The Campers Guide to Hiking Havasu Falls
Havasu, or Havasupai, Falls is a permitted bucket list hike taking you to the floor of the Grand Canyon. Imagine trekking deeper and deeper into the earth, stopping along the way at waterfalls to rejuvenate.
Permit hikes are often popular either because of the difficulty, or the reward promised at the end. Havasupai Falls is certainly difficult but also incredibly rewarding.
Let’s dig in!
What is Havasu Falls (and Its History)
Havasu Falls is an almost 100-foot waterfall, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The beautiful blue-green color of the water is due to high levels of calcium carbonate. The water is safe for swimmers and those looking to cool off from the Arizona heat.
The falls is located on Havasupai tribal lands. The tribe has occupied the land for over 800 years. Unfortunately, the Grand Canyon National Park’s creation in 1919 constricted the tribe’s land to 500 acres. The remaining 600 or so tribal members have since had over 180,000 acres returned to them.
Many of the Havasupai people sustain themselves by farming and profiting from tourism. So, visitors can support the Havasupai people by purchasing merchandise and hiring mules to assist with carrying supplies.
Know Before You Go: Learn more about the Havasupai Tribal Nation.
The Best Way to Get to There
Take Highway 66 towards Peach Springs. Next, turn onto Route 18, approximately 6 miles east of Peach Springs.
Then, continue for 64 miles to the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot. After that, you’ll begin the 10-mile hike to Havasupai Falls.
How Long Does It Take to Hike to Havasu Falls?
The tribe does not permit day-hiking at Havasu Falls and actually requires a 3-day permit for the trek. The 10-mile hike from the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot to the falls takes approximately 3 hours to complete.
Can You Swim in The Falls?
Yes, swimming is allowed. Cooler temperatures often occur February-April, potentially causing swimming to be uncomfortable.
Trail Guide Tips for Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is on Havasupai tribal land. Therefore a permit is required for all individuals desiring to hike. There is a 3-day minimum for all hiking permits. And, the tribe issues permits for the current year on February 1.
Due to the popularity of this hike, permits go quickly. For instance, permits for the entire hiking season have been filled within 2-3 hours in previous years.
You’ll want to create your account before February 1 and cross your fingers as the date approaches. Getting a permit for this hike may require flexible travel dates.
Keep in Mind: Permits for the hike go fast, so be prepared to hop on the site as soon as they open for the current year.
About the Hike
It cannot be understated that hiking to Havasu Falls is difficult, and you must have a permit. Individuals caught without a permit are subject to tribal laws.
As a result, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for using the tribal land. It is 10 miles from the trailhead to the campground, which is the only water source during the hike. Hikers will descend 1000 feet to the valley floor over 8 miles.
The remaining 2 miles to Havasupai Campground go by quickly with waterfalls and many other Instagram-worthy photo spots.
Camping Near Havasu Falls
Address: Located at the base of Havasu Falls on Havasupai tribal lands
About the Campground: Again, the Havasupai Tribal Nation requires a permit with a minimum reservation of 4 days/3 nights. There are water, picnic tables, and vault toilets at the campground. Camping at the base of the falls is not permitted, but the campground is nearby. All sites are first-come, first-served, and no campfires are allowed. Guests should practice “leave no trace” practices while on the trail and in the campground.
Price: Monday – Thursday $300 / Friday – Saturday $375 (per reservation / per person)
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to carry a tent and sleeping bag, make reservations at the Lodge.
Hiking Havasu Falls
Experiencing the beauty of Havasu Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many hikers. The Havasupai people cherish their land, and it is an honor for them to share it with hikers.
Have you hiked to Havasu Falls?
If so, share your favorite pictures with us!
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