Those who visit Havasu Falls and Creek need five to six days to go rafting the 150+ miles of the Grand Canyon. They see amazing sights and waterfalls offered by the Grand Canyon. Havasu Creek and the Grand Canyon are not for those looking for strolls and inner-tube floats for a day trip.
Access to Havasu Creek is not easy. To hike from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls, prepare for an 8-mile trek through Havasupai Indian Reservation. Visitors need a hiking permit. Videos that seem to depict the turquoise waters of the Grand Canyon as a place to swim are misleading.
Only about 100 yards of the 10 miles of Havasu Creek is accessible by raft or kayak, or easy to access for swimming. Exploring the lower section of the Havasu Creek is exciting, but exploring the 10 miles of the creek is no small adventure. There is an elevation gain, and the hiking trails between each pool along the creek are rough.
Havasu Creek and Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon
The popular Havasu Falls and inviting blue-green Havasu Creek water create an eye-catching oasis between the red walls of the towering canyon in this tributary of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai, which means 'people of the blue-green waters,' guard the waterfall gems in the remote canyon village that is approximately 8 miles from the rim of the trailhead.
Given the distance between the populated Southwest cities, getting to the trailhead is quite a feat. The reward of Navajo Falls, Mooney Falls, and Havasu Falls beckons adventurers. They gladly pay the local natives or tour guides the required permit fees. Reservations to see the waterfalls of Havasu are made directly with the Havasupai Indian Tribe.
Rafting to Havasu Canyon
Many visitors of Havasu Falls lug backpacks on a dusty desert trail. Others prefer the float-by-river approach. They book rafting trips from Lee's Ferry, AZ, and float for several days on the Colorado River toward the Havasu Canyon. The 10 miles of Havasu Creek from the Colorado River are among the most jaw-dropping gorgeous places on Earth. The lower falls and pools of the Havasu Creek are not as well-known but are every bit a paradise in the desert.
Why a Six or Seven Day Expedition Through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River Is Among Favorite Stops of Guides and Guests.
On Day 5, there is a stop at Havasu. Day 3 and 4 set you up for the stop at Havasu. It is the highlight of the trip. Havasu consists of waterfalls and pools for miles and miles. It is a great place to do your own thing. You can leave the group for a while and find a private nook for swimming, sunbathing, or just hanging out.
Havasu is a gorgeous canyon with blue-green water flowing over big boulders made white by the minerals of the water of Havasu. It is something you would not expect in the desert. Much like a seven-year-old, visitors experience how huge the rapids seem and how magical they make the area feel.
Hikers are sometimes bold enough to jump in the water. People rave about how blue and warm the water is. They love how the water rushes over the rocks. This spectacular place offers a sense of serenity. People they tell about the color of the water find it hard to believe.
Havasu and the other offerings of the Grand Canyon help guests appreciate nature and respect its grandeur. It is an amazing experience beyond the four walls of work. The dozens of pictures they take do not do justice to the area of this fantastic adventure.
It is overwhelming. On both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon are lookout points, but until you float down the center of it, you haven't seen the Grand Canyon at its best. It is the best way to see this creation than floating through the middle of it.
When Is the Best Time to Explore Havasupai Falls?
Visiting Havasu Falls is best done in late fall or early spring when it is the ideal temperature for hiking and pleasant enough for camping. Summer is better for camping, but hikes need to be early in the morning because of the heat. The falls are year-round accessible.
Flexibility is required to reserve the lodge or a campsite spot. February is an often requested time to make a reservation. There are more spots available during this month. Those who usually camp during the summer will have to acclimate to the cooler nights.
What Does It Cost to Visit Havasu Falls?
Reservations are available from February to November. On Monday through Thursday, the cost is $100 per night. Friday through Sunday, the rate is $125 per night. All reservations are for three nights and four days, so visitors thoroughly enjoy the visit. A minimum stay costs between $300 and $375 per person. Those who want to stay longer have to make back-to-back reservations if available.
The tribe decided not to issue permits for outfitters and guides. That decision does not increase the number of permits available each day, which is approximately 300. A new development allows people to transfer reserved spots on the Havasupai Reservation's website. Guests create a 'transfer link' to share or have spots listed on a cancellation page. When sports are purchased, there is a ten percent transfer fee.
People can also put themselves on a waiting list to attempt reserving a pack mule to carry belongings on the 10-mile trail that starts at Hilltop Trailhead to the campground. The waiting list is the best chance of reserving a pack mule. One-way trips are probably not available. A mule can carry as much as four 32-pound bags.
Can You Go to Havasu Falls for a Day?
Day Havasu Falls hikes are extremely discouraged and often not allowed. Havasu Falls is located on a Havasupai Indian Reservation that is in the middle of a canyon. There are three ways to get there, a helicopter ride, a horse, or an 8-mile hike. The 8 miles to the reservation take approximately four hours to complete. There is another two-mile hike to reach the waterfalls.
How Difficult Is the Hike to Havasu Falls?
As you step over the Hualapai Hilltop, at the Havasu Trailhead, the hiking trails kicks off dramatically. There are steep switchbacks that descend 1300 feet to the Hualapai Canyon floor. The first 1.75 miles are the most difficult. They are not too bad going down, but on the way up, they are grueling.
After an early morning, the section gets full exposure from the sun. You share the trail with fast-moving mule trains that carry supplies to and from the bottom of the canyon. It is necessary to move aside as they approach. The drivers are at the back of the train. The mules pay little attention to hikers. They function on auto-pilot.
The canyon floor of the Havasu Hiking Trail is smooth and flat for the most part. The next two miles of the hike follows a wide gravel arroyo through an open section of the canyon. There are gorgeous upward views. Expect full-sun exposure.
As the hike continues, it gently descends through Hualapai Canyon. Gradually, the walls increase in height. You are graced with intermittent shade as you walk along the winding path. The trail passes pockmarked boulders and rock formations.
At five miles, Hualapai Canyon narrows under dramatically soaring cliffs. There is a lovely deep cooling shade in this section. You step around shallow water pools that remain from past monsoons. There are fantastic echos here. Distant mule trains are heard clomping on the trail long before you see them.
Hualapai Canyon comes to an end after 6.5 miles. A rustic signpost directs you to Supai Village to the left, where the landscape suddenly transforms. You hear rushing water, and the trail converts to soft sand. It follows the Havasu Creek's shady banks.
One mile more, and you enter the Supai Village. It is the Havasupai tribe's sacred home. Some small private homes, a heliport, local store, a small cafe, Havasu Loge, and the tourist office are nestled between sandy streets and ancient Cottonwoods.
A tribal representative walks the waterfalls area and campground to check these items periodically. After registration, hikers continue through the village. A signpost indicates a turn to the right toward the campground. The mile-long, mildly descending stretch is lined with soft, deep beach-like sand.
At approximately nine miles, the Havasu Hiking Trail passes 50-foot Falls ad Navajo Fa The beautiful cascades can only be seen partially from the trail. At last, the trail reaches the top of the 100-foot Havasu Falls. As the path descends along the waterfalls, to the base, it steepens.
The view is incredible. It is great to arrive finally.. From the Havasu Falls base, the sandy trail continues to follow along the creek. You pass a mule train loading stable, a ranger station, and an Indian Fry Bread stand before entering the campground.
The one-mile-long, narrow Havasu Falls Campground is gorgeous. Soaring walls of Havasu Canyon flank both sides. There are plenty of shade trees. The cooling air and refreshing babble of Hasavu Creek that flows through the center add to the wild beauty. Drop your backpack and set up camp in one of the lovely nooks or crannies. The boundaries for camping stretch from the start of the campground to the flat area before the Mooney Falls drop off.
More Sights Along the Havasu Trail
The Havasu Falls Hiking Trail extends another 8 miles. The descent down Mooney Falls is steep. The Grand Canyon Mooney Falls towers higher than Niagara Falls. Mooney Falls is the largest waterfall in Havasupai. It continues to the popular Beaver Creek. Both the Hiking Trail and Havasu Creek end at Colorado River confluence. This beautiful hidden place in the Grand Canyon is worth the climb down the chains, ladders, and caves along the canyon wall.
In August of 2008, a flash flood changed the landscape of the Grand Canyon forever. As a result, we have Navajo Falls. It is a fantastic sot for those camping a Havasupai Campground to enjoy in the afternoon or evening. It is a short hike of just a little over a half-mile.
The cooldown spot is a great place to explore if Grand Canyon Havasu Falls is overcrowded. The Upper and Lower Navajo Falls make up two sets of falls. A marvelous series of cascades connects the two. Many people miss seeing the Upper Navajo Falls due to being partly concealed from the main trail. Do a bit of exploring to see the fifth waterfall of Havasu Canyon.
Havasupai Indian Reservation
The isolated community and spectacular waterfalls within the Havasupai Indian Reservation attract thousands of visitors every year. The Havasupai tribe is connected intimately to the land and water. Be respectful when entering the area, it is their home.
Supai Village is located within Havasu Canyon, which is a large tributary on the Colorado River. You cannot get there by road. The Havasupai Tribe are administrators of the land. It lies outside the jurisdiction and boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Reservations are a must for all campers and hikers. No one-day hiking is allowed. Hikers need to be athletic, fit, prepared for a challenging hike in the desert, and well-hydrated. Sunhats and sunscreen are recommended. Temperatures may reach 115 degrees. Supai trails close if temperatures exceed 115 degrees.
Driving time from Grand Canyon Village, located on the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim, to Hualapai Hilltop, is approximately four hours. It is 191 miles, or 308 km, from Grand Canyon Village. Hiking from Hualapai Hilltop to Mooney Falls and Supai is not a one day hike. At least an overnight stay is recommended. Three days is even better.
Park at the Hualapai Hilltop
The official name of the parking at the trailhead leading down to Havasu Falls is Hualapai Hilltop. The parking lot is surprisingly big. You could do a little pre-trail hiking to get to the trail. Unlike big Walmart parking lots, Hualapai Hilltop is long and stretched out.
In the middle of the lot, there are a couple of parking pockets. For the most part, visitors park on the side of the road. Because of the roadside parking, at Hualapai Hilltop, be prepared to parallel park if necessary. The road in and out is narrow. The parking is not available for RVs. It can be challenging to maneuver a regular size car around the parking lot.
Spend the Night at Hualapai Hilltop
Those who wish to stay overnight can sleep in their cars to try to leave before the sunrises. A solid night's sleep may not be possible. Around 2:00 AM, people start to arrive for the hike. It is noisy and bright from the headlights. Parking at the Hualapai Hilltop is free.
The parking lot is next to the helicopter pad. A helicopter carries villagers and hikers down to the village. If planning to take the helicopter, it makes sense to park close to the helipad. There is a single, outhouse-style male and female bathroom at the top near the trailhead.
Most Grand Canyon visitors choose to visit the South Rim. It is on the 'Arizona' side. The South rim is closer to transportation cents of Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Williams, AZ, and Interstate 40. There are rail services and a local airport. Ninety percent of Grand Canyon travelers visit the South Rim. Because it is very busy in the summer, campgrounds are often filled to capacity. Havasupai Campground reservations sold out within 30 minutes last year. Campground Reservations are strongly recommended.
Without the Colorado River, we would have no Grand Canyon. For experienced hikers, an alternative may be a Colorado River Trip. Nothing reveals the beauty of the Grand Canyon like one of these trips. In addition to spectacular hiking and thrilling rapids, travelers camp on the Colorado River banks every night.
Most campsites are on beautiful, sandy beaches. Camping on the bottom of the Grand Canyon offers several advantages, You experience a new campground every night, and there is no food or gear to pack. Grand Canyon experts cook, clean, and set up camp.