While no actual gold resides in Havasupai, it is among the gold standard of places to visit in the United States. There’s something for everyone in this desert oasis with majestic waterfalls, stunning blue-green water, and towering canyon walls. Hiking into Havasupai falls is a truly memorable experience. But, before you get going, you need to plan your hike to Havasupai to enjoy it.
It’s truly a magical place,e and you won’t be disappointed once you’re down there. Here’s how to complete your Havasupai falls hike and get your Havasupai falls permit.
Plan your hike to Havasupai.
Hike to havasu falls Key Info:
When can you apply: February 1 at 8 am AZ time
Where: It is all online this year. Don’t call.
Havasupai falls permit cost: 3 nights is $395
Stay Length: 4 day/3 night
New 2023 Updates: Every hiker must check in at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. Additionally, sleeping in your car at the trailhead is prohibited.
More Info: https://www.theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/
Suppose you’ve been a camp counselor and witnessed hundreds of screaming children run off multiple buses simultaneously. In that case, you know what applying for a Havasupai falls permit is like.
At 8 am Arizona time, the site will automatically refresh,h and the frenzy will have been unleashed. Before then, however, you’ll want to create your account.
This shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone, but weekends will go first, and March through May and September to October will be the first options swooped up. Even though you’re surrounded by water, temperatures in Havasupai can still hit 100+ during the summer months. So this is my first of undoubtedly many warnings to not take Arizona hiking lightly. Improperly done, the hike to Havasu falls could kill you if you don’t prepare.
UPDATE: In a post-Covid world, many reservations have been rolled over. You can likely get one by choosing the cancellations tab on their website.
What to bring for your Havasupai falls hike
After securing your Havasupai falls permit, now it’s time for the packing fun. So what to bring on your four-day, three-night Havasupai falls hike?
Below are the main things you need to plan your hike to Havasupai and offer other ideas if you don’t care about weight.
Priorities: These are your must-haves for the trip down.
- 60+L backpack
- Sleeping Bag/Quilt
- Sleeping pad
- Hiking Poles
- Hiking Boots
- First Aid
- Water Filter (But there is running drinking water,r so not a necessity),
- Stove, Fuel
- Food for four days
- Water Shoes
- Clothes (determined by the month you go)
- Hygiene Essentials
- Trash bags
- Food Storage Bag
Nice to have,e but I’d recommend:
An inflatable pillow, camera/phone, hammock, cards/games, book
Getting to Havasupai, Beaver Falls, and Mooney Falls
Hiking into Havasupai falls Key Info:
Trail Head to Campground: 11 miles
Campground to Mooney Falls: 1 mile (depending on where you camp)
Campground to Beaver Falls: 3.5
Campground to Confluence: 8 miles
Hiking into Havasupai falls is hardly more than a walk. The first mile to a mile and a half is the only noticeable elevation change you’ll encounter before the waterfalls. After that, the rest will be flat – though some of the hike to Havasu falls is walking in sand and loose gravel, which can add difficulty. If you’re in excellent shape and don’t stop for long, you can get to the campground in under 3.5 hours. For others who will take a slower pace, expect to spend around five hours walking.
(I’m purposely not talking about the helicopter. Don’t be that person. Havasupai needs to be earned.)
Once you enter the village of Supai, you’ll have a casual one-mile hike to Havasu falls and the campground.
When you arrive, campsites are on a first-come, first-serve style. A picnic table more or less designates each site. If you’re closer to the village, you’ll be closer to the drinking water and Havasu Falls. If you’re closer to Mooney Falls, you’re obviously farther away from the village and/or drinking water. Also, be aware that there are compost bathrooms throughout the campground (I think two), so be strategic with those as well.
The Havasupai Waterfalls:
Navajo Falls is technically the first waterfall you’ll see as you make your way toward the campground. However, recent flash floods have altered the landscape and, thus, the waterfall itself. I never went down to the water here but saw others doing so.
Hike to Havasu falls
Havasu Falls is the first iconic waterfall you’ll pass, about a quarter mile from the campsite. You’ll surely stop and take a plethora of photos. This is an excellent spot for a lazy day as it won’t have as many people trekking through it compared to Mooney Falls, and it will have better sunlight. After your hike to Havasu falls, start looking for a place to camp!
To reach the base of Mooney Falls, you must traverse the entire length of the campground and then make your way down a handful of ladders which might make your stomach drop a bit. As you get closer to the water, the mist will make them slippery. Go very slow here.
After you make your way past Mooney and away from the water, you’ll enter a very different landscape. You’ll be surrounded by towering canyon walls and grasses/bushes that reach your chest. There are undoubtedly a few routes to Beaver Falls, but the one I did had us crossing water a couple of times and brought us above and slightly past Beaver Falls, where people will cliff jump. You’ll hardly be the only person on this route so you won’t get lost.
Confluence – Havasupai falls hike
I’ve never been, but supposedly, it’s incredible. About four miles past Beaver Falls is the Confluenc,e where the turquoise green of Havasu Creek meets the muddy brown waters of the Colorado River. This is your end. Seriously. Don’t try to go too far into the Colorado Rive,r or it could quickly sweep you off your feet and take you to Mexico (just kidding. Hopefully, you’d find help before that). If you go all the way, you’ll want to start quite early in the morning as you’ll lose the sun behind the canyon walls much earlier than you expect. This is the hardest of = any Havasupai falls hike.
Wrapping Up Hiking into Havasupai falls
Now that you must stay three nights, a trip to the Confluence is much more doable. Plus, it also allows for a lazy down there, which, in my opinion, should be fully taken advantage of. There’s nothing better than spending quality time hammocking in the beauty of Havasupai. Remember to be respectful of the land and follow Leave No Trace principles. This is Native Land, and they’re generous enough to let us spend quality time in their homeland.
Hopefully, this helps give you an idea of how you plan your hiking into Havasupai falls. Wishing you all the best in paradise and the best of luck with your Havasupai falls permit/
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out!
To view my entire photography collection and purchase photos, click here.
Get answers to your backpacking questions with my FREE E-book.