The Ultimate Guide To Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls, a marvelous landscape and a true icon of must-see nature!
Havasu Falls, a hidden gem in Arizona, is a blue-green waterfall tucked in the deep red valleys of Havasu Canyon, a remote section of the Grand Canyon!
The unfathomable beauty of Havasu Falls is hard to describe! The Havasu Creek plunges from the Havasu Canyon into a turquoise pool, then traverses from one pool to another, creating a sublime scenery of teal color water against the red canyon walls. The high concentration of calcium carbonate in the water and the limestone deposit on the riverbed reflect sunlight producing a blue-green hue around the pools! The calcium carbonate found in the water also creates unique rock formations called tufa and travertine, seen in the region’s several pools.
Though part of the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is not managed by the National Park Service, it’s part of the Havasupai Reservation, the home of the Havasupai Tribe. The Havasupai Tribe administers all the facilities in the area, including the reservation system, campsites, lodges, and other guest services. However, to preserve the natural resources and provide adequate service to visitors in this remote location, the Havasupai Tribe allows only limited visitors per year.
Camping permits or lodge reservations are required to access Havasu Falls. There’re limited rooms and permits issued every year, and they sell out within minutes the reservations open.
With the growing popularity and the limited availability, it’s really tough to secure a permit or a room at Havasu Falls. The camping permits and reservations for the Havasupai Lodge, the only lodge in Havasu Falls, go on sale for the entire season, only on specific dates of the year. They can be obtained online by following a simple process, which I have reviewed in detail in the later section of the post. However, due to the popularity, getting a permit or a reservation is quite challenging but definitely worth trying.
However, obtaining permits is not the only challenge; a trip to Havasu Falls involves a lot of hiking through rugged terrain and overnight stay at the campground or the lodge. Day hikes are strictly prohibited in Havasu Falls, and lodge reservations and camping permits are issued only for 4 days / 3 nights. There’re helicopter rides available that can help significantly reduce the hike time into the Havasu Canyon.
Day hikes are not permitted in Havasu Falls, as accessing the Falls requires a long strenuous hike, so a much-needed overnight stay is mandatory!
Here is my ultimate guide to Havasu Falls, featuring essential planning information, attractions map, suggested itinerary, hiking trails, campgrounds, and lodges at Havasu Falls!
Planning Your Trip To Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is open year-round, peak season being May through September. However, given the high demand & limited availability, any time of the year is fine, except the Monsoon season, July – August.
Best Time To Visit Havasu Falls: Summer and early Fall, May through September, is the busiest time in Havasu Falls. However, flash flooding is quite common in the canyon, and it’s better to avoid the Moonsoon season, July through August. Undoubtedly, summer’s the most favorable time to visit Havasu Falls with perfect water temperatures and ideal for camping, but reservations for summer months are often sold out. Winters are cold but not bad if you get a reservation for the lodge, water will be chilly, but you can still enjoy the spectacular views.
Havasu Falls Permits & Lodge Reservations: Camping permits or lodge reservations are required to access Havasu Falls. To preserve the fragile nature at Havasu Falls, only limited camping permits and lodge rooms are made available every year. The camping permits and lodge reservations for the entire year open on specific dates and, due to the popularity, are almost immediately sold out. Day hikes are not permitted, and overnight stay is mandatory and much needed at Havasu Falls. To enforce this, Havasupai Lodge reservations and camping permits are issued for only 4 days / 3 nights.
Havasu Falls Camping Permits: The camping permits for the entire year go on sale on 1st February at 8 AM every year and can be reserved online on HavasupaiReservations.com. To be able to book a campsite, one needs to register and have an active account on HavasupaiReservations.com. One person can reserve a campsite for up to 8 people, considered as the team leader, and must be present with the group with proper identification when traveling to Havasu Falls. Whether you’re planning to stay for a night or a couple of nights, all campsite reservations are for 4 days / 3 nights. Before traveling, every member of the group should have register on HavasupaiReservations.com and consent to all rules & regulations outlined by Havasupai Tribe.
Havasu Falls Lodge Reservation: The Havasupai Lodge reservations for the entire year go on sale on 1st June and can be booked online on HavasupaiLodge.com. Each room can accommodate only 4 people and can be reserved by one team member with an active account on HavasupaiReservations.com. The member making the reservation should be present with the party while checking in at the lodge. Other members should also register and consent to all rules & regulations outlined by Havasupai Tribe before traveling.
Getting To Havasu Falls: Havasu Falls trailhead is located on Hualapai Hilltop in Supai, Arizona, west of Grand Canyon South Rim. Getting to Havasu Falls can be broken into two parts (1) Getting to the Havasu Falls Trailhead in Hualapai Hilltop, and (2) Hiking to Havasu Falls, a 10 miles strenuous oneway hike or a helicopter ride to Supai village that significantly reduces the hiking distance and time.
Getting To Havasu Falls Trailhead
- Flight: McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 220 miles from Havasu Falls Trailhead, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) Phoenix, Arizona, about 265 miles to Havasu Falls Trailhead are the major international airports near Havasu Falls. There are a couple of domestic airports near Havasu Falls but have limited service, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (Flagstaff, AZ), Flagstaff, Arizona, around 170 miles from Havasu Falls, and Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN), Grand Canyon, Arizona, just 186 miles from Havasu Falls Trailhead.
- Train: You can take an Amtrak train to Flagstaff and Williams, the nearest Amtrak stations to Havasu Falls Trailhead, and from there, you can hire a taxi to get to a rental car company, rent a car and drive to Havasu Falls Trailhead.
- Bus & Shuttle: Greyhound offers bus services connecting several cities in Arizona to other cities and states in the US. Flagstaff, Arizona, is the nearest Greyhound stop to Havasu Falls Trailhead, about 170 miles from Havasu Falls Trailhead. You can rent a car from Flagstaff and then drive to Havasu Falls Trailhead in Supai.
Getting To Havasu Falls
- Hiking To Havasu Falls: The hike to Havasu Falls is a strenuous 10 miles one-way hike through rugged terrain. The hike from the Hualapai Hilltop to the Supai Village, home to the Havasupai Lodge, tourist office, cafe, and helicopter landing pad, is about 8 miles oneway. The hike to the Havasu Falls and the campground is an additional 2 miles from Supai Village, a total 10 miles hike from the Hualapai Hilltop. The hike into the Havasu Canyon is mostly downhill, but the hike out of the canyon is uphill and strenuous.
- Helicopter Ride To Supai Village: There’re helicopter rides offered at an additional cost, departing from the Hualapai Hilltop, taking visitors to Supai Village. The 10 minutes helicopter ride significantly shortens the hike to Havasu Falls, as the Falls is just 2 miles oneway hike from Supai Village. However, the helicopter rides are offered only weather permitting and permits only one medium size bag weighing no more than 40 lbs.
Parking & Transportation In Havasu Falls: There’s ample parking space near the Havasu Falls Trailhead located in Hualapai Hilltop. Besides hiking, the only other way to descend down the Havasu Canyon is by riding a helicopter to Supai Village. There’re pack mule services offered between the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead and the campground to carry bags in and out of the canyon. The pack mule services can be booked online on HavasupaiReservations.com.
Time Required At Havasu Falls: Day hikes are not permitted in Havasu Falls, and all reservations and permits are issued for a minimum of 3 nights / 4 days. However, if you wish, you could shorten your trip to 1 night / 2 days, but you would still need to pay for 3 nights / 4 days. Considering the strenuous hike and the several waterfalls and inner canyon hikes, I highly recommend staying the entire duration of the reservation 4 days / 3 nights.
Lodging In Havasu Falls: Lodging in Havasu Falls is limited to camping and the Havasupai Lodge, the only lodge in Havasu Falls. Campgrounds are located on both sides of Havasu Creek, between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. The campsites cannot be reserved in advance and are occupied on a first-come-first-served basis. There’s a convenience store located in the Supai Village, 4 miles roundtrip from the campgrounds, so planning and preparation are the keys to successful camping in Havasu Falls. You can use my camping checklist to prepare for your Havasu Falls camping trip.
Dining In Havasu Falls: There aren’t many dining options in Havasu Falls, and you must carry sufficient food and supplies that would last for the entire trip. The only couple of dining options in Havasu Falls are the cafe at Supai Village and the food stalls in and around the campgrounds selling tacos and other fast food items.
Havasu Falls Camping Rules & Code Of Conduct: Havasu falls is home to the Havasupai Tribe, and visitors must respect their privacy and culture. There’re strict rules and code of conduct outlined by the Havasupai Tribe, which are strictly imposed in the Havasupai Reservation. Violations may lead to substantial penalties, and civil citations can be issued by the Havasupai Tribe. The policies are in place to protect the fragile nature, ensure privacy and uphold the culture and beliefs of the tribe and the safety of villagers visitors alike. Some significant policies include no use of alcohol or drugs in Havasu Fall, no pets, no bikes, no weapons, no photographs of villagers and their habitat, and always carrying a valid identification in the canyon. Here’s the link to the official Havasupai Tribe Law and Order Code outlined by the Havasupai Tribe.
Things To Do In Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls Attractions Map
There’re several other gorgeous waterfalls near Havasu Falls, one located on the way to Havasu Falls and others accessible via an additional hike from Havasu Falls.
Hiking is the most prevalent activity in Havasu Falls and the only way to access the inner Havasu Canyon and the enchanting waterfalls. Though the area is popularly known for its Havasu Falls, there are a few other equally spectacular waterfalls in Havasu Canyon that you must visit on your trip to Havasu Falls.
Hiking To Supai Village: This is the longest stretch of the Havasu Falls hike. The hike to Supai Village from the Havasu Falls Trailhead located on the Hualapai Hilltop is 8 miles oneway hike and takes about 3 – 4 Hours. The hike into the Havasu Canyon is mostly downhill, but the trek out of the canyon is uphill, relatively more strenuous, and takes longer. People staying in the Havasupai Lodge, located in the Supai Village, can end their day hike and check into the lodge.
However, if you’re camping, you have to continue hiking an additional 2 miles into the Havasu Canyon to the campgrounds located near the Havasu Falls. I highly recommend getting an early start for both hikes, the hike into and hike out of the Havasu Canyon, to avoid the day heat, and to ensure you have enough time to unpack and set up your tent if you’re caping.
Hiking To The Waterfalls In Havasu Canyon: There’re four gorgeous waterfalls in Havasu Canyon, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls. The Navajo Falls is located between the Supai Village and Havasu Falls, so you would see it on your hike to Havasu Falls. However, to visit the other waterfalls, you have to hike past the Havasu Falls further into the Havasu Canyon. If you wish, you could hike to the Colorado River, located at the very end of the Havasu Canyon, which is 4 miles past Beaver Falls.
If you’re staying in the Havasupai Lodge, you would need to hike an additional 2 miles to Supai Village from Havasu Falls. Here’s the list of waterfalls in Havasu Canyon and hiking distance from Havasu Falls, Supai Village, and the Hualapai Hilltop.
- Supai Village – 8 Miles from Hualapai Hilltop / 2 Miles from Havasu Falls
- Navajo Falls – 9.5 Miles from Hualapai Hilltop / 1.5 Miles from Supai Village
- Havasu Falls – 10 Miles from Hualapai Hilltop / 2 Miles from Supai Village
- Mooney Falls – 11 Miles from Hualapai Hilltop / 3 Miles from Supai Village / 1 Mile from Havasu Falls
- Beaver Falls: 13 Miles from Hualapai Hilltop / 5 Miles from Supai Village / 3 Miles from Havasu Falls
Here’re the must-see waterfalls in Havasu Canyon on your trip to Havasu Falls!
On the way to Havasu Falls from the Supai Village, you will find a couple of beautiful waterfalls, including the Fifty Foot Falls and the Navajo Falls. The Navajo Falls is the first major waterfall on the way to Havasu Falls, a gorgeous series of cascades comprised of two waterfalls, Upper Navajo and Lower Navajo Waterfalls.
Havasu Falls, undoubtedly the most impressive of all waterfalls in Havasu Canyon, plunges about 100 feet into a turquoise pool and then continues flowing downstream from one pool to another. The campgrounds are located just past the Havasu Falls, on both sides of the Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and the Mooney Falls.
Mooney Falls, a mile from Havasu Falls, is the tallest of all waterfalls in Havasu Canyon and is incredibly gorgeous. However, accessing the base of the Mooney Falls and pool is quite challenging and involves passing through narrow caves, climbing up and down steep ladders, and stairs cut into the canyon walls.
Beaver Falls, located 3 miles from Havasu Falls, is a series of several small cascading waterfalls creating a terrace of interconnected turquoise pools. However, to get to Beaver Falls, you would need to descend down the Mooney Falls and then continue on a relatively flat trail to Beaver Falls.
Hiking to some of the inner canyon waterfalls can be really challenging and is not recommended if you’re scared of heights.
Hiking is the only way to explore Havasu Falls, and the hikes in Havasu Canyon are pretty strenuous, especially the hike to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls requires climbing down and up steep canyon walls and is not for the faint heart. I don’t mean to demotivate you, but if you’re not comfortable with heights, you could still enjoy spectacular views of relatively easily accessible Navajo Falls and Havasu Falls.
There you have it! Obtaining permits and long hikes may sound a lot of effort, but I assure you, Havasu Falls is worth it! Planning and preparation is the key to a successful trip to Havasu Falls. If you’re planning to camp, you would need to carry additional camping gear, and you can use my Camping Packing Checklist to prep for your trip to Havasu Falls.
Other Arizona Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Havasu Falls, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Havasu Falls. You can find other Arizona attractions in my Arizona Travel Guide.
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