Havauspai is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Arizona, if not the world! Hidden deep within the Grand Canyon, it’s natural beauty is unmatched by any other. There is a presence and peace that whispers through the red walls, and a healing power found within the falls. The journey begins with a 10 mile trek into the most remote community in the United States, Supai, home to the Havasupai Indian Tribe. It is only accessible by foot, mule or helicopter. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green water,” and for the last ten centuries, the Havasupai Tribe has served as keepers of this sacred land. It is sad to think about the violent force of Native American tribes from their land by the government. After 7 appeals over 66 years, the government finally granted the rights of the land to the Tribe in 1975.
Havasupai has become a viral spot to visit since it was one of the most popular pinned photographs on Pinterest. This makes it challenging to access and reservations hard to get. Reservations for the year begin on February 1 through an online reservation system. For 2018, the price is $140 per person for two days, one night. If you are interested in the adventure, you can make a reservation here.
There is a lodge you can stay at, but I highly recommend camping, to fully experience the land. The camp grounds are well maintained, and nestled along the creek, underneath a canopy of trees. There are very well maintained bathrooms that they recently built, which is a huge improvement since the porta-potties in the past, that they would raise in and out of the canyon via helicopter!
If you decide to camp, you will need to pack accordingly, with a proper tent, sleeping bags, water or water filters, and food!! Don’t forget to bring some entertainment, such a cards and a speaker for music.
There are several falls to access once you make the journey down there. Havsu, the main fall. Moony, the second fall, which is an adventurous trek through the canyon walls itself. And then Beaver Falls, which is about another 3 or so miles from Moony. You can walk all the way to the Colorado River from Moony falls, it is an 8 mile walk.
Havasu Falls is the main fall, and absolutely breath-taking. It has changed shaped since the devastating flood in 2010, however, it is still just as beautiful. It cascades 100 feet from a vertical cliff and shoots into a plunging aqua blue-green pool. The water gets it’s gorgeous color from a high concentration of lime deposits. I recommend visiting this fall on the first day you get in, and then making the trek to Moony/Beaver Falls on day two. Check out my recommended itinerary towards the end of this post! It was only natural to pack a pretty outfit to carry down for a photo op. We woke up right around sunrise to capture these. The light during this time was a little dark and too cool. I think the best time for photographs here is later in the day when the sun really draws out the warmth and vibrancy of the natural colors of the canyon. The sun rises just over the fall.Make sure to have a picnic at Havasu Falls. There is a single table nestled right into the canyon wall. We cooked ourselves breakfast here one morning and had the waterfall all to ourselves. Talk about dining with a view!
Moony Falls is 0.5 miles from the campground. You can access it by climbing through the canyon walls, and descending down about 200 feet! It’s definitely not for people who are afraid of heights, but overall, very do-able. Just use caution, as it can get pretty slippery from the water spray. Once you make it to the bottom, you can walk the shallow pools and experience the jaw dropping view and power of Moony. Once down there, I recommend walking down the creek, and exploring as much as you can of this adult playground.
Exploring Havasupai left me with beauty sensory overload. Everywhere and everything is overflowing with the vibrancy of life. The further you walk, the more beautiful it gets. No matter how many photographs I took, nothing seemed to capture the beauty of this place justly. But, then again, maybe it’s something beyond a camera itself, as a camera can only capture the physical sense of a place. There’s an energy here that transcends you, that lives, that tumbles through with a forceful, yet peaceful strength. And there is a gentleness that can only be seen through the spirit. Through touching, and seeing, and wading waist deep in the water. Through planting your feet firmly in the earth and feeling the Universe wrap it’s arms around you. Those things, those intangible pieces, can only be felt, explored, remembered…
After you spend ample time exploring Mooney, maybe one to three hours, I recommend hiking over to Beaver Falls for the rest of the day. From Moony, it is another three mile hike. The hike itself to this more remote fall is absolutely breathtaking. Between the field of overgrown ivy, to the prickly pear and barrel cactus sightings, this was a world within a world. I’m talking like prehistoric.
Hiking In + Out
The ten mile hike IN isn’t all that bad. The hike itself is really, more of a walk. The most grueling part is the switchbacks at the very top of Huluapai Hilltop, which is where you park your vehicle and your journey begins, or ends. I found this site that seemed to have good directions and logistical information regarding the Havasupai journey.
If you don’t want to hike in our out, there is an option to take a helicopter, which is about a 5 minute ride or a pack mule. You can also use the helicopter and pack mule to just take your backpacking gear. This was my third time visiting Havasupai, and in the past, I was always appalled at the care, or lack thereof, of the mules. However, to my surprise, the pack mules looked much healthier and cared for this trip. I’m sure they were getting serious complaints about the abuse.
2 Day/1 Night Trip Itinerary
- Sunrise Hike Out – Plan on getting to the trailhead at sunrise. You can either park your car at the top of Huluapai Hilltop and sleep in it, or find a hotel/motel near by that you can stay in the night before, and then drive to the hilltop to get there by sunrise. We stayed the night before at The Gand Canyon Caverns.
- Hike Out. The hike took us about 6-7 hours.
- Set up Camp.
- Visit Havsu Falls for the rest of the day.
- Cook Dinner.
- Rest up
- Make Breakfast and eat it at Havasu Falls.
- Hike to Mooney Falls (0.5 miles from camp) and explore for a couple hours.
- Hike to Beaver Falls, spend about an hour or two there. (6 miles roundtrip.)
- Get back to camp before sunset, make dinner, hang with friends, go to bed.
- Fuel up with breakfast.
- Pack and clean up your campsite.
- Leave camp as early as possible if you are hiking out to avoid the heat. If you are hiking out, plan on it taking a little longer than the hike in.
- If you are hiking out, you may want to stay the night in Flagstaff to avoid the drive to where ever your return destination is to. (You will be extremely tired!)