The waterfalls within the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona come straight from a dream. The turquoise waters surrounded by towering canyons are worth the effort to get there.
Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters,, and 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.
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Last Updated: January 7, 2020
HOW TO GET A HAVASUPAI RESERVATIONS / PERMITS
[ UPDATE: Online reservations open February 1, 2020 this year ]
This is the hard part. They start taking reservations for the year at the beginning of February at 8:00 am and they are usually sold out within a couple minutes. In the past, it was done through a phone line but now it’s all done online here. Lodge reservations start the year before. For 2020, it started on June 1, 2019 and is already completely sold out (with the exception of occasional cancellations). For Lodge reservations, call (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201.
Campground Reservations (all campground reservations are 3 nights / 4 days)
- $100 per person per weekday night
- $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)
OTHER COSTS IF YOU'RE NOT BACKPACKING / CAMPING
- Pack Mules: $400 round-trip ($300 extra for a late run if you miss drop off times)
- Havasupai Lodge: $440 per room per night (accommodates up to four people), a $110 entrance/environmental fee is charged per person
- Helicopter Transport: $85 each way (first come, first serve) – prices may differ now, and we can’t find the updated info.
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 Campground is a “camp wherever you want” campground. It runs for over a mile on both sides of Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. It took us over an hour to find an area 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
1. Little Navajo Falls
It’s also called New Navajo Falls or Upper Navajo Falls. This is the first set of falls you will see on the way to the campground from Supai.
This one was 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.
2. Lower Navajo Falls / Rock Falls
3. Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is 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.
4. Mooney Falls
Mooney Falls 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.
Pro Tip: Watch out for centipedes!
5. 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.
More Essential Tips for Hiking Havasupai
- If you want to know what to pack, we put together the Ultimate Packing Guide for Backpacking Havasupai.
- Create and update your account online before February 1 so that you can easily log in to look for dates once it’s open.
- All reservations include necessary permits, fees, and taxes.
- There is only one name per reservation and that person needs to be present to check in the day of with photo ID or the entire reservation is forfeited. You can enter in a Potential Alternative Trip Leader (PATL) when you sign up and transfer to that person if you’re unable to make it.
- Pack Mule reservations are also done online. Do this as early as possible since they are limited. Each Pack Mule can carry up to 4 bags with a maximum of 32 pounds per bag and a maximum size of 36 inches long, 19inches wide, and 19 inches tall. All bags must be soft sided with nothing hanging on the outsides and ice chests or coolers are NOT permitted. A lot of people put their backpacks into duffel bags for more protection. Keep in mind that they only bring your bags to the village so you need to still carry your gear the final 2 miles to your campsite.
- Helicopters are not guaranteed. They are primarily used by the locals and a reservation is simply a waitlist for a potential open space. You should still be prepared to hike in and out.
- Havasupai is subject to flash floods, so check the weather forecast and always know where to find high ground (there will be signs). Monsoon season is late June through August.
- With that said, they do have the option to purchase travel insurance after making your reservation.
- Be sure to bring your permit info, paid receipts, and government ID. There are multiple checkpoints during the hike and at the campsite. Also, write down or take a photo of your license plate number as that is needed.
- When turning onto the road to Hualapai Hilltop, drive slowly and carefully, there was a lot of wildlife and cattle on the windy road.
- They have become much more strict about what you are and aren’t allowed to bring. Review the rules and be ready for checkpoints. Our friends who recently went said there was a checkpoint where they poured out any alcohol they found in the car.
- No alcohol, drugs, drones, or weapons are allowed.
- 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 of places where you could take a wrong turn. They don’t recommend hiking at night.
- 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.
Check out our Havasupai Vid
Have you ever tried to get Havasupai Falls reservations? How was your experience? Any other tips you would add?
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!
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.