Photo Diary: Backpacking Havasupai Day 1

Photo Diary: Backpacking Havasupai Day 1

Havasupai has been on our list of places to visit for a while now (is your list always growing like ours?). Who could resist those beautiful turquoise colored falls and pools? The main reason it took us so long to go was because we heard the permit process was horrific. Luckily a friend of ours was able to do the hardest part for us (you can find out more about the permit process here).

Backpacking to Havasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai Arizona // localadventurer.com

Photos Versus Reality

There are places where the beauty cannot be captured by a photograph, and then there are places that you find disappointing because the photography that entices you there is a little misleading (you would think as a photographer, I would know this by now, but I still get fooled). Havasupai’s waterfalls are as beautiful as advertised, and you don’t need to bump up that saturation to see the blue. In case you want to know why the color is so vibrant, it’s because of high concentrations of calcium carbonate that help reflect the color in the water. Fascinating stuff.

Sleeping Overnight at the Hilltop Parking Lot

We arrived at the Hilltop parking lot at 9pm and attempted to sleep. During the course of the night we heard lots of commotion. “Wild horses” kept running back and forth and almost trampled on some people camping in tents after being startled by a dog (I say “wild horses”, because they are actually part of the reservation but are free to roam). We tossed and turned until it was finally 4AM when we met up with the rest of our group to start the hike.

The Hike Down

The 10-mile hike into the canyon wasn’t too difficult. It was a steep descent the first mile and then a slow descent the rest of the way. That just meant going back up wasn’t going to be as fun! Plus, that extra weight just kills us every time (and of course we can’t leave the DSLR setup at home). By the way, the canyon gets really hot even though we went during the mildest time of the year, so we hiked as much as we could in the dark.

Hiking to Havasu Falls, Supai, Arizona // localadventurer.comHiking to Havasupai Falls - there are 5 named waterfalls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation // localadventurerHiking to Havasu Falls // localadventurer.com

Trash EVERYWHERE!

We were so disappointed how trashed the trail was especially near the bottom of the switchbacks. I could probably put up a full photo album of trash we saw along the trail. At the reservation, there are signs that tell you to carry all your trash out, but I guess some folks couldn’t handle carrying it up the last mile of the hike. Some of the guys in our group tried to pick up as much as they could on the way out, which was so awesome of them.

Havasupai Hike to the Waterfalls // localadventurer.comHavasu Falls Hike // localadventurer.com

C’mon now… and this one was intentional. It’s jammed in the rock.

Trash on the Havasupai Falls Hike // localadventurer.com
Hiking through the Havasupai Canyon // localadventurer.com

Cheating on our cats! ;) Trying to decide if I think they would be insanely jealous or not care at all.

Backpacking Havasupai - Photo Diary + TIps on How to Get Permits // localadventurer.comBackpacking Havasupai - Photo Diary + TIps on How to Get Permits // localadventurer.com
Havasu Falls Trail - Hiking into the Havasupai Indian Reservation // localadventurer.com
The Hike to Havasu Falls // localadventurer.comGetting to Havasu Falls // localadventurer.com

Don’t get too excited when you see the Supai village. You still have more hiking to do!

Village of Supai, Arizona - Havasupai Indian Reservation // localadventurer.com

The first waterfall(s) you’ll see is Navajo Falls (Upper and Lower).

Navajo Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai, Arizona // localadventurer.com
Navajo Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai, Arizona // localadventurer.com
Lower Navajo Falls - First of the Waterfalls You will encounter in Havasu Canyon // localadventurer.com
Navajo Falls Havasupai Arizona // localadventurer.comNavajo Falls - the first of 5 waterfalls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation // localadventurer.com
Navajo Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai, Arizona // localadventurer.com
Navajo Falls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation Arizona // localadventurer.comFlora on the Havasu Falls Hike // localadventurer.com

Havasu Falls Location: 36.2552° N, 112.6980° W. It’s the next waterfall after Navajo Falls, right before you reach the campground.

Havasupai Camping - there are small falls all over the Havasupai Indian Reservation that you can even camp right next to // localadventurer.comHavasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona // localadventurer.comHavasupai Camping // localadventurer.com

Finding a Campsite

We were all exhausted and exhilarated to make it to the campsites, but then came our next test, finding a campsite big enough for our group. Although you make reservations to camp in the canyon, you don’t have reservations to an actual site. It’s first come first serve, and unfortuately by the time we arrived, most of the good spots were already taken. After an hour of walking back and forth, we finally found a site. We probably added an extra mile or two to our hike because of it.

We were ready to set up camp and jump into the pools at Havasu Falls, which is freezing by the way!
Havusupai Campground // localadventurer.com

I think Casey prefers the great indoors. ;) Look at that face!

Havasupai Camping // localadventurer.comHavasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai Arizona // localadventurer.com
Havasu Waterfalls - there are 5 named waterfalls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation // localadventurer.comHavasu Falls Hike in Arizona // localadventurer.com
Havasu Falls AZ // localadventurer.com

All photos were taken by Canon 5D Mark III + 35mm / 1.4L

Also check out:

Day 2 coming soon!

 

Have you been to Havasupai or plan on going?
In your opinion, what’s the most beautiful waterfall?

PIN FOR LATER:
Havasupai Waterfalls - there are 5 in the area you should visit // localadventurer.com
Havasu Falls Hiking In + Tips for Your Hike and Getting Permits // localadventurer.com
xoxo estherJacob

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi! I looooove your website. Question: Did you backpack all the way through or did you opt for the travel mule option? Thanks!

  2. Looks like a wonderful camping adventure and the scenery is spectacular. Definitely going to have to visit this area one day soon from British Columbia, Canada! Great post and photos! :)

    1. Thanks, Rob! I’m sure you’re going to love it! We’re hoping to visit BC soon.

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