Havasu Falls Hiking and Camping Travel Guide

Havasu Falls Travel Guide | Havasu Falls is a must-visit in Arizona! Here's a hiking and camping travel guide with everything you need to know before you go on this incredible hike! | Lavi was here.

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!

Background information

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

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 CanyonHavasupai, 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.

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

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.

The Havasupai tribe has an online reservation system that’s new this year to streamline the reservation process. If your dates aren’t available online, try calling the ranger stations:

Ranger station phone numbers:

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

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.

Fees

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

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.

Hiking information

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

The entrance to Supai

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.

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

Hiking Distances:

  • 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:

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

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!)

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

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

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

Mooney Falls

Havasu Falls Travel Guide

Beaver Falls

Havasu Falls Travel Guide


Have questions about Havasu? Drop me a line in the comments!

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9 Comments

  1. May 8, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    Total wow! I can’t wait to see this for myself with my adventure friends. Thank you for the very detailed information! We will keep calling!

  2. Karen
    May 17, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    Very nice, and good information. Photos are beautiful. Micheal is usually jumping off of something too.

  3. May 18, 2017 / 4:58 am

    That boy in the picture is cute!

  4. May 2, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    This is so surreal! I was just googling Havasu Falls information couple days ago to find out more since I’ve heard it’s a bit harder to plan a trip there – and this came at the perfect time! Thanks for this super detailed guide

    • Lavi
      Author
      June 12, 2018 / 7:04 pm

      I’m glad you found this guide helpful! 🙂

  5. Emily
    June 12, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    Hiii! Just curious how many other hikers were on he trail while you were out there. My partner just bailed and I’m a little nervous to go alone. Were there plenty of other hikers out?

    • Lavi
      Author
      June 12, 2018 / 7:03 pm

      Hi Emily! There were a fair number of hikers on the trail but I can’t recall anyone doing it by themselves. I still think you can hike if alone if you’re comfortable hiking and carrying a large pack and allow yourself enough time, I just want you to be aware. We did bump into many other hikers along the way and pass them in both directions. Keep me posted on what you end up doing!

  6. Kathryn Sturgis
    August 12, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Is hiking to the falls recommended in January? I haven’t read any review with that time frame in it. Also if you start your hike from the rim to the reservation town do you pass any waterfalls or are they all after you reach the town? In your experience I read a review of a couple who started their hike at dawn and made it to the town by noon ish so they had time to get to the different waterfalls in the afternoon then camped out for the evening and set out back to the parking lot the following day. Is this time frame realistic? I thought I would take at least three days or four to complete the entire hike and visits to the different falls?

    • Lavi
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Hi Kathryn! I read in the FAQ section of the Official Havasu Tribe website that the campground is closed for December 2018 and January 2019. Typically on February 1, reservations are open by calling or using the online service. I hope you get a reservation!

      I don’t think the timeline of that couple you mentioned is realistic. If you stay for one night and hiking back the next day, your legs will be VERY sore. It’s also a beautiful place to relax and enjoy. You’ll pass Navajo Falls on the walk from the town of Supai down to Havasu Falls. Then there are also Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls to visit, and it takes a hike to get to Beaver Falls. I stayed for 3 nights and it was awesome and gave my legs an opportunity to rest. Hope this helps!

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