Havasupai & Mooney Falls

Havasupai Falls and the Havasu Creek in the West Rim of the Grand CanyonYou've likely seen photos like this one, depicting a powerful, towering waterfall splashing down into a series of aquamarine pools. But until you've experienced it in person, stood behind the thundering 100-foot chute of water and swum in the bracing 70° travertine pools, the picture can't tell the whole story.

Havasu Canyon, home to the Havasupai Indians, is a paradise located in western Grand Canyon known worldwide for its series of waterfalls and beautifully sculpted rock. In this idyllic setting of lush side canyons and sun-splashed cliffs a small group of indigenous hunters and farmers arrived centuries ago and carved out a simple lifestyle; one that continues to this day.

Havasu Creek, the carver of this serpentine side canyon below the South Rim, is fed by a deep aquifer. The perennial desert stream tumbles over Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, then Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and finally Beaver Falls on its journey to the Colorado River on the floor of the Grand Canyon. The presence of calcium carbonate in the highly mineralized, spring-fed water gives Havasu Creek its distinctive blue-green color. This same robust creek sustains a rich riparian ecosystem that is home to a wide variety of plants, birds, and animals.

Though many Supai tribal members continue to farm in this flood-prone drainage, tourism has emerged as the tribe's primary source of income. Fee-based camping is offered year round. In addition to backpackers, visitors arrive by helicopter and horseback, some staying in the tribe's rustic lodge. Camping in Havasu Canyon requires a permit and reservations that can be obtained directly from the tribe. DO NOT just show up, or you'll risk hiking 10 miles only to find you don't have a campsite, and if there does happen to be an available site, you'll be billed at twice the usual rate. For more information on visiting Havasu Canyon, visit www.havasupai-nsn.gov/tourism.html.

  • Entry and Camping Permits:
    • Telephone: (928)448-2121 (also -2141 or -2180)
    • Email: httourism0@havasupai-nsn.gov
  • Havasupai Lodge Reservations:
    • Telephone: (928)448-2111 (also -2101)
    • Email: htlodge0@havasupai-nsn.gov
  • Pack Horses and Mules
    • Telephone: (928) 448-2121 (also -2141 or -2174)
    • Email: tourism0@havasupai-nsn.gov
  • Helicopter Shuttle:
    • First come, first served. Available daily 10:00 am to dark. Priority given to Supai tribal members

    Havasupai Trail is a somewhat strenuous 10-mile hike from the Hualapai Hilltop to the Havasupai Falls campground. The trail begins with about a dozen switchbacks, descending 1,000 feet over ¾ of a mile from the Hilltop to the canyon floor, where the trail flattens out considerably. The remaining 8 ¼ mile to the Supai Village are pleasant for walking but often sunny and hot, as the temperature on the Canyon floor can soar to 100° F or more from May through September.

    If doing the hike entirely under your own power isn't in the cards, there are alternatives. You may opt to contact the Havasupai Tribe to book a hike using a pack mule for your gear, or ride a saddle horse and use a pack mule for your gear. Pack mules may be hired on the spot at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead; they can carry up to 4 backpacks totaling 130 lbs., so multiple visitors can easily split the cost.

    Reservations to ride in on a saddled horse must be made in advance. Riders must have some horseback riding experience, be dressed appropriately in long pants and sleeves, a hat and sunscreen, be under 250 lbs. and at least 4' 7" tall. Children ages 5 and under may ride with an adult.

    There is no day hiking permitted in the canyon. Any visitor must have a reservation and entrance fees are now paid in advance. The cost is $50 per person with a 10% tax, as well as a $10 environmental care fee. These fees can be through the tribal tourism office (928) 448-2121. Keep your receipt with you as you make your way down Havasu Canyon, there are checkpoints to verify all visitors have paid.

    Other visitors may prefer to utilize the daily first come, first served helicopter shuttle to either fly in their gear to the Village and hike the first 8 miles unencumbered, or fly in and out themselves. These fly-in options range from $20 to $85 and still require a person be able to hike the final two miles from the Village to the campground. Furthermore, because reservations are not needed nor taken, and priority is given to tribal members first, then tribal business vendors, and finally visitors/tourists, one can end up waiting quite a while for a flight, especially on busy days.

    • Helicopter Service: $85 per person each way

    When you reach the Supai village, cool off with some lemonade or ice cream from the Trading Post or General Store, or pick up some last minute items from the necessary but limited grocery supplies. If camping isn't your thing, make a reservation to stay overnight in the 24-room Havasupai Lodge. Rooms are $145 per night for up to 4 people and require a $40 deposit.

    The per person entrance fee required of all visitors is $35 and must be paid at the Tourism Office upon arrival. Visitors are also required to pay a once-per-visit Environmental Fee of $5. Camping fees are $17 per person per night. Therefore, a two-night stay for one person would be $57 for the first night, $17 for the second, subtotaling $74 plus 10% tax, or $81.40.

    While these tourism fees are vital to the Havasupai tribal economy, the Village is not a tourist attraction. Expect to witness daily life in the Village; you'll see children, residents and often stray dogs going about their day regardless of the presence of tourists.

    If You Come

    Start Early

    The night before, your best options are to stay overnight in your car in the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot, or if safety and comfort are your concerns, choose a hotel in Peach Springs (1 hour away) or Kingman (3.5 hours away). Especially in the summer months, many hikers begin their descent from the trailhead at 3 or 4:00 in the morning. Of particular importance when hiking in the pre-dawn dark, be sure to wear a headlamp and always hike with a trekking pole.

    Drive Yourself

    Backpackers must drive themselves to Hualapai Hilltop, where the trailhead is located. Start on I-40 near the town of Seligman, the classic Route 66 town on which the setting for Walt Disney's movie Cars is loosely based, located roughly halfway between Kingman and Williams. From I-40, take exit 121 and turn north (right) on I-40 Business Loop. Turn west (right) on AZ-66 (Route 66) and follow the signs to Peach Springs. Continue to follow AZ-66 East 36.5 miles. Turn left onto Indian Road 18 toward Hualapai Hilltop Hwy 60.4 miles.

    A word of caution: If you do plan to begin your hike in the dark, early morning hours, use extreme caution and vigilance on Indian Road 18, as it is common to encounter cattle, elk, rabbits, deer and other wildlife crossing the road and endangering drivers.

    Be Prepared

    Along with tools and strategies such as headlamps, trekking poles and careful morning driving and hiking, you'll need to be armed with a "toolkit" of other preparations to make the hike to Havasupai a successful one.

    First, be sure to get gas in Kingman, Williams or Seligman; there is no gas available in Peach Springs.

    Second, be honest with yourself about your physical condition. The Havasupai Trail is a strenuous one, and the better physical shape you're in, the more you will enjoy your trip. Therefore, it's wise to start training for your adventure as early as 9 months out in order to give you plenty of time to start slow and gradually work up to your peak physical condition. Starting slowly and increasing your endurance and strength over time will protect your joints, build muscle and strengthen your cardiovascular system; it's also key to minimizing soreness and keeping at your routine so you don't abandon your training program.

    Train three times a week doing your choice of cardio workouts for at a minimum of one hour per day. Walking up and down hills, gradually carrying more and more weight — 35-40 lbs for a Havasupai backpacking trip — is an ideal training exercise for hiking the Grand Canyon, but cycling, running, step-aerobics, stair-climbing and swimming are excellent options. Your endurance will build if you work out at least once a week for an hour straight; other days, your 60-minute workouts can be broken up into morning and evening sessions.

    As with any exercise regimen, check with your doctor first to ensure you're well-suited to your training plan. Be aware that 5,200 ft elevation at the Hualapai Hilltop's thinner air, plus steep, dry and hot conditions — which are present year-round in the Inner Canyon — will exacerbate asthma and any heart, joint or muscle conditions, so use caution and be sure to train and hike within your ability level. Finally, shop for and get fitted for a pair of sturdy hiking boots and a pair of trekking poles now and use them for your training; they must be well broken-in by the time you execute your Grand Canyon hike.

     

    1. Grand Canyon By One Day Tours

    At One Day Tours, you will enjoy a luxurious riding experience. Our state of the art Mercedes Sp

    ...
    More

    4262 Blue Diamond Rd #102
    Las Vegas, NV 89139
    89139
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    2. Advantage Grand Canyon

    As a central reservation service for all 16 Grand Canyon Rafting Outfitters, we can help you find yo
    ...
    More

    7707 East Acoma Drive
    Scottsdale, AZ 85260
    (888) 244-2224
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    3. Maverick Helicopter Tours

    Maverick Helicopters provides helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon. Maverick brings VIP and first-
    ...
    More

    6075 South Las Vegas Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV 89119
    888-261-4414
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    4. Great West Adventure Tours

    The Sedona and Grand Canyon Specialists! Enjoy the scenic views of Sedona on our Sedona tours and le
    ...
    More

    Sedona
    AZ
    8773672383
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    5. Grand Canyon Expeditions

    The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than from its hea
    ...
    More

    Kanab
    UT
    8005442691
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    6. Grand Canyon Railway

    Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour o
    ...
    More

    233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard
    Kaibab National Forest, Williams, AZ 86046
    3038438724
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    7. Wildland Trekking

    Join The Wildland Trekking Co. on an epic journey to the Grand Canyon! Services include 1 to 8 day
    ...
    More

    4025 East Huntington Drive
    Flagstaff, AZ 86004
    8007154453
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    8. Pink Jeep Tours Explore The West Rim

    Enjoy first-class comfort with a passionate tour guide to the Grand Canyon’s stunning West Rim. Tr
    ...
    More

    3629 W Hacienda Ave
    Las Vegas, NV 89118
    (888) 900-4480
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    9. Grand Canyon Airlines

    Don\'t just view the Canyon from the rim when you can fly the Grand Canyon with a legend! Since 1927
    ...
    More

    Grand Canyon National Park Airport
    GCN (GCN), Kaibab National Forest, 871 Liberator Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
    9286382463
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    10. Red Feather Lodge

    Ideally situated in the center of Tusayan, a small town one mile from the south entrance to the Gran
    ...
    More

    Route 64
    Tusayan, AZ 86023
    9286382414
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    11. Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas

    Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand
    ...
    More

    2730 Airport Drive
    North Las Vegas, NV 89032
    8005665868
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    12. Papillon Helicopters

    Tour Grand Canyon with the \"World\'s Largest and Most Experienced Helicopter Sightseeing Company!\"
    ...
    More

    1265 Airport Road
    Boulder City, NV 89005
    8005282418
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    13. Browse, Compare & Reserve West Rim Helicopter, Drive & Rafting Tours

    Got just one day to see the Grand Canyon West Rim? Book one of our West Rim Tours from Las Vegas an
    ...
    More

    8525 Edna Avenue
    Las Vegas, NV 89117
    7027495664
    Website     Photos     Book Now    

    GRAND CANYON'S NEAREST AIRPORTS

    Most visitors fly into Phoenix or Las Vegas and drive to the Grand Canyon. Learn how: See All Nearby Grand Canyon Airports »

    PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

    Drive yourself or take a shuttle? Learn the transportation options for each Grand Canyon rim. See All Grand Canyon Transportation »

    LAS VEGAS HOTELS

    Roll the dice on a grand vacation, and add Las Vegas to your Grand Canyon trip itinerary. See All Las Vegas Hotels »

    WEST RIM SKYWALK TOURS

    Venture out to Grand Canyon West by helicopter, airplane or bus; take a walk on the glass Grand Canyon Skywalk. See All West Rim Tours »