The waterfalls within the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona come straight from a dream. The turquoise waters surrounded by towering canyons is worth the effort to get there. Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters. The Havasupai Tribe manages the land and there are multiple checkpoints once you arrive at Supai Village. Many think it’s part of the Grand Canyon, but it’s actually a side canyon called Havasu Canyon and is outside of the National Park.
HOW TO GET A HAVASUPAI RESERVATIONS / PERMITS
[ UPDATE: They opened up online reservations on Feb 1, 2018. Let’s hope it doesn’t crash this year like it did last. ]
This is the hard part. They start taking reservations at the beginning of February for the year and you have to call in to let them know which dates you want and how many people. Sounds simple enough, but the hard part is getting them on the phone! Pro Tip: You can reserve for a bigger group and adjust your numbers before hiking in. We’ve heard that there is no penalty for this as long as you let them know beforehand (our group was able to adjust), but don’t wait until the last minute because you might not be able to get them on the phone again.
Campground Phone #: (928) 448-2180, (928) 448-2121, (928) 448-2141, (928) 448-2237
Lodge Phone #: (928) 448-2111
- Environmental Care Fee: $5 per person
- Entry Fee: $35 per person (plus 10% tax)
- Campground Fees: $17 per person per night (plus 10% tax)
OTHER COSTS IF YOU’RE NOT BACKPACKING / CAMPING
- Havasupai Lodge: $145 for up to four people (plus 10% tax)
- Helicopter Transport: $85 each way (first come, first serve)
- Horses: $75-150 (plus 10% tax)
THE HIKE TO SUPAI VILLAGE + CAMPGROUNDS (10 Miles Total)
- The trail into Supai begins at Hualapai Hilltop, where there is plenty of parking for regular vehicles (and very limited for RVs if it’s busy).
- From Hualapai Hilltop, there is a quick 2 mile descent into the canyon. You will go down switchbacks, and hiking poles will come in handy.
- The next 6 miles to Supai Village is relatively flat or very slow descent (which means getting out is mostly uphill).
- After arriving in Supai, it is another 2 miles to the campground where you continue to descend into the canyon.
The campgrounds serve up to 250 people. Reservations can only be made by phone at 928.448.2121, but the sites are first come first serve. It took us over an hour to find a site big enough for our 13 person group. There is also drinking water available and primitive toilets. Pro-tip: Bring your own toilet paper, because sometimes they run out.
THE FIVE WATERFALLS OF HAVASU CREEK
- Little Navajo Falls / New Navajo Falls / Upper Navajo Falls: the first set of falls you will see on the way to the campground from Supai. This one is a little confusing. Due to recent floods in 2008, the 70 ft Navajo Falls was destroyed and multiple falls have been created. Some people refer to them as Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, but the only one notated by a sign there refers to them as Little Navajo Falls. Either way, they are beautiful and worth exploring.
- Lower Navajo Falls / Rock Falls:
- Havasu Falls: 0.5 miles away from the campgrounds. It drops over 100 feet into a beautiful pool. You will pass these falls when you’re hiking in from Supai Village to the campgrounds.
- Mooney Falls: This is the largest of the Havasupai waterfalls, it’s only 0.5 miles after you pass the campgrounds but you have to descend through two tunnels, chains, and ladders. The lines can get long and it took us over an hour to get down. (Watch out for centipedes! :P)
- Beaver Falls: Beaver Falls is the furthest away and requires trekking through water, narrow trails, and over sketchy wooden bridges. It’s 3.5 miles each way (7 miles round trip) and a good place to cliff jump too.
- Ultimate Packing Guide for Backpacking Havasupai
- Havasupai is subject to flash floods, so check the weather forecast and always know where to find high ground (there will be signs).
- Be sure to bring your permit info and paid receipts. There are multiple checkpoints during the hike and at the campsite.
- When turning onto the road to Hualapai Hilltop, drive slowly and carefully, there was a lot of wildlife and cattle on the windy road.
- It gets really hot during the hike! To avoid the sun, we arrived at the parking lot and slept in the car so we could wake up and start the hike at 4AM. That helped us avoid much of the heat. We also hiked out during the night which was disorienting without moonlight. Luckily, there were only a couple places where you could take a wrong turn.
- There is a small restaurant in Supai and a food stand at the front of the campground.
- You just need to pack enough water to get to the campground, there is a fresh water you can refill with there.
- Frequent flooding causes waterfalls to disappear and reappear. What you see now may not exist in the future.
- REMINDER: Arrive early and get a campsite as soon as you can! It’s all first come first serve and can fill up quickly.
Have you ever tried to get permits for Havasupai? How was your experience? Any other tips you would add?
PIN FOR LATER
If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments so everyone can benefit from them. Also, if you know the answers to any of the questions feel free to chime in. We love hearing from you! :)