Timing on the trail to Arizona's Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls tumble 100 feet into a cool, blue pool in the Grand Canyon. The hike to the falls on the Havasupai Reservation is arduous, and tribal regulations require visitors to spend the night in the canyon rather than making it a day trip. Depending on your pace and conditioning, expect the 10-mile hike to Havasu Falls to take four to seven hours.
The trail to Havasu Falls
The trail begins on Hualapai Hilltop, almost 200 miles west of the main tourist attractions at Grand Canyon Village. The first mile of the trail snakes back and forth down into the canyon. The next three miles are mostly in the sun – wear sunscreen and a hat. The rest of the hike into the village of Supai is shady, with the last 1.5 miles along Havasu Creek. From the village, it’s another mile to the campground. Havasu Falls is then just a half-mile away.
Carry enough water. There are no clean water sources for the first eight miles of the hike, so plan on packing a gallon of water for the trek to Supai village. Consider freezing a bottle of electrolyte-rich drink for hiking in the summer’s heat.
Get in shape for the hike. While most of the trek is moderate, the hike is 10 miles long, and, during the summer, temperatures often register at higher than 100 degrees F.
Wear the right shoes. Hiking boots that are broken in and comfortable are the best choice for a rocky hiking path. Carry river shoes or sneakers for fording streams.
Don’t attempt to get around the Havasupai tribe’s rule about staying overnight in the canyon, even if you think you can do the 20-mile round trip hike in one day.
Remember that Havasu Falls is on a Native American reservation. Don’t be disrespectful of tribal lands. Leave rock formations undisturbed and pack out what you pack in.
Stay out of the way of pack horses – they have the right of way. Move to the canyon side and wait until the horses pass before continuing to hike.
General Havasu Falls hike information
Peak season for hiking Havasu Falls is June through August despite the fact that the temperatures are highest then. Early spring and late fall are the best times to make the trip, but hikers should keep in mind that flash flooding is most likely in the fall. During the winter, the canyon is least busy, giving hikers the best opportunity to experience nature undisturbed.
The Havasupai tribe operates a lodge in Supai for those who don’t want to camp. The lodge fills quickly, so make reservations well in advance.
Experts on the hike to Havasu Falls are divided as to how much camping gear to carry on the trip. Some believe a hammock or sleeping bag is all that’s necessary. Others recommend having a tent to break the wind and for warmth on chilly nights.
Hikers who don’t want to carry their gear to the campground can arrange to have a pack horse transport it.
Fees and regulations
Each hiker must pay an entrance fee, a lodging fee and an environmental care fee, plus tax, to make the trek to Havasu Falls. A limited number of hikers are permitted each year, and the campground fills quickly. Camping is strictly forbidden anywhere except the designated campground, and hikers who enter the canyon without permission are charged double the fees.
Once hikers reach Supai, they must check in at the tourist office. Make sure you have proof you’ve paid the entrance fees and have camping or lodge reservations.