UPDATED MAY 2018
You might recognize Havasu Falls from that recent viral video floating around Facebook. It’s growing in popularity, but there’s still not a lot of concrete information on Havasu Falls. There’s a lot I realized while I was on our Havasu Falls trip that I had no idea about beforehand. A Havasu Falls hiking and camping travel guide would’ve been helpful in my preparation!
I haven’t done a lot of hardcore hiking in the US, but Havasu Falls was a great place to start. It was a difficult hike for everyone, not just for me as I was fresh off the heels of a jarring accident, but it was also extremely rewarding and beautiful.
I’d absolutely recommend going on this camping trip. Here’s a Havasu Falls hiking and camping travel guide with everything you need to know before you go!
Supai is the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It’s a small town of around 200 people that’s only accessible by foot, mule, or helicopter. It’s said to be one of the most remote communities in the contiguous United States and is the only place in the US where mail is still carried by pack mules! We actually saw the pack mules carrying out mail with postcards we sent as we hiked out of the canyon.
Speaking of canyons, the town of Supai and Havasu Falls are located in the Grand Canyon! Havasupai, the name of the Native American tribe in this area, means “people of the blue-green waters”. The stunning blue water color comes from its high calcium carbonate content. The water flows from Havasu Creek into cascading travertines and waterfalls.
When to visit
My trip to Havasu Falls was in April and the weather was absolutely beautiful. The temperature was in the high 70s or 80s (Fahrenheit), but it was pleasant. Nights were cooler, but not freezing or uncomfortable. Temperatures will be A LOT hotter in June/July, and you won’t want to hike while it’s sweltering outside. Beware of flash flooding around July – September. It’s extremely dangerous to be in the canyon at this time!
Make sure you plan ahead so you can reserve permits when it’s safe to go.
How to make a reservation
Note: You NEED a reservation for Havasu Falls. If you try to hike in without a reservation you will be turned away.
The hike to the Havasu Falls campground isn’t easy, but reserving the permits is the most complicated and difficult part of the entire trip.
A group of seven of us called the ranger station as soon as permits became available on February 1. I’m talking hundreds of calls. The phone numbers were almost always busy, but we finally got lucky and snagged permits for three nights over Easter weekend. My suggestion is to have a few dates in mind and see what’s available.
Ranger station phone numbers:
You can call from 9 am – 3 pm (Arizona time), Monday – Friday. People make cancellations, so don’t give up hope and try calling the ranger station again if you aren’t initially able to secure a reservation.
2018 fees including permits and taxes:
- One Person, 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56
- One Person, 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.12
- One Person, 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67
- Weekend nights and holiday weekdays are an additional $18.34 per night.
Wherever you’re driving in from (we drove from Phoenix), you’ll be parking your car at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead. There are no stores nearby, so make sure you stop for any last-minute necessities for the hike on the drive in.
The hike from the trailhead to Supai starts with a descent of switchbacks but eventually evens out and is relatively flat until descending slightly between Supai and the campground. The return hike up the switchbacks was the hardest part, but it was also the last part so it felt like a triumphant finish!
Keep in mind this is NOT a day hike and there’s no day hiking allowed – it’s not possible to hike in and out in one day.
- Hualapai Hilltop – Supai (Native American Town): 8 miles
- Supai – Havasu Falls campground: 2 miles
- Total hike in before you set up camp is 10 miles
- Campground – Mooney Falls: 0.5 miles
- Mooney Falls – Beaver Falls: 2 miles
- Mooney Falls – Colorado River: 8 miles
The two miles from the campground to Beaver Falls is not easy. You’ll get your feet wet crossing the river a few times and sometimes need to climb up on rocks. Be ready for this; it was more exhausting than we expected for only two miles.
Important things to note:
A few key pieces of information to note before you go:
- Bring water for the hike in. You won’t be able to refill your water bottle until you arrive in Supai to check in. Make sure you have enough for 8 miles.
- It’s NOT completely desolate in the area. There’s a convenience store in Supai where you can buy food if you need. There’s food stands at the entrance to the campground where you can buy an Indian taco or frybread and buy drinks like soda or Powerade.
- There are toilets. They might be a little stinky, but you won’t have to hide behind bushes!
- Campsites are not assigned. If you want a primo camping spot, arrive at the campground as early as you can! You could also switch campsites when other campers leave.
- Hang your food when you’re not at camp. Use odor proof bags and make sure they’re closed! Don’t make the same mistakes we did.
- If you really don’t want to you don’t have to camp. Supai has a Havasupai Lodge you can stay at for about $175 per night for four people. Contact them here: 928-448-2111 or 928-448-2201.
Need a hiking and camping packing list? I’ve got you covered.
You don’t HAVE to hike or carry your gear (but you should!)
We saw some people with pimped out campsites – it was mind-blowing! Later on, we figured out why. If hiking isn’t your thing but you STILL want to visit Havasu Falls, you have some options.
- You can take a helicopter
- I’m not entirely sure on the cost for tickets, but the landing fee is $50.
- You can get your belongings hauled in by mule or horse
- Up to four bags that don’t exceed a total of 130 lbs – $95 one way or $150 roundtrip.
There’s more than just one waterfall
Havasu Falls isn’t the only waterfall you’ll get to see on your trip! In order of appearance from Supai you’ll find:
Upper and Lower Navajo Falls
Have questions about Havasu? Drop me a line in the comments!
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