Tonight was my class at REI about (getting to* and) hiking Havasu Falls!
*The “getting there” is the most complicated part: read on to find out why…
I am so glad I went because honestly, as much information as there is on the internet about this, there wasn’t one definitive source that laid everything out in steps like this class did. I’m feeling a LOT less stressed about this trip- even though there’s a lot of hoops to jump through, at least I know what the hoops are!
First, our guide Cyndi showed us this video to get us pumped:
The nearest town to the trailhead of Havasu Falls is Peach Springs, AZ. It is the LAST place for water, gas, food, and lodging before setting off for the trail. It is a 1 hr drive from Peach Springs to the parking lot at Havasu. There are NO vendors at the trailhead.
You may park without a pass at the parking lot at the trailhead. There is no one to check you in or answer questions, though there may be someone there running horses/mules between the trailhead and Supai village (more on that later). Our guide suggested leaving a nice big bottle of water in the car for when you return to your vehicle after your hike.
*This is the really important part that I never would have known about!!
You MUST call and make a reservation with the Havasupai Indian reservation office before you can plan to hike this trail. The phone lines open FEBRUARY 1st and SELL OUT for the WHOLE YEAR within a month. That means, if you really wanna go- you gotta call the first week of February. This is less important if you’re camping, but if you prefer to stay at the lodge it’s better to call as early as possible.
You do not put any $ down, they do not take your Credit Card info- they just ask for your snail mail address and send your reservation confirmation when they get to it. This part is difficult for OCD types like me, but a good excercise in patience I suppose.
Phone numbers to call for reservations:
- Supai Lodge: (928)448-2111 or (928) 448- 2201
- Campground (928) 448- 2141
- Tourist Office (928) 448-2121
- Helicopter Info (623) 516-2790
- $40 for camping permit- MUST be on you at all times. You pick this up at a small office/cabin after hiking the 8 miles into the canyon (more on what you’ll find where on the trail later).
- $18 per person, per night for campground (not including $40 entry fee)
- $145 per night per room- up to 4 ppl- at Lodge (plus 10% tax)
- $95 one-way for horseback transportation for your pack- up to 130 lbs. (apparently this is particularly useful when you’re hiking OUT of the canyon, i.e. uphill for 8 miles.)
- $85 one-way helicopter trip in or out of the canyon w/ $40 landing fee ($125 total). Locals take precedence over campers so be prepared to wait a while for this option.
*IMPORTANT: If you decide to just show up without a reservation, you will be CHARGED DOUBLE for EVERYTHING.
Example chart of costs here ( though apparently this always comes with the caveat of “subject to change”): http://www.havasuwaterfalls.net/reservations.html
When to go/ Weather:
Campground is open mid-March to end of November
Be cogniscant of the heat when you make your reservation: Temperatures climb well into the 100’s starting as early as May.
Flash Floods are uncommon but DO happen! Be prepared, just in case.
What to Pack: A Sample Packing List to Get you Started
- First Aid Kit
- Water Filter
- Bug spray
- Biodegradeable soap (campground has toilets but NOT showers- you can wash in the falls with biodegradeable soap!)
- Big and little pack (big only if you’re camping and are bringing a tent, etc)
- Trekking poles
- Head lamp (for cave bits- see video)
- Water shoes
- Over the ankle hiking boots
- FOOD; 200-300 calories per hour is the sweet spot!
*Pack NO MORE than 45 lbs!
The Hike Itself:
*Recommend starting no later than 6am because of heat*
8 miles from trailhead parking lot to Supai village (the village on the reservation)
From the village you come upon 4 Main Waterfalls:
- 1.5 mi from village to Navajo Falls
- .5 mi to Havasu Falls *Famous one in all the pictures
- (campground in between Havasu and Mooney)
- .5 mi to Mooney Falls *most challenging- have to climb down STEEP trail
- 2.5 mi to Beaver Falls *river hike- water shoes in handy here- beautiful cascades
- Water is always 70 degrees!!
- There is a cafe and store in the village of Supai with limited supplies
- Campground holds 250, no campfire, NO ALCOHOL
- Campground does have bathrooms but NO SHOWERS.
- High levels of carbon dioxide and minerals in the water give it that beautiful blue-green glow. Not photoshopped!
Hope this helps any hopeful trekkers like me out there…leave me a comment and let me know when/if you plan to go and maybe I’ll see you there!