?

Well, first of all because the Havasu Falls are located inside Havasu Canyon , on the Havasupai Indian Reservation , a territory controlled by the Indian tribe of the same name (not to be confused with the Hualapai, whom we have already learned about because of the Grand Canyon Skywalk ), and therefore they are found outside the jurisdiction of the Grand Canyon National Park ; but there are other reasons too:

  • Distance : Similarly to Grand Canyon West , this other little hidden gem is located quite far from the Grand Canyon (about 4 hours from the starting point of the trail).
  • Planning the  visit : Havasu Falls are not so easy to reach and to visit them you need careful planning and be willing either to put the work in while taking a nice hike, or to spend a few extra dollars to get there with more comfort. It is also forbidden to make a day trip out of the hike to the falls. The Havasupai require the (expensive) reservation of a permit for overnight stay in the area (campground or lodge).

In any case, if you plan well, the visit is feasible and definitely worth it. Here’s how to do it!

How To Get To Havasu Falls?

Havasu falls permit, best time to visit havasu falls, hiking havasu falls trail, how long is the hike to havasu falls, guided tours, how to get to havasu falls without hiking, other waterfalls in the area, grand canyon waterfall: tips for the visit.

Havasu Falls arizona

Havasu Falls are known all over the world for their beauty and, among the things to do at the Grand Canyon , they are one of the most fascinating places. It is in fact a kind of natural amphitheater carved into red rock cliffs typically found in the great canyons of the American West. However, the presence of waterfalls and natural pools with turquoise water forms a unique and wonderful contrast of colors, and you will never find another place like this!

how to get to Havasu Falls

As it was mentioned, forget about getting to Havasu Falls by car. You can drive as far as Hualapai Hilltop (the starting point of the hike, about 9.3 miles away), park and then decide what to do. If you want to get to the waterfalls on foot it is best to sleep in the area in order to start walking early in the morning (the heat can be devastating during rush hour).

The nearest urban area to Hualapai Hilltop is Peach Springs (62 miles) and Seligman (89 miles). Below are two links for accommodations in the area, unless you want to experience something more touristy at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn on Arizona Route 66 (Mile-marker 115).

  • Hualapai Lodge , N Highway 66 Peach Springs
  • Motels in Seligman
  • Accommodations in Peach Springs

At the starting point of the hike you will find only a parking lot. There are no facilities there, so for any need (gasoline, food, water, urgent needs!) plan a stop in the cities mentioned above.

grand canyon waterfall

It is necessary to book well in advance (even a year before), as the number of visitors accepted is limited and day trips are not allowed. In other words, to get to Havasu Falls it is compulsory to book a permit for an overnight stay in the campground or in the Supai Lodge. You can find all the information on the official website .

On the same website you will see the warning that the Havasu Canyon area is a fragile and flood prone environment; some areas of the canyon are off-limits to visitors and in several cases sudden closures may occur.

The area can be visited at any time of the year, however the climate and the influx of tourists change a lot depending on the seasons. Here are the instructions of Wild Backpacker :

“The best months for swimming and hiking are March-May and September-October. The heat of June-August can be unbearable for many with average temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, although it is considered a high season anyway. July-September is the monsoon season, when you are more likely to see storms and flash floods, with the risk of having your holiday ruined. If you are looking for an experience with fewer tourists or for activities such as birdwatching or caving, the winter months are ideal.”

Havasu Falls trail

This is the most typical and adventurous way to get to the falls.  From the parking lot the path descends steeply through a series of hairpin bends carved into the rock. After only 1 mile, you will have descended over 2000 feet and find yourself directly at the bottom of Hualapai Canyon . The trail then wedges you into the narrow rock faces of Havasu Canyon , where you will see Havasu Creek, the river you must follow faithfully to reach the falls. Before you arrive (about 30 minutes away) you will pass by Supai, where you can cool off.

The route is fascinating, but rather long, 10 miles , and it’s also quite challenging. You can expect to walk 4-7 hours each way. Near the falls you can (or should!) spend the night either in a camping area or in a lodge in Supai (Havasupai Lodge), capital of the Indian reservation (a 30-minute walk from the falls).

Be prepared!

  • Along the way, just like in typical western movies, you will often see lines of mules carrying luggage or people one after the other. Stand on one side and let them pass.
  • Bring adequate food and water supplies. Until Supai you will not find any facilities.
  • Hiking equipment is a must!

Map of Havasu Falls Trail

For a more detailed map , I suggest you take a look here .

Havasu Falls Biglietti

You can walk along the trail accompanied by an experienced guide: you will find more information here .

Until recently, there were 2 other possibilities to visit Havasu Falls.

  • Mule Ride : If the hike seems a bit too tiring for you, you can try something unusual. You can cross the Canyon on the back of a mule, and don’t worry about your luggage, mules will carry them too. Again, a reservation is required.
  • Helicopter Ride : If you want to take it easy and enjoy the view in the meantime, this is just for you. It is not possible to book the tour in advance, but you have to be at the parking lot as early as possible to get in the line to get on the departing helicopters.

Havasu Falls Biglietti

To be honest, Mother Nature has been particularly generous in this area and has scattered it with other beautiful and glimmering waterfalls. Although they are quite close to the Havasu, but to reach others, you may have to venture on a challenging hike on rugged trails. Find out more on the official website to organize the hike. Here are several other waterfalls you can find in the Havasupai Indian Reservation :

  • Mooney Falls
  • Navajo Falls
  • Beaver Falls

For an overview, in order to have a clearer idea of the route, the waterfalls, Supai and everything else, take a look at the video below.

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

lorenzo puliti

lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

Related posts

white pocket Arizona

White Pocket in Arizona: a marvel in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

the wave arizona USA

The Wave in Arizona – A Complete Guide to get your Permit

things to do at lake mead

Visiting Lake Mead: Things to Do, Beaches and Hiking Trails

Grand Canyon Mule Rides

Discover the Grand Canyon… On a Mule!

1 thought on “havasu falls: a hidden gem in the heart of the grand canyon”.

This is the best Adventure that I have ever taken. I did take the helicopter to and from Havasupia but the hike down and camping there was the most indescribable experience This is a must do !!!!!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

SummitPost.org

  • Trip Reports
  • Areas & Ranges
  • Huts & Campgrounds
  • Logistical Centers
  • Fact Sheets
  • Custom Objects
  • Plans & Partners
  • Havasu Falls

tarol

  • Additional Parents
  • Images (27)
  • Comments (7)

3 days in paradise!

On the trail

View Havasu Falls Image Gallery - 27 Images

BobSmith

BobSmith - Mar 23, 2015 6:17 am - Voted 10/10

report. Makes me more likely to go. I'd heard so many negative things that I had marked it off my bucket list.

tarol

tarol - Mar 25, 2015 8:36 am - Hasn't voted

Definitely put it back on!! But plan for either late fall or early spring - before spring break - and during the week if you can, to avoid crowds.

lisae

lisae - Mar 23, 2015 9:54 am - Voted 10/10

it is nice to see photos of Navajo Falls. The falls were altered by a flood several years back.

tarol - Mar 25, 2015 8:37 am - Hasn't voted

They are still beautiful :)

CClaude

CClaude - Mar 24, 2015 10:27 pm - Voted 10/10

I took my now fiancee (Kristina ironically) there last spring (second week of April) and think we had much the same experience. The falls, especially Havasupi Falls are beautiful. The trail is easy, but its a lot like hiking 8 miles on a beach.- Enjoyed your account.

tarol - Mar 25, 2015 8:38 am - Hasn't voted

Glad you enjoyed the report. Yup, a gravelly beach!

onan777 - Mar 30, 2015 10:59 am - Hasn't voted

Ive been down there three times although this is a beautiful hike it was better when it was managd by the NPS.The indian packe have no reguard for your sftey and will run you off the trail if you give them the chnce. On thy way down I saw ead horse justl eft by the side of the ril for the feral dogs to munch on. The pric of admission is ay to much and the villiage is trashed. The falls area itself is fairy cean but the supai dont limit the amount of people like the park service would, Overal its worth going there ust dont pay the admission fee and youll be glad you went there.

  • Trip Reports in Arizona

Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

  • Land of the Havasu 'Baaja

You need to login in order to vote!

Don't have an account.

  • Rating available
  • Suggested routes for you
  • People who climb the same things as you
  • Comments Available
  • Create Albums

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser or activate Google Chrome Frame to improve your experience.

trip owl logo

  • Trip Styles
  • Destinations
  • Havasu Falls Hiking Tours

Fifty Foot Falls on the Havasupai Reservation

  • USA Hiking Vacations
  • Arizona Hikes & Tours

HAVASU FALLS HIKING TOURS

Enjoy Havasu Falls' world-famous plunges and breathtaking turquoise waters!

Please Note : Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be operating Havasu Falls tours until further notice. We hope to continue operating tours to Havasu Falls in the future. In the meantime, we offer award-winning hiking and trekking vacations to other incredible Southwest destinations! Check out more of our Arizona adventures .

havasu falls trip report

We offer several multi-day guided Havasupai hiking tours to choose from. All our trips are all-inclusive, allowing you to show up and focus 100% on hiking and enjoying the Grand Canyon ‘s most stunning waterfalls. Havasu Falls trips include all necessary permits and reservations, roundtrip transportation from Flagstaff, gear, meals, professional guides, and more!

We invite you to explore the options below and select the Havasu Falls hiking tour that best fits what you’re looking for! And you can always call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) if you need assistance deciding which trip is the right one for you.

All Havasu Falls Hiking Tours Trips ( 2 results)

Filter trips.

Trip Length

havasu falls trip report

Havasu Falls Explorer

havasu falls trip report

Havasupai Premier

Havasu falls intro video.

Check out an introductory video about our backpacking trips to Havasu Falls. Arguably one of the most beautiful canyons anywhere in the world, Havasupai is a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives. See footage, interviews with guests and more.

havasu falls trip report

more information about havasu falls tours

Why join a guided tour to havasu falls.

Our guided tours to Havasu Falls (“Havasupai”) are all-inclusive, expert-led hiking vacation packages that allow guests to focus 100% on hiking the Grand Canyon and soaking up the magic of the Southwest’s most amazing waterfalls. We provide permits and reservations, local transportation (from Flagstaff), the vast majority of your gear, all your meals, professional guides, natural and cultural history interpretation, and a passion for the Grand Canyon and the Havasupai Reservation!

what if i want to go on my own?

You can hike to Havasu Falls on your own, so you certainly don’t have to go with a guided tour company. If you’d like to hike Havasupai on your own, we recommend checking out our resource section for hiking to Havasu Falls. This resource gives you all the information you’ll need including how to make reservations, details about the drive and hike, phone numbers to call, what to pack, when to go, and more!

when should i hike to havasupai?

Havasu Falls is great year-round, but the best times to travel are in the spring and fall. The water flow is constant year-round, so don’t worry about high and low flows! Summer is great, but also very hot and susceptible to flash flooding, and Havasu Falls is closed in the winter. We also recommend avoiding holiday weekends, as the campground can sometimes be overbooked and quite crowded.

more havasupai info

Tips for visiting havasupai.

  • VISITING HAVASUPAI : Get info on what’s required, when to visit, whether to go on your own or on a guided tour and more.
  • 5 HAVASUPAI WATERFALLS : See photos and descriptions of all 5 of the Havasupai Waterfalls.
  • HAVASUPAI RESERVATIONS : Information about how to obtain Havasupai camping permits, required fees, lodge reservations and more.
  • HIKING TO HAVASUPAI : Driving instructions, hiking instructions, information about the helicopter, packing lists and more.

wildland Wires

Sign up to receive our exclusive Wildland Wire emails and stay up to date with Wildland Trekking's promotions, discounts, contests, outdoor tips and tricks, trip reports and more!

havasu falls trip report

15 Amazing Arizona Waterfalls Worth the Hike

A lthough much of Arizona comprises arid landscapes, this Southwest state is also home to phenomenal waterfalls. Getting to some of these cascades can involve lengthy desert hikes in remote areas, while others aren't too far from urban centers. A few of the most impressive pristine falls are found in the Grand Canyon, one of the best places to visit in Arizona ; you should plan to camp at the bottom of the canyon overnight to see them.

If you are vacationing in Arizona and have your heart set on seeing some of the state's most amazing waterfalls, you may want to schedule your visit for the early spring, when snowmelt from the mountains causes the rivers and creeks feeding the falls to run high. In the heat of the summer months, bodies of water may instead run dry – at least until a steady bout of rain.

In whatever season you're planning to go hiking , be sure to carry plenty of water, wear sturdy hiking shoes, and keep an eye out for creatures on the trail spanning scorpions to rattlesnakes to Gila monsters. Here are 16 of the most amazing Arizona waterfalls worth the hike.

Note: Waterfalls and trails may be subject to closures because of weather conditions. Check with your intended destination before you visit.

Havasu Falls

Earning its place on the bucket list of many who travel to Arizona, the gorgeous Havasu Falls is located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation inside the Grand Canyon (but is not part of Grand Canyon National Park ). In order to hike to this waterfall, you'll need to secure a permit from the Havasupai Tribe and make reservations at the campground or the Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village. Permits – which can be challenging to obtain – typically go on sale on Feb. 1 for the forthcoming travel season, which runs through November. The trail is subject to closures from June to August because of flooding and extreme heat.

The downhill trek from the canyon rim at Hualapai Hilltop to Supai Village, where the lodge is located, is 8 miles; the campground and Havasu Falls are another 2 miles. Once you're settled at your camp, you can also take a day trip to several other beautiful waterfalls in the area, such as Beaver Falls.

Keep in mind that at the bottom of the canyon summer temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees and the hike can be strenuous; it's thus critical that you pack plenty of water (none is available on the trail) and wear proper clothing and sunscreen. And remember: The return trip is all uphill. If you do commit to this hike, you'll be rewarded with the chance to swim in a bright blue-green pool of refreshing water at the base of mesmerizing Havasu Falls.

Read: The Top Things to Do in Arizona

Cibecue Falls

The 3-mile, out-and-back Cibecue Creek Trail to Cibecue Falls sits in east-central Arizona. Its trailhead on the Fort Apache Reservation – home to the White Mountain Apache Tribe – is about 45 miles north of the town of Globe and 35 miles south of the town of Cibecue. To hike this moderately difficult trail you'll need a Cibecue Falls Access Permit, which is available for purchase at nearby gas stations and convenience stores . The permit does not, however, allow you to camp, fish or swim at Cibecue Falls. Swimming is prohibited throughout the reservation, so be sure to stay out of the water even if it looks tempting. Cell service is minimal here; you may want to download a map of the area before you start your trek.

Seven Falls

You'll find the Seven Falls Trail – which fittingly takes you past seven waterfalls – in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area , located within the Coronado National Forest, about 15 miles northeast of downtown Tucson . To reach these natural falls and pools, park near the visitor center and pay a day use fee, then follow signs to Bear Canyon Trail (No. 29). From the parking lot, the 8.6-mile out-and-back trail to Seven Falls begins on pavement and then follows the canyon floor, involving multiple creek crossings (which can be tricky at rare times of high water). You can cut some distance off your trek if you take one of the 30-minute Bear Canyon electric shuttles from the visitor center to the trailhead of Seven Falls for a fee.

Seven Falls may be best enjoyed in late winter or early spring, when the cascades are flowing heavily due to snowmelt. That said, take note of U.S. Forest Service notices regarding trail closures because of flooding after heavy rains or other conditions. Especially in the summer months, when temperatures soar, be sure to pack plenty of drinking water. Visitors like to cool off in the pools of water below the falls, but space for swimming may be at a premium in the summer, with the cascades slowing to a trickle.

Fossil Creek Falls

The Fossil Creek Recreation Area in the Coconino National Forest is about 85 miles south of Flagstaff . The mile-long Waterfall Trail hike follows blue-green Fossil Creek, known for its travertine deposits, to a natural waterfall. If you visit Fossil Creek Falls during the summer season from April 1 to Oct. 1, you need to make a reservation for an entry permit and parking pass, the latter of which must be printed out and displayed on your car's dashboard; outside of those dates, reservations are not needed. The dirt road to reach the Fossil Creek Recreation Area via the town of Camp Verde is bumpy; a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended, since the drive is so rough. Note that there is no access to the creek or waterfall from Strawberry, Arizona. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service warns that swimming or cliff diving near the falls is extremely dangerous.

Pacheta Falls

Pacheta Falls is situated in a remote area on the Fort Apache Reservation. You'll traverse lengthy and bumpy backcountry roads to reach the falls, and route-finding skills are recommended. One approach is the approximately 60-mile drive from the small town of McNary along state Route 260 and state Route 273, past Reservation Lake Campgrounds and Pacheta Lake Campground. Alternatively, it's about 45 miles along county roads from the town of Whiteriver. Each visitor must obtain a Pacheta Falls Access Permits for entry to the area around Pacheta Falls; you can pick up a permit from certain vendors on the reservation.

While you can access the falls directly using old logging roads if you happen to have a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle, another option is to hike from the junction of County Road 8 and Pacheta Creek. From there it's about 1.25 miles along a faint creek trail with water crossings to a picturesque and pristine waterfall that reaches about 130 feet in height. Keep in mind that swimming is not permitted at Pacheta Falls or in any waters on White Mountain Apache Tribe land.

Mooney Falls

If you're planning a backpacking adventure to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Mooney Falls should also be on your must-see list. Like Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls is located on the Havasupai Reservation, so you'll need a camping reservation and permit to access the area. From the northwest end of Havasupai Campground, it's a relatively easy 1-mile hike to reach the top of Mooney Falls. The real challenge comes if you choose to climb to the base of the waterfall: You'll need to make your way down a cliffside passageway involving chains and ladders. While you can admire the 200-foot cascade of water just fine from the top of the trail, if you're a confident hiker who's not afraid of heights, it's surely worth the short, steep hike to see this amazing waterfall from the blue-green pool at its base. Go early in the day to miss the "rush hour" and avoid having to wait for other travelers to descend.

Navajo Falls

Navajo Falls is yet another scenic cascade located just upstream from Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. If you're already planning to make the descent to the Havasupai Reservation on a backpacking trip, make sure you take time to visit beautiful Navajo Falls as well, as long as you have secured a camping reservation and permit. From the Havasupai Campground, it's a little more than a half-mile hike south to reach Navajo Falls, or you can take the little side trip on your way to the campground. There are actually two sets of waterfalls: Upper Navajo Falls, which is partly hidden from the main trail, and Lower Navajo Falls, which is more easily accessible. If Havasu Falls is packed with people cooling off in the turquoise pool at its base, Navajo Falls is a great alternative way to feel refreshed after the long hike from Hualapai Hilltop into the canyon.

Bridal Wreath Falls

The hike to Bridal Wreath Falls is a 5.7-mile out-and-back trail. The trailhead is about 20 miles east of downtown Tucson in the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park . The 25-foot falls are a seasonal attraction, especially fierce in the early spring with snowmelt or after some rainfall (such as post-monsoon in the summer); the cascade may be minimal at other times, so plan accordingly. Recent visitors report sightings of venomous lizards called Gila monsters on the trail, and this desert landscape is also the home of rattlesnakes. Keep your eyes on the path in front of you to avoid disturbing any wildlife. Don't forget to pack in plenty of water as well; there's little shade on the trail.

360 Kiosk Email : Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Romero Pools

Romero Pools can be accessed via the Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park , about 15 miles north of downtown Tucson. There is a fee to enter the state park, which is a popular recreational area at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The out-and-back hike to the Romero Pools is about 5.5 miles total. The first mile or so is a relatively flat walk to Montrose Pools, before the trail becomes steep and rocky for another 1.7 miles as you approach the Romero Pools, formed by a canyon stream that flows seasonally. You may not see water filling the pools if you hike the trail in the hottest months. Past hikers recommend hiking past the first pools, since a second set, a bit hidden from the main trail, may also include a short waterfall, especially if you're hiking after a rainstorm or in the spring.

Tanque Verde Falls

The 2-mile hike to Tanque Verde Falls is a moderately challenging out-and-back trail about 20 miles east of Tucson. Found on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, the falls may not be running if you embark on this hike in the mid-summer months or when conditions are too try; the best time to see the cascades running is springtime when the gushing water reaches 80 feet in height. There are also smaller falls and swimming holes along the trail. To reach the trailhead, motor east from Tucson on Tanque Verde Road until it turns into Redington Road, which becomes a dirt road. You'll find a parking area on your left.

Water Wheel Falls

Water Wheel Falls is a popular swimming hole in the summer months near Payson, Arizona, which is about 100 miles south of Flagstaff and 100 miles northeast of Phoenix . Reach the falls in the Tonto National Forest via a 1.6-mile out-and-back riverside trail. Recent hikers note there are lots of boulders to navigate that can be slippery near the water. Another tip: If the parking lot at the Water Wheel Falls trailhead is full, you can backtrack to park at the First Crossing lot down Forest Road 199, which will add about a mile to your walk. Visitors in the months of April through October have to pay an entry fee to access the Tonto National Forest.

Ellison Creek Cascades

If you're in the vicinity of Payson, Arizona – perhaps checking out Water Wheel Falls – also consider making the short trek to Ellison Creek Cascades. The trailhead for the 1.5-mile out-and-back trail can be found at the Second Crossing parking lot on Forest Road 199. The short hike itself is mostly along a gravel road until the trail veers off just before the small falls and a rocky "play area." Note that the hike to the cascades is a descent, so you'll need to walk back up to get to the parking area.

Sycamore Falls

The trailhead for Sycamore Falls is about 15 miles southeast of Williams and 60 miles northwest of Sedona in north-central Arizona. The hike to see the falls is along an easy half-mile loop trail in the Kaibab National Forest. You'll traipse along the Sycamore Canyon rim, which is a popular spot for rock climbing. From the rim, you can see Sycamore Falls cascading into a giant pool of water. Note the falls may be dry in the summer months. From the Sycamore Falls Trailhead, you can access the Sycamore Rim Trail, an 11-mile loop, if you're looking for a longer hike.

Massacre Falls

These morbidly named falls are found in Arizona's Superstition Mountains about 40 miles east of downtown Phoenix. To reach the impressive seasonal waterfall, you'll take a moderately challenging 5.5-mile out-and-back trail with blooming wildflowers in the late winter and spring. Also keep an eye out for patches of teddy-bear cholla cactus and prickly pear cactus as you traverse the Massacre Grounds Trail. Note that the falls may only be active in the winter months unless you visit after heavy rain.

The cascade of water cut into the sandstone at Slide Rock State Park isn't technically a waterfall, but this unusual natural attraction is worth a spot on this list simply for the hours of fun it can provide for visitors to nearby Sedona (about 7 miles south). Slide Rock is an 80-foot-long chute ranging from 2.5 to 4 feet wide, and adventure enthusiasts can slide down it. This natural waterslide, especially slippery due to the layer of algae on the red rock, sits at the bottom of Oak Creek Canyon. Swimming and wading are permitted in the half-mile section of the creek surrounding the slide.

Reach Slide Rock along a moderate 0.3-mile walk that starts near the state park's historic apple-packing barn – apples have grown in orchards on this property for more than a century – and follows Oak Creek. The Slide Rock Route crosses the creek over a small footbridge, which may not be accessible during times of high runoff.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Lakes in Arizona
  • The Top Arizona Tours
  • The Top Restaurants in Sedona
  • The Top Oregon Waterfalls
  • The Top Iceland Waterfalls

Copyright 2024 U.S. News & World Report

Water flows over Little Navajo Falls into a turquoise pool on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon.

IMAGES

  1. Hiking Havasu Falls Trip Report

    havasu falls trip report

  2. The Ultimate 2023 Havasu Falls Hike Trail Guide

    havasu falls trip report

  3. Guide de voyage Havasu Falls

    havasu falls trip report

  4. Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon Re-Opens After 3 Years

    havasu falls trip report

  5. Everything You Need to Know to Visit Havasu Falls

    havasu falls trip report

  6. Hiking Havasu Falls Trip Report

    havasu falls trip report

VIDEO

  1. Havasu Falls 1

  2. HAVASU FALLS ARIZONA, USA

  3. My trip to the Havasu waterfalls

  4. Hiking to Havasupai Falls Campground Supai Arizona June 3th 2023

  5. 5 tips to prep for hiking Havasu Falls! #shorts #havasu #travelpodcast

  6. HAVASU FALLS IS GORGEOUS! ARIZONA, USA

COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate 2024 Havasu Falls Hike Trail Guide

    The beautiful blue waters of Havasupai should be on the top of your bucket list. This post has everything you need to know about visiting Havasu Falls from trail details, permits, photography, what to pack, and more. This 25-mile round trip trail and it's 5 amazing waterfalls, Fifty Foot Falls, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and ...

  2. Havasu Falls Tips: 21 Dos and Don'ts for a Successful Visit

    7. Respect the locals. It's important to remember that the Havasupai tribe doesn't have to let visitors into Havasupai to visit these falls. Recognize that we are visitors in their home and it's a privledge to be there, not a right. Be respectful of the rules and their land, and be friendly, just as they are to us. 8.

  3. A Guide to Visiting Havasu Falls the 'Right Way'

    To visit Havasu Falls "the right way" requires planning and plenty of physical preparation. Here's our guide to make your trip to the falls a memorable one. But first, the basics. When to go. The official season runs from February - November. The earlier months mean colder waters but possibly fewer crowds.

  4. Guide to the Havasu Falls Hike + Map and Tips!

    The Havasu Falls trailhead is at Hualapai Hilltop, which is found at the end of BIA Road 18. You can see it here on Google Maps. The closest town is Peach Springs Arizona, where there is gas available. The closest larger towns for supplies are Kingman, AZ and Williams, AZ. These towns are around 2.5 hours drive away.

  5. Havasu Falls Hike: All Your Questions Answered + Essential Tips

    8. Pace yourself. The trail down to the campground is 10 miles and usually takes 4-7 hours to hike. The hike out will take a bit longer since you'll be going up elevation, so plan about 5-8 hours out . Our advice is to take water breaks, go at your own pace, and try your best to walk in the shade.

  6. Complete Guide to Hiking Hidden Havasu Falls 2024

    Supai Campgrounds AKA Havasu Falls Campground and Havasupai Campgrounds. Getting There: Step-by-step Itinerary. How to Get to Remote Havasu Falls - 4 Steps. 1.) Fly into Phoenix, Flagstaff or Las Vegas. 2.) Drive to Seligman or Grand Canyon Caverns Inn to sleep the night before your Havasu Falls hike.

  7. Havasu Falls Hike: Havasupai, Arizona Trail Guide

    Location: Havasupai, Arizona, nestled within the Grand Canyon. Distance: ~20-miles*, out-and-back. Elevation gain: 2,400 ft. Difficulty rating: moderate. Timing: Typically takes 4-7 hours to hike in and 5-8 hours to hike out, it is recommended you spend 2-3 nights there to experience the various falls.

  8. How To Plan A Trip To Havasu Falls

    There is only one 3-night permit offered for camping (no matter the duration you plan to stay). The permit cost for the campground has risen to $455 per person. The rate for the Havasupai Lodge has risen to $2,277 for a 3-night stay. The reservation offers a presale from January 5th to 18th (cost is $15 per person).

  9. Your Complete Guide to Havasupai and the Havasu Falls Hike

    Havasuapi Itinerary Overview: Day 1: 10-mile hike to the campground. Waterfalls: Fifty-Foot Falls, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls. Day 2: 6-mile hike. Waterfalls: Mooney and Beaver Falls. OR option to hike all the way to the confluence and back (17 miles RT) Day 3: 10-mile hike back out to Hualapai Hilltop.

  10. Everything You Need to Know to Visit Havasu Falls

    There's a handy map on the Havasupai website . To avoid hauling all your gear in and out of the canyon, travelers can reserve a pack mule before their visit. The cost per pack mule is $400 round ...

  11. Havasu Falls Hike: Everything You Need to Know

    The hike to Havasu Falls from the trailhead and back is 18.6 miles roundtrip. However, almost all visitors do the Havasu Falls hike as a backpacking trip, so if you tack on the additional mileage to the Havasupai campground, the trail is about 20 miles long.

  12. Havasu Falls Hike Trip Report

    UPDATED April 3, 2024 — Havasu Falls Hike Trip Report — The scabs on my knees weren't yet dry from a previous hiking fall in the Sonoran Desert when six days later I tripped again and fell headlong onto the sandy Havasu Falls Trail. The 10-mile footpath through hot, dry desert-like terrain leads to one of the planet's most unique places ...

  13. The Ultimate Guide To Hiking Havasu Falls

    They no longer allow 1-2 nights camping permits either; you must buy a 3 night/4 day camping permit to hike to Havasu Falls. To obtain camping permits, you must purchase them through the Havasupai tribe's reservation website. Permits are between $300-$375USD depending on what days you go (weekends are more expensive).

  14. Havasupai Falls Hike in Arizona

    Havasupai, or Havasu Falls, is in a remote side gorge that flows into the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in northern Arizona. The area is one of the most picturesque in the American Southwest due to its turquoise waters, soaring waterfalls, and the striking contrast between the harsh desert and this lush oasis.

  15. How to Visit Havasu Falls

    Start here. This is a basic outline of everything you need to know to see Havasu Falls, with links to helpful planning resources. COVID-19 Update: As of January 2021, Havasu Canyon remains closed to tourists. Find out more at havasupaireservations.com. You must plan your trip well in advance; Visiting Havasu Falls requires a strenuous hike

  16. Best Time to Visit Havasu Falls: Our Top Pick + When to AVOID

    May. Hot, summer-like temperatures are starting to creep in during the month of May, but it's not nearly as hot as it will be in the coming months. You may start to see some bugs. May average temperatures: Average high: 89ºF (32ºC) Average low: 55ºF (13ºC) May daylight hours: Mid-May sunset time: 7:31 p.m.

  17. Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

    Answer 1 of 32: We recently had the opportunity to visit Havasu canyon, Supai village and the wonderful falls that are the reason to make the journey. We were there the first week after it reopened from 6 months of no visitors. We fully enjoyed our visit and now...

  18. Havasu Falls Travel Tips 2024

    Prices for Havasu Falls Camping, Pack Mules, Helicopter and Lodge. All prices are in US Dollars and rates are adjusted on an annual basis: 1 Person / 1 Night on Monday - Thursday: $100. 1 Person / 1 Night on Friday - Sunday : $125. Pack Mules: $400 and can carry up to 4 bags. Lodge: $175 per night, plus $90 Entrance Fee.

  19. Hiking Havasu Falls Trip Report

    Here's what to expect and plan for on your trip. We spent three days camping at Havasu Falls near the Grand Canyon/Havasupai exploring the canyon, creeks, and cascading falls. It's a secret paradise with stunning views and great friends. Here's what to expect and plan for on your trip.

  20. Havasu Falls Visitor Information, Havasupai Waterfalls Info

    Visiting Havasu Falls on your own requires having ... Wire emails and stay up to date with Wildland Trekking's promotions, discounts, contests, outdoor tips and tricks, trip reports and more! Sign Up for Our Newsletter. Flagstaff Office (Main) 4025 East Huntington, Suite 150 Flagstaff, Arizona 86004. Connect With .

  21. How to Get to Havasu Falls? Hiking to the Grand Canyon Waterfall

    Hiking Havasu Falls Trail. This is the most typical and adventurous way to get to the falls. From the parking lot the path descends steeply through a series of hairpin bends carved into the rock. After only 1 mile, you will have descended over 2000 feet and find yourself directly at the bottom of Hualapai Canyon.

  22. Havasu Falls : Trip Reports : SummitPost

    My sister Kristine and I backpacked to Havasu Falls near the village of Supai in the Grand Canyon last week. This has been a trip on my bucket list for quite some time. ... and Trip Reports. Havasu Canyon Trip Reports. Havasu Falls; Land of the Havasu 'Baaja . Recent Forum Posts Current Time: 10:43 pm. Thread Time; Personal Websites: 9:03: your ...

  23. Havasu Falls Hiking Treks & Tours

    Explore The Havasu Falls tour into the oasis of Havasu Canyon. Wildland Trekking is the #1 tour company on Trip Advisor! Book a trip with us today! Just launched! ... contests, outdoor tips and tricks, trip reports and more! Sign Up for Our Newsletter. Flagstaff Office (Main) 4025 East Huntington, Suite 150 Flagstaff, Arizona 86004.

  24. 15 Amazing Arizona Waterfalls Worth the Hike

    Read: The Top Things to Do in Arizona Cibecue Falls. The 3-mile, out-and-back Cibecue Creek Trail to Cibecue Falls sits in east-central Arizona. Its trailhead on the Fort Apache Reservation ...