Havasu Falls & Other Havasupai Falls
Havasu Falls is the most famous of the aqua-blue Havasupai Waterfalls that spill over deep-orange, travertine cliffs in a desert oasis of stunning beauty. The stark contrast between the arid desert landscape of the Havasu Canyon and the lush vegetation near the water is a juxtaposition of harsh desert and a sumptuous tropical paradise. The five Havasupai Falls include: Navajo Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls. All are located on the Havasupai indian reservation in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon. The waterfalls of the Grand Canyon are like no other in the world, and visiting them is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Plan Your Trip to Havasupai Falls
In order to maintain the pristine beauty of this isolated desert paradise, the Havasupai tribe limits the amount of visitors allowed to visit the reservation. There is no day hiking permitted in the canyon. Any visitor must have a reservation and entrance fees are now paid in advance. The cost is $50 per person with a 10% tax, as well as a $10 environmental care fee. These fees can be paid through the tribal tourism office (928) 448-2121 and now online at http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/. Permit reservations begin February 1st of each year, but don't wait to make your reservation. Most permits are taken up within the first few days of becoming available. Once you successfully attain a permit, keep your receipt with you as you make your way down Havasu Canyon, as there are checkpoints to verify all visitors have paid.
How To Get To Havasupai Falls
There are no roads to the Supai village. Access to the village is via trail that begins at Hualapai Hilltop.
Anyone who wishes to visit the waterfalls must choose one of three options:
Hike From Hualapai Hilltop, it is 8 miles to the Supai village and 2 additional miles to camping and waterfalls. * Please Note: Hiking in the middle of the day is not wise, especially during the summer months. Most hikers begin just before sunrise to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures. There is no drinking water available at any point along the hike. Each person should carry a minimum of 1 gallon of water to avoid dehydration. Hiking at night is not recommended.
Horseback/mule Those not keen on hiking can ride down on a pack animal. Make sure you make your mule reservation at least one week prior to your trip by calling the tourism office (928) 448-2121. Cost of mule/horseback transport is $121 + 10% tax per person, each way. $242 + 10% tax round trip. Additional fees for luggage and extra pack animals should be expected.
Helicopter Helicopter travel is provided by Airwest Helicopters and is weather dependent. Cost for a helicopter ride into the canyon is $85 per person each way with an additional $50 landing fee. Each person is allowed 1 carry-on bag. Any additional luggage is charged by the weight. Children 2 years and younger fly free. Reservations for helicopters cannot be made. You must show up at Hualapai Hilltop and sign in before 10am. Tribal members receive priority boarding. Tourists are boarded on a first come, first served basis. It takes approximately 15 minutes to fly from Havasupai Hilltop to the Supai village. In order to see the waterfalls, you will still need to hike 2+ miles from the village. For more information, call Airwest Helicopters (623) 516- 2790.
Where to Stay At Havasupai Falls
The Lodge- Reservations can be made by telephone (928) 448-2111. Cost of a room with two double beds is $145 plus 10% tax per room, per night (maximum four people per room). There are only 24 rooms available and they tend to book very quickly.
Campground There are enough camp sites to host 300 campers per night. Reservations can be made via phone (928) 448-2121. The tribe begins taking reservations on February 1st of each year and sites book up very quickly. The campsites themselves are not assigned. They are given on a fist come, first served basis when you arrive at the bottom of the canyon. Campsites cost $25 (plus 10% tax) per person, per night.
When To Visit Havasupai Falls
Havasu canyon is open to visitors year round; however, peak tourist season is May through September. Water temperatures average 60 -70 degrees Fahrenheit during these months. Monsoon season in Arizona begins in mid- July and extends through August. Heavy rains cause flash floods during this time and evacuation of visitors due to high water is not unheard of. The shoulder season of September through November, March and April tend to have comfortable air temperatures; however, the water will be chilly. Winter months of December through February are cold despite the dry climate and swimming and camping are only for the bravest and toughest visitors. Staying in the lodge during the winter is a more comfortable option for the not-so-hot-blooded individuals.
Amenities Available at Havasupai Falls
If you are camping, you are responsible for bringing all necessities for sleeping and cooking for yourself. There is drinking water available in the village and at the campsites or you can bring a strong filtration system and drink from the river. Composting toilets are available in several locations in the canyon. Occasionally, TP runs low so it is wise to bring your own! There is a store in the village that provides basic necessities; however, everything is flown in via helicopter so don’t expect any cheap prices and availability may be restricted. For those not wishing to cook for themselves, a cafe near the lodge in Supai village serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lodge is equipped with WiFi and electricity for those of you who can’t imagine a day without the internet.
Rules and Respect
The Havasupai tribe is very generous to open their land to visitors and share their beautiful waterfalls with the world. Please keep in mind that the natural landscape is fragile. Try to decrease your impact by staying on trails and taking any trash out with you. Firearms, alcohol, recreational drugs and drones are all illegal on the Havasupai reservation. Please refrain from laud behavior and treat the land and the people with respect. Last but not least, enjoy your trip and take lots of photos!
How long should you stay?Most people like to stay 2-3 nights. That will give you enough time to visit all the falls at a leisurely hiking and playing in the water pace. Also this is typically the amount of food and water supplies that most visitors are willing to hike in with. If you're making use of a pack mule, stay as longer. It really does feel like paradise.
Approximate Trail Distances
- Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to Supai Lodge: 8 miles / 13 kilometers
- Supai Lodge to Havasupai Falls Campground: 2 miles / 3 kilometers
- Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to Havasupai Falls Campground: 10 miles / 16 kilometers
- Havasupai Falls Campground to Mooney Falls: 0.5 miles / 0.8 kilometers
- Mooney Falls to the Colorado River: 8 miles / 13 kilometers *Distances are one way
About the Havasupai Tribe
The Havasupai Tribe currently sits on 188,077 acres of land in the southwest part of the Grand Canyon. When the Grand Canyon was originally established in 1919, the Tribe was allotted 518 acres in a nearby side canyon, but have since returned back to their original homelands, which includes the beautiful blue-green waterfalls they share with us today. These lands are sacred to them and they draw their strength and spirituality from it.
The population for the Havasupai Tribe is 640 and tourism is their main industry. Packing animals for trips, accommodating guests and providing other services for the tribal enterprise is their main source of revenue. The nearest community to the Reservation is Peach Springs, 64 miles southwest from Hualapai Hilltop. The Havasupai Reservation consists of plateaus dissected by deep canyons, most notable geographic features include “The Great Thumb,” Long Mesa, and Tenderfoot Mesa, which converge on the Coconino Plateau at the south end of the reservation. Havasu (Cataract) Canyon, which is where the waterfalls are located, has a varied topography of the plateaus, gentle, rolling slopes, to escarpments of Kaibab Limestone.
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