Arguably, one of the most stunning natural sights in the American Southwest is spectacular Havasu Falls, which tumbles over a redrock cliff and into a vivid turquoise pool. The brilliant colors and contrast of the scene make it appear surreal and otherworldly. But this is no roadside attraction. The only way to enjoy this sight is to work for it—namely, by making the 10-mile hike down into Havasu Canyon, a tributary of the Grand Canyon. But before you can make the hike, you have to obtain a permit from the Havasupai Tribe (not the national park). Due to the sensitive nature of the canyon, and the limited space in the canyon to accommodate visitors, permits are very, very limited—and dayhiking into the canyon is not permitted. Permit reservations become available on Feb. 1, with camping available from Feb. 1 through Nov. 30. Permits are $100–$125/night; all reservations are for three nights.
If you’re fortunate enough to obtain a coveted Havasu Canyon permit, the journey starts with an 8-mile trek from Hualapai Hilltop down to Havasupai Village. The route is waterless and mostly shadeless, where summer temps can soar above 100 degrees. The village has a lodge, cafe and small store. From the village, the “campground” in Havasu Canyon is another 2 miles down the canyon, and is not a traditional campground. Instead of designated campsites, the camp area is a mile-long stretch along the banks of Havasu Creek where you can pitch your tents wherever you like—however, you should choose sites away from the creek, and that don’t damage vegetation or nearby cliffs. There are picnic tables and vault toilets located in the camp area, and water can be obtained from a nearby spring; this should be treated (boiled or filtered) before drinking. Campfires are not permitted, but contained camp stoves are allowed.
Campers in Havasu Canyon are invited to explore at will, but be courteous of their tribal hosts, and respect the land. Swimming in the brilliant blue pool beneath Havasu Falls is a must-do, especially on sweltering summer days. From the campground, you can hike 0.5 mile down the canyon to Mooney Falls, another spectacular waterfall in a sheer-walled amphitheater of red rock. Adventurers can continue down a series of ladders, steps and steep trail to follow the creek up to 8 miles down the canyon, where it empties into the Colorado River. This trail is strenuous and not recommended for children.
It was a remarkable experience.
Backpacking into and camping in the Havasupai reservation was a bucket list camping trip for me and my friends, and we loved it! Getting the permit is tricky - it is all online now, and they go on sale on February 1. It sells out in minutes (there were issues with the website this year, so it took an hour of refreshing as the site crashed, but I was lucky enough to get a permit). If you don't have luck on the initial sale, check back at the havasupaireservations.com site; there is now an area where you can buy trips that other people have cancelled, so there's still hope to get a trip in if you miss the initial sale. It is not a cheap trip either, costing at least $100 per person per night.
We slept at the trailhead (in a campervan). In warm weather, start the hike in EARLY - the majority of the hike is a very gradual grade through the canyon, but there is little to no shade once the sun is up over the canyon wall, and no water along the route. There are pack mules that you can use to transport gear, but the welfare of these animals has been called into question in the past. I would recommend training, preparing, and backpacking your gear in/out. Bring some cash; in case of an emergency, you can arrange for a mule while you are at the campground, to carry things out for you if for some reason you are physically unable to do it. You'll also want to spring for a fry bread (basically a fried dough-like delight) at the little hut at the top of the hill at Havasu Falls.
The campground is 2 miles from the small village of Supai. The campground itself runs about a mile from the beginning (near the base of Havasu falls) to the top of Mooney falls. There are no reserved sites, choose one when you get there. There are sites along the edge of the creek on each side (cross the small wooden bridges), and then sites behind these on each side further from the water. The sites along the creek are definitely more shaded and cooler. There are plenty of spots for hammocks. No campfires, but camp stoves are allowed (we used a jetboil). Be mindful of other campers - we saw a large group arrive one evening and completely overtake a couple's small campsite, basically just setting up all of their tents all around them and pushing them out. Not a very nice way to make friends with fellow campers.
The hike down the cliff/ladders to Mooney Falls and on to Beaver falls was awesome! There are no marked trails but it is pretty easy to follow, and you are in a canyon so you really can't get lost. We didn't have the best of weather for our first and second day, so we decided not to hike to the confluence. Looking back on it, I wish we had! If you are a strong hiker, go for it.
Store your food in a critter-proof container; we put ours in a ratsack and suspended it from paracord, and it stayed safe and untouched. We saw lots of squirrels hanging from people's bags, they are relentless!
If you crave peace and solitude - you won't find it in the campground here. Sites are close together, and the way to get to the trails, bridges, water spring, and bathrooms is often by cutting through a campsite; don't be surprised to have people walking through your site to get from point A to point B.
The water source is a spring. We rolled the dice and didn't filter our water and it was fine. If you are worried about it at all, bring some type of gravity filter to set up at your site after filling up with water! We brought two 4L hydrapak collapsible jugs (for 4 people) and filled these a few times, in addition to our backpack hydration bladders. This worked out very well and the jugs were easy to store hiking in and out.
As a ranger for the Dyrt, I get to test out some products from time to time. For this trip I was able to try out some Liquid IV hydration multiplier drink mix. This is a powder electrolyte mix that helps increase your body's ability to hydrate better than taking plain water. In hot conditions, replacing lost electrolytes is key to avoiding dehydration (and conversely, hyponatremia if you are taking in too much plain water). Essentially, it uses the way our body transports electrolytes/nutrients and water across our cells to help enhance hydration. From their website - "Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier is a great-tasting, Non-GMO electrolyte drink mix that utilizes the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT)™ to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. 1 Liquid I.V. can provide the same hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water."
I ordered a variety pack of single serving "sticks" to try out, in Lemon-Lime, passion fruit, and acai berry. The single packets were convenient, but if traveling with them be sure to double bag them - a couple of mine broke open in transit, luckily I had them in plastic bags so nothing ended up coated in sticky powder. It looks as though all of their packaging is in individual portions, which also increases the amount of trash you will produce; something to keep in mind if hiking or camping.
I found the recommended dilution to be way too strong, flavor-wise. I diluted it significantly, and it was drinkable, but not my favorite. The mix is flavored with stevia, which I just don't happen to care for. If you don't mind stevia, these are a great option for hydration in hot weather, or to replace lost fluids after a GI illness (traveler's diarrhea, anyone?). All of the flavors were decent, didn't love or hate them (again - just not a big stevia fan, so I wasn't going to love any of them). I was happy to have some of this mix on our hike out of the canyon though, the last mile up the switchbacks was very steep and hot.
I think this mix is great for replacing fluid losses if you are sweating a lot, or with an illness. It has a pretty high sodium and potassium content, on par with drink mixes used for oral rehydration in the setting of dehydration, not necessarily with light exercise or routine hydration use. For most people, nutrition and electrolyte mixes are a trial and error, so I would recommend giving these a try if you 1. Need something for fluid replacement in the setting of dehydration or excessive sweat/fluid losses and 2. Don't mind the taste of stevia as a sweetener.
Good hike, cheeted and had the mules carry our stuff. Amazing vews.
The hike can be brutal so make sure you not only have all of your gear, but you’re prepared to hike when it’s dark to avoid the heat. Headlamps, waking sticks, and water are a must, in my opinion. Mules will take your heavier gear down (you must have a permit to do this and previous reservations). Once you make it, your tiredness and pain from the hike will instantly disappear when you see the views and get inside of that turquoise water. Everything about Havasu Falls is breathtaking and worth the work. To access other waterfalls prepare yourself for some treacherous descents down a nearly vertical wall. Safety here and awareness is a must, but other than that, this place is dreamy.
Must make reservations a year in advanced you hike in not an easy trail. Only open certain parts of the year. Camp Out only WORTH THE HIKE YOULL NEVER SEE ANYTHING THIS Beautiful !
Obviously this is worth all the blood, sweat and tears getting here. The tribe was so kind, the village was cute, and the waterfalls were amazing. If you're lucky enough to get tickets, GO.
I have gone every year for the past few years and I am never disappointed. it's a 10 mile trek from the car down the canyon and through the town to get to the campgrounds. the campsites are not numbered, you pick a spot that looks ideal and set up camp. snagging a permit is the hard part, February 1 all the spots go up for sale which is now an online system which makes it easier than previous years. they sell out within the first hour or so. monsoon season is june-august so I would avoid going after July because flash floods can be deadly. you have a few options for getting there from the car, you can hike or take the helicopter which only runs on certain days. there is a fresh spring to collect water so no need to bring it for your whole trip although its ideal to bring a water filter system. the falls themselves are absolutely beautiful, there is a series of them from 50foot falls all the way to beaver falls which is miles down the trail. havasu seems to be the most popular one to hangout since beaver is a long trek from the campground and has several water crossings. this is bucket list material and I hope that everyone gets a chance to visit this beautiful land.
This campsite is very spacious with quite a few options to set up camp. Each spot is far enough from your neighbor and has its own picnic table. Some spots are along the water which is really nice if you want to take a quick dip when it’s hot. Plenty of trees for hammocks. Site has water that comes from the spring and is drinkable. Restrooms are nice and clean. The hike to the campground is brutal but definitely worth it when you get close to the campground and see all the waterfalls.
This is beautiful, unforgettable place in the grand canyon owned by the havasupai tribe. Online reservations for the campground for the year begin feb 1st and sell out quickly. From the trailhead it is 8 miles to the village where you check in, and 2 more miles through sand to the camp grounds. No water is available between the hilltop and the village so bring enough for the hike down. The village has a couple stores and cafe's where food can be bought. There are 5 beautiful waterfalls that can be hiked to and viewed in the area. Two (little navajo and 50 ft. falls) are inbetween the village and the campground. The most famous of the 5, havasu falls is right before the campground. Mooney falls is at the end of the campground. It can be viewed from the top or you can go through a couple tunnels, scale down laders and chains and see it from the bottom. This part is not for the faint of heart. I would recomend three points of contact and gloves. The ladders and chains are slippery, muddy and wet from the water fall. If you are able to brave going down, past mooney falls are multipule paths and river crossings that will take you to the last waterfall which is beaver falls. It is about 3-4 miles past mooney depending on which path you take. The campground is a mile long. it is very primitive. No campfires aloud. They do offer a few self composting bathrooms. There is a fresh water spring that comes out of the side of the cliff towards the beginning of the campground. It has good clean water to use while in the campground or to fill up conainers with before any day hikes. The campground is a free for all with picking a spot. There are a couple spots that the tour groups like to use, but other then that you just find a spot you like and set up. Some spots have picnic table and there are lots of trees for hammocks. This is a amazing area to visit and you will not be disappointed. If you would like more information about resevations or the area the tribes website is: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com
This is a test of ones ability, it was hard, I won't lie, but well worth it. I would also say it is more mental than physical. We left about 4:30 am to hike into the canyon. The sites are first comes first serve, I recommend you go early. We also moved closer to the front of camp the second night. The bathrooms were great considering what it was. Campsites have a table. Many trees to hang hammocks. Fresh water spring as you enter the campground. Waterfalls are amazing.