For over 1,000 years the Havasupai Tribe has sustained itself from the limestone aquifer that runs through the canyon and provided staples for the tribe like corn, squash, and beans in the heart of the Grand Canyon’s harsh desert climate. Secluded for many years, the remoteness of the tribe has carried on throughout the modern day. Everything that comes in or out of the village must either be hiked the 7.5 miles from the road or flown in by helicopter. Even the United States Postal Service transports all main in and out of the canyon using pack mules.
The Havasupai Reservation consists of 188,077 acres across plateaus and canyons throughout the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon; however, getting to see some of the natural wonders within, like Havasu Falls, requires obtaining hiking permits (no “day hiking” is allowed). Havasupai Falls camping/hiking reservations are highly competitive, and most permits sell out the first day these reservations open (Feb 1st). To see all the waterfalls throughout Havasu Creek it will require hiking 25 miles round trip, descending from the trailhead into the canyon and climbing back out. If you have the opportunity to obtain one of these coveted reservations, most hikers consider Havasu Falls one of the greatest treks (visually) they have ever completed, so be sure to jump at the chance to experience the Havasu Falls Trail, just don’t jump too close to the edge of the canyon!
Supai Village. NPS/Tom Bean
Terrain: Dirt, Rock Stairs, Slick Rock
Style: Multi-Day, Decent and Return Climb (Out and Back)
Difficulty: Extremely Difficult
Routes: The Trails are Well Marked and Heavily Trafficked Narrow Canyon Trails
Features: Canyon Views, Lush Waterfalls, Wildflowers at the End Spring
Highest Elevation: ~5,184 feet (1580 m)
Elevation Gain/Decent: ~2,500 feet (762 m) Both Ways
Tips: Start the Descent Early (Avoid the Heat), and Bring Lots of Water
Time: ~ 3 Hours From Trailhead To Supai Village
Elevation: 5,184 to 2,897 feet Top to Bottom (Supai Village)
Waterfall Distances from Supai Village:
Havasu Falls and Campground: 2 miles (estimated as a 45-minute hike).
Mooney Falls: 3 miles
Beaver Falls: 6 miles
Colorado River: 11 miles
HAVASU HIKE DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Havasu Trail Parking:
Parking is located at the end of Indian Road 18 at the edge of the canyon.
Hualapai Hilltop / Trailhead
Havasu Falls Hike Map / Village Map:
The village does have all the components of an ordinary town, including a store and café. The store is open
7 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. (Monday through Friday) & 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. (Saturday and Sunday). It carries staples like: water, Gatorade, toiletries, and canned goods; however, the village is remote, and prices are adjusted to reflect transportation burdens so it’s better to bring more than less if you plan on staying the night.
OVERNIGHT CAMPING AND RESERVATIONS
All camping reservations are made through the Havasupai Tribal Website at https://www.havasupaireservations.com/ (online is required and is the only option for booking). Campground reservations for all of 2019 open online February 1st every year at 8 A.M. Arizona Time (MST). Reservations for the entire year (Feb. to Nov.) are available from that moment forward and fill up fast so be sure to plan and reserve as early as possible.
It is not possible to camp or hike without a reservation, this hike is permit only! Make sure to bring a printed copy or screenshot of the email reservation confirmation, and your license plate number (take a picture so you don’t forget!); both are required at check-in. No one is permitted to proceed past Supai Village to view the waterfalls without receiving a wristband.
ALL reservations are done online, (See Above) and tent locations are on a “first-come-first-serve” basis. The entire Havasupai Campground is roughly a mile long and this is the only location where camping is permitted. Most of the campsites are located next to Havasu Creek and are well established and flat for tenting. There are also quite a bit of trees in the bottom which allowS for hammock camping if that’s more your style. There are water spickets, restrooms, and picnic tables located throughout the campground. Campfires are NOT permitted although backpacking stoves are allowed.
Camping Check-In Office Hours:
March-October: 6 A.M- 6 P.M
November-February: 9 A.M- 3 P.M
PACK MULES (per mule):
Between Hilltop Trailhead and Campground Entrance and Back: $400 round-trip.
One Pack Mule can carry up to 4 bags. Maximum weight: 32 pounds per bag.
Maximum baggage size: 36 inches long, 19 inches wide, 19 inches tall.
Things to bring
Be sure to bring a buddy, you’ll want to share the views and take lots of pictures, plus if you get in a tight spot or roll an ankle, a shoulder to lean on can make all the difference in the world. There isn’t much shade along the canyon so be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water! It gets extremely hot because much of the trail is completely exposed, so be sure to take an extra liter or bottle of water in addition to what you’d expect to drink (3 liters are recommended, especially for the hike out). Hiking shoes/boots are required, the grade is steep and rocky; regular athletic shoes do not have enough grip to keep you from having a slippery hike. Hiking Poles are not necessary but are always recommended on steep canyon ascents/descents if you feel comfortable incorporating them into your hike (just remember they require more energy to use them). As always, bringing a medical pouch, and emergency gear; the only way in and out is by mule or helicopter if things go bad. The trail is known to reach over 115 degrees in the summer and stays hot from April to October, so be smart about venturing out into the heat regardless of the time of year. Every time someone experiences heat exhaustion, they put first responders’ lives in danger, because the first responders then must go out in the same conditions with tons more gear (stretchers and medical gear) to carry that person down or out. Don’t be a statistic, plan accordingly and don’t endanger others!
As of 2019, the Tribe requires hikers to stay a MINIMUM of 4 days and 3 nights. That being said, be sure to pack enough food. I always bring dehydrated breakfast meals, jerky, tuna, and instant ramen for quick pick-me-ups throughout the day and larger prepped meals at dinner. As a good rule of thumb, it’s better to pack enough meals for an extra day than go hungry because you ate two days’ worth of food while fatigued. There are options for buying extra food at the village store, but it’s price high enough that you’ll save big by packing in your own supplies.
about the PARK AND TRAILS
Hours of Operation:
Day hiking on Havasu Trail is prohibited without reservation and the trail is only open from sunset to sundown.
Fees & Permits :
$100 per person per weekday night
$125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)
Full payment is required at the time of reservation, and reservations are non-refundable.
Dog-Friendly (Not Really):
Dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails.
There are restrooms and water located near the park offices and campgrounds. Primitive Campsites offer water!
Possession, distribution, or consumption of alcohol on the Reservation is a
Tribal and Federal crime, punishable by up to one year of imprisonment. Drones are not allowed in any National Park.
http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/ or for information from Grand Canyon National Park, https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/havasupai.htm
Supai, AZ 86435
ADDITIONAL TIPS, REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, AND INFORMATION WHEN HIKING HAVASU TRAIL
- This is a very popular hike so expect heavy traffic and be courteous (hikers going uphill have the right of way). There are a lot of people on these trails so keep your head up. Pack mules are also present on the trail; give them lots of room and do not spook these animals!
- Arizona is home to venomous snakes, lizards, and a variety of critters so be cautious on trails and don’t forget that even though there might be lots of people near you, you still need to be alert at all times.
- The best time to hike is early in the morning, so sure to leave early and beat the crowds and the heat. Trails can get really crowded and extremely hot so the earlier you arrive the better your experience will be.
- Check the weather before any hike! Things change fast, don’t get caught on top of a mountain while it’s lightning or storming! Flash flooding is a real danger in these canyons, if you hear rolling rocks or storms in the distance, find higher elevation and be aware that even though it’s raining in the distance, the water can travel fast and trap you!