Hiking the Havasu Falls Trail: What to Know Before Visiting Havasupai Indian Reservation

Hiking the Havasu Falls Trail: What to Know Before Visiting Havasupai Indian Reservation

Are you planning on hiking the Havasu Falls Trail in Havasupai Indian Reservation? This beautiful trail is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast. Before you embark on your journey, there are some things you should know to make your trip a success.

Firstly, it is important to note that Havasu Falls is not located in Grand Canyon National Park, but on an Indian reservation near the park. This means that you cannot expect to add a visit to the waterfalls onto your trip at the last minute. You must plan your trip well in advance and obtain a permit from the Havasupai Tribe. The tribe administers the land, which lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of Grand Canyon National Park.

Secondly, the trail to Havasu Falls is not an easy one. It is a 10-mile hike, and the terrain can be challenging at times. However, the stunning scenery and the beautiful waterfalls make it all worth it. Make sure you are physically fit and prepared for the hike. You should also carry enough water, food, and other essentials with you.

With these things in mind, you are ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to Havasu Falls.

Location and Background

If you are looking for a unique hiking experience, Havasu Falls in Arizona is a must-visit destination. The falls are located in Havasu Canyon, which is part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, inside the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai Reservation is also known as the “People of the Blue-Green Water” and is home to around 600 tribal members.

The Havasupai people have lived in the Grand Canyon for over 800 years and have a rich history and culture. In the late 1800s, the tribe was forced to relocate to a small area near Seligman, Arizona, but in 1975, they were able to regain control of their tribal land, which includes Havasu Falls.

To access the falls, you must first obtain a permit from the Havasupai Reservation. The Havasu Falls Trail is the most popular route to the falls and is a 10-mile hike round trip. The trail can be challenging, with steep switchbacks and rocky terrain, but the stunning views and refreshing waterfalls make it all worth it.

Once you reach Havasu Falls, you will be greeted by crystal clear blue-green water cascading over red rocks. The falls are approximately 100 feet tall and are surrounded by lush greenery, making it a picturesque spot for photos and swimming.

Permits and Reservations

To hike the Havasu Falls Trail in Havasupai Indian Reservation, you will need to obtain a permit and make a reservation. The Havasupai Tribe manages the area, and they require all visitors to have a permit and reservation to access the falls and the campground.

Permits for the Havasupai Hike are limited, and they sell out quickly. You can obtain a permit by visiting the Havasupai Tribe’s website, which opens for reservations on February 1st. It’s important to note that only current permit holders will be allowed to visit from February 1st, 2023. The only new permits that will be available for 2023 are those posted to the Cancel/Transfer List, which you can check for each day at 8 am Arizona Time.

When making a reservation, you will need to provide the names and contact information for everyone in your party. You will also need to choose your dates of travel and select the number of nights you plan to stay in the campground. Reservations are for four days and three nights, and day hikes are not permitted.

It’s important to plan ahead and make your reservation as soon as possible. The Havasu Falls Trail is a popular destination, and permits and reservations fill up quickly. If you are unable to obtain a permit and reservation, you will not be allowed to hike the trail or access the falls.

Getting There

To start your journey to Havasu Falls, you’ll need to make your way to the Hualapai Hilltop, the trailhead to the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The Hualapai Hilltop is located approximately 191 miles from Phoenix, Arizona, and 66 miles from Peach Springs, Arizona. You can get there by car, bus, or plane.

If you’re driving, you can take a road trip to the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot, which is the closest parking lot to the trailhead. The parking lot is located approximately 8 miles from the trailhead, and parking fees are around $40 per car. Keep in mind that the road leading to the parking lot is unpaved and can be rough, so it’s best to use a high-clearance vehicle.

Once you arrive at the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot, you’ll need to check in with the Havasupai Indian Reservation office. From there, you can start your hike to Supai Village, which is approximately 8 miles away. You can either hike on foot or hire packhorses to carry your gear.

If you’re flying, you can take a chartered helicopter ride from the Hualapai Hilltop to Supai Village. The helicopter ride is approximately 10 minutes long and costs around $85 per person one way. Keep in mind that the helicopter ride is weather-dependent and can be canceled due to bad weather.

Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation options for your Havasu Falls hiking trip, you have a few choices. The most popular options are camping and staying at the Havasupai Lodge.

Havasupai Lodge

If you prefer more comfortable accommodations, the Havasupai Lodge is a great option. The lodge is located in Supai Village, which is about eight miles from the trailhead. The lodge has 24 rooms, each with air conditioning and a private bathroom.

Staying at the lodge is more expensive than camping, but it’s worth it if you want a comfortable place to rest after a long day of hiking. Keep in mind that the lodge can book up quickly, so it’s best to make your reservations well in advance.

Other Accommodation Options

If you’re looking for other accommodation options, you can consider staying in Peach Springs or another nearby town. Peach Springs is about 60 miles from the trailhead, so it’s not as convenient as staying in the canyon, but it’s a good option if you want more amenities.

There are a few hotels in Peach Springs, including the Hualapai Lodge and the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. Keep in mind that staying in Peach Springs means you’ll have to drive to the trailhead each day, which can add time and expense to your trip.

The Hike and Its Attractions

Hiking the Havasu Falls Trail is a must-do for any adventurer. The trail is well-defined and well-signed, making it easy to navigate. The hike is approximately 10 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to the campground, and it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on your pace and how many stops you make.

As you hike down the trail, you’ll be surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The canyon walls tower above you, and the red rock formations provide a striking contrast against the desert landscape. You’ll cross over Havasu Creek several times, and the crystal-clear water will tempt you to take a dip.

The trail is dotted with several waterfalls, each with its own unique charm. The first waterfall you’ll encounter is Navajo Falls, a 50-foot waterfall that cascades into a beautiful turquoise pool. A short distance from Navajo Falls is Havasu Falls, the most famous waterfall in the area. The 100-foot waterfall drops into a series of pools that are perfect for swimming and relaxing.

Continuing down the trail, you’ll come across Fifty Foot Falls, a smaller waterfall that is still worth a visit. The trail becomes more challenging as you approach Mooney Falls, a 200-foot waterfall that requires descending a steep set of ladders and chains. The climb down is not for the faint of heart, but the view from the bottom is breathtaking.

Finally, the trail leads to Beaver Falls, a series of smaller waterfalls that are perfect for exploring and relaxing. The hike to Beaver Falls is longer and more challenging than the other waterfalls, but it’s worth the effort.

Packing Essentials

When preparing for a hike on the Havasu Falls Trail, it’s essential to pack the right gear, food, and equipment. Here are some packing essentials to consider:

Pack

A comfortable and durable backpack is crucial for carrying all your gear on the hike. Choose a backpack that fits well and has adjustable straps to distribute the weight evenly. A 50-60 liter backpack should be sufficient for a multi-day hike. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof cover to protect your gear from rain.

Food

Pack enough food to sustain you for the duration of the hike. High-energy snacks like nuts, jerky, and energy bars are great for quick boosts of energy. For meals, consider lightweight, dehydrated options that can be easily prepared with boiling water. Don’t forget to pack a water filtration system or purification tablets to ensure you have access to clean water.

Gear

When it comes to gear, there are a few essential items you’ll need for the hike. A sturdy pair of hiking boots with good ankle support is a must. Bring a lightweight and breathable tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad or mattress for a comfortable night’s sleep. A headlamp or flashlight will come in handy for navigating the trail in the dark.

Season

Consider the season when packing for the hike. In the summer months, lightweight and breathable clothing is essential to stay cool. In the winter months, pack warm layers and a waterproof jacket to stay dry and warm. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Backpacking and Camping Equipment

If you plan on backpacking and camping, you’ll need to bring additional equipment like a stove, fuel, and cookware. A lightweight and compact stove is ideal for backpacking, and a small pot and pan set is perfect for cooking meals. Don’t forget to pack a lightweight and compact camping chair to relax in after a long day of hiking.

Preparation

Preparation is key to a successful hike. Make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out and pack accordingly. Research the trail and familiarize yourself with the route. Don’t forget to pack a map and compass or GPS device to navigate the trail. Consider bringing a first aid kit and emergency whistle in case of an emergency.

Shade

The Havasu Falls Trail can be hot and sunny, so it’s essential to pack items that provide shade. A lightweight and breathable hat will protect your head and face from the sun. A lightweight and compact umbrella is also an excellent option for providing shade on the trail. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

By packing these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for a successful hike on the Havasu Falls Trail.

Safety and Regulations

When hiking the Havasu Falls Trail, it is important to be aware of safety regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key safety and regulatory points to keep in mind:

Weather and Temperature

The weather in the Havasupai Indian Reservation can be unpredictable, so it’s important to check the forecast before you go. In the summer months, temperatures can soar above 100°F, so it’s essential to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated. In the winter months, temperatures can drop below freezing, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear.

Flash Floods and Rain

Flash floods can occur suddenly and without warning in the Havasu Falls area. Be aware of the weather forecast and avoid hiking during times of heavy rain. If you are caught in a flash flood, seek higher ground immediately.

Rules and Regulations

The Havasupai Indian Reservation has specific rules and regulations that all hikers must follow. These include no drones, no drugs, and no littering. Respect the environment and pack out all trash to help keep the area clean and pristine.

Safety Equipment

It’s important to bring the right equipment for your hike, including sturdy hiking shoes, plenty of water, and a first-aid kit. Trekking poles can also be helpful on the steep and rocky terrain.

Swimming and Water Safety

Swimming in the Havasu Falls pools can be a fun and refreshing experience, but it’s important to be aware of water safety. The pools can be deep, and currents can be strong, so only swim in areas where you feel comfortable and confident.

Tourist Check-In Office

Before beginning your hike, you will need to check in at the Tourist Check-In Office and obtain the necessary permits and reservations. This will ensure that you are following all regulations and that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

By following these safety and regulatory guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable hike on the Havasu Falls Trail.

Experiences and Tips

Hiking the Havasu Falls Trail can be an unforgettable experience, but it’s important to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:

Getting There

To access the Havasu Falls Trail, you’ll need to enter the Havasupai Indian Reservation. You’ll need to provide your name and photo ID at the entrance station, and you’ll also need to purchase a wristband. The wristband is required for all visitors, and it must be worn at all times.

Hiking

The Havasu Falls Trail is a challenging hike, and it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring a hat and sunglasses.

The trail is well-marked, but it can be steep and rocky in some places. Take your time and watch your step. If you’re not an experienced hiker, consider hiring a guide or joining a tour group.

Camping

If you’re planning to camp at Havasu Falls, be aware that alcohol is not allowed on the reservation. Make sure you bring enough food and water for your entire trip, as there are no stores or restaurants in the area.

Photography

Havasu Falls is a popular spot for photography, but it’s important to be respectful of the environment and other visitors. Avoid blocking the trail or taking photos of other people without their permission. If you’re planning to use a tripod or other equipment, be aware of your surroundings and make sure you’re not blocking other visitors’ views.

Colorado River

If you’re planning to hike to the Colorado River, be aware that it’s a strenuous and challenging hike. Make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water, food, and sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to bring a map and compass, as the trail can be difficult to follow in some places.

Tourism

Havasu Falls is a popular tourist destination, and it’s important to be respectful of the environment and other visitors. Avoid littering or damaging the natural surroundings, and follow all posted rules and regulations.

Backpacking Trip

If you’re planning a backpacking trip to Havasu Falls, make sure you’re prepared with all the necessary equipment and supplies. Consider joining a guided tour or hiring a guide if you’re not an experienced backpacker. Be aware of the weather conditions and plan your trip accordingly.

Nearby RV Camping Options & Info

If you’re planning to hike the Havasu Falls Trail and want to stay in an RV, there are a few options to consider. Here’s what you need to know:

Havasupai RV Campground

The Havasupai Campground is the most affordable option, and it’s perfect for those who want to be immersed in the natural beauty of the canyon. The campground is located near Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, so you’ll have easy access to the waterfalls.

The campground has two main areas: the Havasu Falls area and the Mooney Falls area. Both areas have restrooms and drinking water, and you can choose between a regular campsite or a group campsite. Keep in mind that the campground can get crowded, especially during peak season, so it’s best to make your reservations early.

The campground has 50 sites with full hookups, including water, sewer, and electricity. Phone reservations are not accepted. You need to reserve your spot online. The cost is $25 per night.

Grand Canyon Caverns RV Park

If you’re willing to travel a bit further, the Grand Canyon Caverns RV Park is about an hour and a half drive from the Havasu Falls Trailhead. The RV park has 48 sites with full hookups, including water, sewer, and electricity. They also offer amenities like a swimming pool, laundry facilities, and a restaurant. The cost is $35 per night.

Kingman KOA Journey

Another option is the Kingman KOA Journey, which is about a two-hour drive from the trailhead. The RV park has 100 sites with full hookups, including water, sewer, and electricity. They also offer amenities like a swimming pool, hot tub, and laundry facilities. The cost is around $50 per night.

Other Nearby RV Parks

There are a few other RV parks in the area, including the Seligman/Route 66 KOA Journey and the Blake Ranch RV Park. However, these parks are further away from the trailhead and may not be as convenient.

No matter which RV park you choose, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations if possible. The area can be busy during peak season, and you don’t want to be left without a place to stay. Additionally, be sure to follow all rules and regulations at the RV park, including quiet hours and waste disposal guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for obtaining a permit for Havasu Falls in 2023?

To hike to Havasu Falls, you need a permit from the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Permits for the 2023 season can only be purchased online through the official Havasupai website. It’s important to note that permits sell out quickly, so it’s best to plan ahead and purchase your permit as soon as possible.

How difficult is the hike to Havasupai Falls?

The hike to Havasu Falls is considered moderately difficult, with a total distance of approximately 10 miles round-trip. The trail is rocky and steep in some places, and there are several switchbacks to navigate. However, the hike is manageable for most people with a moderate level of fitness.

What are some tips for preparing for the Havasu Falls hike?

It’s important to prepare properly for the Havasu Falls hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Some tips include:

  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks
  • Pack light and bring only essential items
  • Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly
  • Consider hiring a mule or helicopter to transport your gear to the campsite

How long does it take to hike to Havasu Falls?

The hike to Havasu Falls typically takes around 4-6 hours each way, depending on your fitness level and pace. It’s important to take breaks and stay hydrated along the way.

What is the best time of year to hike Havasu Falls?

The best time of year to hike Havasu Falls is from March to May or September to November when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, it’s important to check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions.

Is it possible to visit Havasu Falls without hiking?

No, it’s not possible to visit Havasu Falls without hiking. The only way to access the falls is by hiking the trail or hiring a mule or helicopter to transport your gear to the campsite.

Concluding Thoughts

Hiking the Havasu Falls Trail in Havasupai Indian Reservation is an unforgettable experience that you will cherish for a lifetime. From the turquoise blue waters to the stunning waterfalls, this trail has it all. Here are a few final thoughts to keep in mind as you plan your trip:

  • Permits are a must: Remember that permits are required to hike the Havasu Falls Trail, and they sell out quickly. Plan ahead and book your permit online as soon as possible to secure your spot.
  • Pack smart: Be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen for your hike. The trail can be challenging, so it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished.
  • Respect the land: The Havasu Falls Trail is on Havasupai tribal land, so be sure to respect the people and the environment. Follow Leave No Trace principles, and be mindful of your impact on the land.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected: While hiking the Havasu Falls Trail is a rewarding experience, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Bring a first aid kit, extra layers, and a map and compass in case of emergency.

Overall, the Havasu Falls Trail is a bucket list destination that is worth the effort it takes to get there. With proper planning and preparation, you can have a safe and enjoyable hike that you will never forget.

Charley Waters

I've traveled to 49 states and 3 provinces in Canada living in my RV full-time over many years. I've stayed just about everywhere possible. National parks, state parks, parking lots, BLM land, Independent RV parks and friends and family's driveways. I lived through a crazy Derecho windstorm in Iowa. I got stuck in a winter freeze in Texas.

Living on the road in your RV can be challenging at times. But the good times make up for the bad. I'm here to share my experience and help fellow RVers good decisions while enjoying the great outdoors and vast camping opportunities this country has to offer.

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