If you’ve seen our list of the most beautiful waterfalls in Arizona, then you’ve probably already come across the Havasupai Falls. The Havasupai Indian Reservation is home to the spectacular blue-green waterfalls that attract thousands of visitors each year. It is seriously one of the most amazing places you need to see before you die. If you are planning a trip here before the year ends or maybe in 2021, here are some things you need to know.
Are you planning to hike Havasupai? Make sure to check out our updated guide:
You cannot enter the area without a reservation. You can reserve online (no phone reservations) by logging into the Havasupai Reservations website. Make sure you know all the details because once everything has been finalized and paid for, you cannot create any more changes. The Havasupai Campground is located along Havasu Creek just between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. If you have the reservation, you can just camp wherever you like within the campground. You are also encouraged to take the trip or travel insurance.
Since the Havasupai Campground is currently closed until further notice, make sure to regularly check the website for updates. There are some rescheduling reservations that have been affected by the closure. Havasupai tourism remains suspended to this day and they cannot say when it will resume. The reservations made between March 15, 2020 and August 15, 2020 are eligible to be rescheduled to the 2021 season.
Back in the days, the Havasupai Tribe provided a plastic bucket that served as food storage. However, that move did very little to keep the critters away from your food. Some say it even contributed to the increasing squirrel problems that have befallen Havasupai to the same level as that at Grand Canyon National Park. If you are coming here, make sure you bring a bear canister with you! This will keep the friendly animals from eating and stealing your food. Think of it as your responsibility because it will also help solve the problem of having garbage everywhere. If you have a bear canister, they cannot get your food, and they won’t litter around. This would also reduce their dependency on humans as their food source.
Respect the environment. Respect the rules. Alcohol is not permitted here. If you sneak in a bottle with you, you will be fined or even banned from Havasupai. In the worst-case scenario, you will be charged with a felony and up to 1 year of incarceration. Just check the website. It says, “Possession, distribution, or consumption of alcohol anywhere within the boundaries of the Havasupai Reservation (which also includes the Hilltop Trailhead parking area) is a Tribal and Federal crime, punishable by up to one year of imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. 1154 and 1156.” If you’re here, just be present at the moment. The natural beauty of the place is enough to keep you enchanted. You don’t need a beer!
The hike to Havasupai Falls is not easy. You need to factor in different things such as the trail length (it is 10 miles each way), the weather, and the land permits. Avoid going here during the monsoon season (June to September) because there might be flash floods. On a nice, regular day, the hike will probably take you about 4 to 7 hours each way. Well, it usually takes longer than expected. The trail is rated as moderately difficult because it is dry and hot. During spring and fall, anticipate that there will be less daylight and you will experience colder temperatures. Still, you need to bring at least 2 liters of clean drinking water because you don’t want to be hydrated. Aside from that, there is no public health facility in this area, so if you re not prepared physically and mentally, then you might get injuries. Remember that you are actually hours to days away from help. Make sure you train for this hike, hike smart, follow the rules, and know your limits.
Havasupai actually allows over 300 people to stay at the campground per night. If you think about it, privacy really depends on what your prior camping experiences are. You may be used to camping so you want total solitude, then go ahead and be closer with the wildlife in the area. On the other hand, those who have never camped or backpacked before might be okay with the idea of camping on a campground along a creek in a narrow canyon with other guests. Manage your expectations, but be safe.
You also shouldn’t just camp on the first spot you find. There are a lot of beautiful or even more peaceful spots if you continue farther downstream.
Some hikers want to access Havasupai through a helicopter. However, you should know that a helicopter ride is not guaranteed. The Airwest aircraft that comes here only flies on selected days from March 15 – October 15 (Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday). While the flights are first-come-first-serve, the tribal members get the priority, so you could be on the earliest flight, but not get a ride out until late in the afternoon. Guess you should just train for the hike!
We understand that you really want to see Havasupai Falls. It’s the star of the place. But don’t close your mind to the lesser-visited waterfalls. If you appreciate total solitude, then 50 Foot and Little Navajo Falls might also be a good spot for you. Don’t underestimate these waterfalls. You won’t be able to leave right away once you see it! Once you are done admiring the waterfalls, you might want to do a side trip to the Colorado River. From the campground, you will need to conquer an approximately 15-mile round trip hike. Do not do this if you haven’t done your research.
Leave only footprints
This is the basic rule you must follow wherever you’re out hiking (or just about anywhere). Do not leave trash, pool floats, random items, or gear along the trail or in the campground. Respect the environment. Carry out everything you brought with you, no exceptions.
If you liked this article, make sure you read this easy, one-mile trail that leads to Arizona’s famous Chocolate Waterfalls.
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