Hiking to Havasupai – Ready For A Challenge?

Hiking to Havasupai - Mooney Falls

The Havasupai Indian Reservation is located in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona, USA. One of the main attractions of the reservation are the stunning waterfalls that are found in the area. These are 5 of the most amazing waterfalls you’ll ever see, but you’re going to have to work for it. So…are you ready to go hiking to Havasupai?

Leaving Hilltop

The trail starts off at Hilltop and that’s (typically) where your permit will be checked before beginning your hike. We’d suggest getting an early start if possible (probably about 7am or so) to make sure you’re not rushed. The trail leaving Hilltop will wind down many switchbacks toward the canyon floor below. There were lots of large rocks at many points on the trail, so take your time and be careful not to roll an ankle.

The Canyon Floor

Once you reach the canyon floor (about 2 miles in), the hike will be fairly level the rest of the way. You’ll walk through a wash a majority of the way, so be aware of the issues you might face if it is raining (flash floods, etc.). This part of the hike will take you about 6 miles, but it’s an easy hike – just make sure you have plenty of water and protection from the sun!

Arriving in Supai

The tribe asks that no pictures are taken while you’re in the village, so please respect their rules. You’ve been given an incredible gift to be able to visit the amazing waterfalls here, so keep that in mind. We visited the cafe first and had a hamburger (it was great) and had a soda or two before moving on. There is a grocery store in the village, but keep in mind that the tribe relies on the store for their necessities. As a visitor, please pack in everything you need (or at least try to) to avoid causing stocking issues for the people in the village. When you leave the village you’ll have about a 2 mile hike to reach the campground. You’ll pass Navajo Falls, 50 Foot Falls and Havasu Falls on your way there, but we kept hiking on the initial trip to the campgrounds so we could get settled.

Havasu Falls

The most famous waterfall in the Havasupai Indian Reservation is Havasu Falls. Havasu Falls is a 100-foot (30-meter) tall waterfall that cascades into a turquoise-blue pool of water. The waterfall is surrounded by red rocks and lush greenery, making for a breathtaking sight. Visitors can swim in the pool beneath the waterfall or hike to the top for a panoramic view. From the campground you’ll hike back toward Supai, but only about a 1/10 of a mile from the campground. The hike down to the falls is short and the views will be incredible!

Hiking To Havasupai - Havasu Falls
Cupcake and Cornbread at Havasu Falls

Mooney Falls

Another popular waterfall in the area is Mooney Falls. Mooney Falls is taller than Havasu Falls, standing at 196 feet (60 meters) tall. The hike to Mooney Falls is more challenging than the hike to Havasu Falls, but the view from the top is worth the effort. If you’re attempting to climb down to the base of Mooney Falls, make sure you’re prepared with gloves (and patience). The climb down can be very intimidating, but it is doable (I’m almost 60 and made it fairly easily). The mist from Mooney Falls is floating constantly and soaks the rocks and ladder on the trail down, so be careful!

Hiking to Havasupai - Mooney Falls
Cupcake at Mooney Falls
Hiking to Havasupai - Mooney Falls
Mooney Falls

Beaver Falls

In addition to Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, there are also several smaller waterfalls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation, including Navajo Falls and Beaver Falls. Navajo Falls is a two-tiered waterfall that is located near Havasu Falls, while Beaver Falls is a series of smaller cascades that are reached via a scenic hike along the Havasu Creek. (I will get pictures of Navajo Falls uploaded soon!)

When you get to the base of Mooney Falls you’ll start your hike toward Beaver Falls. The trail is easy to follow, though you will have 3 creek crossings (and the water is chilly). It’s less than 3 miles out to Beaver Falls, just keep in mind you’ll need to hike back too (so don’t start your hike too late in the day). There have been issues with some of the ladders providing access to the trail at points, but we didn’t have any access issues when we were there (early February, 2023). You’ll probably see Big Horn Sheep on the trail – just give them plenty of space and you’ll be fine.

Hiking to Havasupai - Beaver Falls
The base of Beaver Falls
Hiking to Havasupi - Beaver Falls
Beaver Falls – Some of the cascades along the Creek.

Up For The Hike?

Visitors to the Havasupai Indian Reservation can camp overnight in the area to fully experience the beauty of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape. The reservation is accessible via a 10-mile (16-kilometer) hike, horseback ride, or helicopter ride from the nearest town of Supai.

For 2023, you won’t be able to get a NEW permit, but you may be able to obtain one like we did – through the Transfer Board.

Here are some helpful links:

  • Campground: The campground is large and it’s more or less a first come, first serve as far as your campsite. The earlier you get there, the more choices you’ll have.
  • Getting To The Campground: It is a 10 mile hike to get to the front of the campground, so make sure you’re physically able to handle the hike in – and out!
  • Getting To Hilltop: This is where you start your journey into the Grand Canyon. It’s about 65 miles from Peach Springs, AZ, so make sure you have plenty of fuel to get there and back. Oh, and watch for elk (and cows) on the road!
  • Hiking Past The Campground: Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls are past the campground, so you’ll have to proceed at your own risk. Getting down to the base of Mooney Falls (which is required if you want to get to Beaver Falls) is a challenge, so be prepared!
  • Campground Terms and Conditions: Things you need to go before you go! Plus, information on reservations and the transfer system (if you are hoping to get a permit in 2023)!
Havasupai Tribe Tourism – From Their Facebook Page (February, 2023)

What Should You Bring With You?

Here is a partial list of items we brought with us for the 4 day/3 night adventure. We actually overpacked because we didn’t know what to expect, so we ended up leaving some of the items at the Ranger’s table near the entry to the campground (we encourage you to do that too, it you have too many items to pack out – it could potentially help someone out!). Some of these are obvious, but we just wanted to give you some basic information!

  • Sleeping Bags: We had two old army sleeping bags (without liners), so we were a little chilly. Pay attention to the expect weather patterns for your visit and plan accordingly.
  • Tent: We used an inexpensive 2 person tent and it worked great. We were fortunate that it didn’t rain during out visit, so make sure you know the capabilities of your tent prior to your trip!
  • Sleeping Pad: Cornbread and I went the cheap route for our sleeping pad – 2 inflatable swimming pool loungers! At only $5 each, it was an easy choice. However, you may not be comfortable with them as there was no heat retention and they squeaked with every move. Do your research and find a sleeping pad you’ll like – we’ll be looking for a new one soon!
  • Camping Stove: We tried out an inexpensive butane/propane burner and it worked fine, but we’re looking at the JETBOIL Zip Carbon Cooking System.* It’s fairly inexpensive (compared to lots of other cooking systems), and it could potentially work great for you!
  • Backpack: Cornbread had a 75 liter and I had a 45 liter backpack, so we had lots of space available for the hike. But having plenty of space also encouraged us to overpack – so keep that in mind!
  • Food: Pack in what you think you’ll need and don’t count on being able to stock up at the grocery store. The tribe relies on the store for their necessities, so keep that in mind. We packed 2 dehydrated meals, many protein bars and nuts and we were fine. We did eat at the cafe when we first arrived and had some frybread at one of the vendor tents along the trail (it was delicious).
  • Water: We only brought in enough water for the hike in (plus a little extra) as there is a spring in the campground! Once you arrive, located the Fern Spring (between the 1st and 2nd toilet areas). There you’ll be able to load up your water bladder and any other water container so you’ll have plenty of fluids for your entire visit! It is recommended to treat the water, but we didn’t and didn’t have any issues (obviously, treat it if you’re uncomfortable, but it is a natural spring!).
  • Clothes: Again, check the weather and pack accordingly. Make sure to have gloves available if you plan to make the trip down to the base of Mooney Falls (you’ll need them!). Also, have a hat available (especially if you’re like Cornbread – bald!) to protect yourself from the sun – it can get brutal there!
  • Cash: While the cafe and store in town can accept credit cards, the vendors who make the effort to get closer to the campground typically only take cash. They’re doing you a favor (by saving you miles of walking back to the village), so have money available! You’ll also find several people selling stickers (very reasonable), so they’ll take cash, too!

If you have any questions about our experience, please click on CONTACT US above, fill out the information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible (I’ve had lots of issues with spam comments, so this has help minimize that problem). You can also visit our YouTube Channel to see videos about Havasupai and our other travels across the United States! We have over 200 videos right now and have new shorts available every Friday and new videos every Sunday! Don’t forget to LIKE + SUBSCRIBE!

Here is the link to the Havasupai Indian Reservation Facebook Page. You’ll find lots of information there!

Keeping Up With Cupcake and Cornbread

Interested in Off-Grid living? We recently built our own 256 square foot tiny cabin and it is amazing! It is 8 feet off the ground (we live near a creek) and that gives us extra living space under our cabin!

We built out a 6×10 cargo trailer about 2 years ago and converted it to our own little house on wheels! It carried us all over the Southwest US for 4 months, visited 20+ National Parks & Monuments and stayed a BLM areas for FREE almost the entire trip!

Do you love Utah? We do and we visited the Big 5 there (and can’t wait to go back soon), including a trip to Capitol Reef National Park and a hike to Hickman Bridge – that is our favorite park in Utah!

Stay tuned for more fun in 2023 – we have several trips planned and lots of great stuff to come!

*There are a couple of affiliate links on this page.  If you click on them and purchase an item at that website, we'll get a small commission - so thank you!
Verified by MonsterInsights