Havasupai means people of the blue-green water and the name doesn’t disappoint. When you add the red color backdrop of the Grand Canyon, this is a paradise for photographers. This blog post is about our experience at Havasupai and a resource for anyone who is going here.
Getting The Permit
This was arguably the most difficult part. However, starting this year they had partnered with sunrise reservations and within hours of opening an online reservation system (as more people came to know), they got sold out for the year.
When to reserve - The reservations open on Feb 1 for the year. They usually sell out within the first few hours, so it is more like fastest fingers first.
Best Time To Go - Summers are really hot (100+) and hence I believe the best time of the year to go would be Spring and Fall. I’d prefer Spring over Fall as there is a threat for flash flood in the Fall.
Resources - They opened a website this year and it has all the resources you need. I’d also recommend checking the TripAdvisor forum as it keeps you updated if anything changes.
We landed in Las Vegas and drove 2.5 hours to stay the Hualapai Lodge. The hotel is on the way to the trailhead and is about an hour away (I believe this is the closest). Below was our itinerary -
- Reach Hualapai Lodge in the evening, have dinner and sleep early.
- Leave hotel at 5:00 AM - 1 hour drive to hilltop.
- 10 mile hike. (8 miles to village and 2 miles to the campsite)
- Setup tent and go visit the Havasu Falls.
- Mooney Falls
- 4 miles to Beaver Falls and back.
- Leave early.
- 10 mile hike back to hilltop.
- 3.5 hour drive back to Las Vegas.
What To Carry - Check out this post on what to carry.
Cell Tower - There is no cell tower from the time you reach the Hualapai Hotel (AT&T) and for the most part of the 3 days. Briefly when you pass the Havasupai Village, there was cell tower with 3G network.
Mules - If you don’t want to carry your backpacks, you can send them through Mules. One way would cost you $121 for 4 bags. For the onward journey, you need to reserve 1 week in advance. For the return journey, it’s enough to inform when you checkin at the village.
Helicopter - There is an easier 3rd option where you could take a helicopter to the village and back. You still need to hike 2 miles past the village to get to the campsites. This is on a First-Come-First-Serve basis. There was a 3-hour wait time when we were hiking back up.
Food at the Village - There’s a restaurant at the village and they have Omlettes for breakfast and Burgers for lunch (and some other stuffs too). You can avoid packing lunch for the first day and breakfast for the final day (they open at 7 AM). FYI, the omelette at the village was amazing. They also have a grocery store and it had most of the things you’d need (snacks, medicines, energy drinks etc). I couldn’t find any camping items.
Food at the Campsites - There’s some food at the campsite. We had Hot Coco and Fries and they were both okay ish.
Day 1 - HillTop To Campground and Havasu Falls
Start Hiking Early - We reached the hilltop around 6:30 and started hiking. We hiked mostly in the shade (except for the last 2 miles) and reached the campsites at around 1:30 (with a LOT of stops).
Steep Descent First Mile - The first mile has a steep descent (roughly 2000 ft) and the trail is pretty much flat after that till the village.
Village at 8 mile mark - When you’re hiking and see a sign “Supai village this way”, then you’re roughly a mile away from the village. You check-in at the tourist office in the village. If you’re going to send your bags through mules on the way back, you would be paying for that now.
Campsite - Try to get to the campsite early as possible as it is reserved on a First-Come-First-Serve basis. Avoid the campsites at the front (too much crowd) or near the stream (too many mosquitoes). Another tip - the interior restrooms were better than the one at the front.
Havasu Falls - Once you setup the tents, try to head to the Havasu Falls. The hike to Mooney and Beaver falls would take up most parts of Day 2.
Day 2 - Mooney Falls and Hike to Beaver Falls
Mooney Falls - There is a steep descent down to the Mooney falls and usually there’s a long line for this. It took us about an hour from the campsite to get to Mooney Falls (less than a mile).
Hike To Beaver Falls - Beaver falls is about 4 miles from Mooney Falls. The hike to the Beaver falls is really beautiful. As you’d be crossing the stream many a times, you might want to have your sandals or water shoes. Once you get to the Palm tree, you could either climb the ladder and take this route or just cross the stream to get to the Beaver falls.
Day 3 - Campground to HillTop
Start Hiking Early - I’d recommend to leave at around 6 or 6:30 AM. This way, you’d reach the hilltop before noon and avoid the sun for the most part of your hike.
Carry Lots of water - Roughly around 2L-3L of water for your hike back.
Hoping to stay fit so that I can return sometime in the future!!
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