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Beaver Falls in Arizona: The Most Beautiful Waterfall in Havasupai

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The Havasu Falls trail is one of the most bucketlist-worthy hikes in the United States, taking you down into the Grand Canyon to the base of a 100 foot turquoise waterfall. While Havasu Falls is the most famous waterfall along the trail, there are several other ones, including Beaver Falls, a series of tiered turquoise waterfalls and pools that are arguably even more stunning. Here’s everything you need to know about hiking to Beaver Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Arizona. 

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Woman walking through Beaver Falls in Havasupai, Arizona
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Table of Contents

Before we dive into how to get to Beaver Falls in Arizona, it’s worth noting that this isn’t exactly a hike that you just wake up and decide to do one day. 

To reach Beaver Falls, you’ll need to hike the Havasu Falls Trail in the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona, which requires a competitive (and pricey!) permit. 

This trail is typically hiked as part of a four day backpacking adventure and is located in one of the most remote locations in Arizona. So you’ll definitely need to plan ahead for this one—the fact that you’re reading this article is definitely a great sign!

Couple sitting in a tent along Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls Campground in Havasupai, Arizona

About the hike to Beaver Falls

Length

From the Hilltop Trailhead at the rim of the Grand Canyon to Beaver Falls, it’s a 24.4 mile roundtrip hike along the Havasu Falls trail

However, most visitors hike the Havasu Falls hike as a multi-day backpacking trip, typically stopping at the trail’s campground first to set up camp and then continuing on to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and even beyond on the second or third day of their adventure. From the Havasu Falls Campground, it’s about a 6 mile round trip hike to Beaver Falls. 

Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail, Arizona

Alternatively, some visitors get a permit to stay in the Havasupai Lodge, located in the teeny town of Supai on the floor of the Grand Canyon, along the Havasu Falls Trail. From the lodge, it’s about a 9.6 mile round trip hike to Beaver Falls. 

Elevation gain

Starting from the Hilltop Trailhead, you’ll lose about 2,900 feet of elevation to the base of Beaver Falls—and of course, gain that on the return trip. 

Woman with trekking poles looking into the Grand Canyon along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Alternatively, from the Havasu Falls campground, it’s about a 500 foot elevation gain roundtrip. 

Difficulty

Challenging

Whether or not you hike to Beaver Falls directly from the trailhead, you’ll need to hike at least 12.2 miles to reach these falls—the majority of which you’ll have heavy backpack strapped to you. 

Man with a backpack hiking through the Grand Canyon along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Even if you break up your hike and head to Beaver Falls on your second or third day of your hike, the trail to Beaver Falls is technically challenging, including scaling down a steep, slippery cliffside near Mooney Falls with chains, ropes, and ladders and climbing some additional ladders and footholds to Beaver Falls. 

Do you need a pass or permit?

As mentioned above, yes, you are required to get a permit to hike the Havasu Falls hike in order to reach Beaver Falls. 

Lucky for you, we wrote an entire article with everything you need to know about getting a permit for the Havasupai Falls hike

Trail map

Couple holding hands in front of Havasu Falls along the Havasuapi Trail in Arizona

How to get to the trailhead of Beaver Falls

The Hilltop Trailhead, for both Havasu and Beaver Falls, is located here, along the southwestern rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. 

The trail is quite remote—the closest teeny towns to the trailhead are Peach Springs, Arizona, about an hour and 15 minutes southwest or Seligman, about an hour and 35 minutes southeast. 

View of mesas in the Grand Canyon along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

If you don’t happen to live within driving distance to the trailhead, most travelers either fly into Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport, about three hours and 45 minutes west of the trailhead, or Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, about four hours and 15 minutes south of the trailhead. From here, you’ll need to get a rental car to drive the rest of the way to the trailhead. 

It’s worth noting that you’ll need to stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn either the day before or the day of your hike before 12 PM to pick up your permit and other paperwork. Be sure to check when you can pick up a permit at the Havasupai Reservations website, as the office hours may vary month to month.

Classic cars in front of the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn in Seligman, Arizona

Most visitors (including my husband, Justin, and me when we hiked Havasupai!) head here the day before and stay overnight at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn so that they can get a bright and early start to their hike. 

What to expect along the Beaver Falls Trail

Hilltop Trailhead to Havasu Falls campground 

Miles: 0-9.5

Hikers start at the Hilltop Trailhead and hike about 9.5 miles down into the Grand Canyon, past the town of Supai and Havasu Falls, to reach the Havasu Falls Campground. If you want to hear more details about this first portion of the trail, be sure to check out our post all about the Havasu Falls hike.

Woman hiking through the Grand Canyon with mules running towards her along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

The campground stretches for about a mile along Havasu Creek, from the northern portion of Havasu Falls all the way to the rim of Mooney Falls. There’s no defined campsites in the campground—you’re welcome to set up your tent or hammock anywhere on the sandy portion of the ground. 

I’d recommend trying to get to the campground as early as possible on your first day, so that you have a decent chance of scoring a decent campsite. We arrived at the campground around 11:30 AM and we REALLY had to hunt around to find a decent campsite that wasn’t on top of other campers. 

Couple sitting along Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls Campground along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Mooney Falls

Mile: 11

Most hikers continue along the trail to Beaver Falls on the second or third day of their adventure to break up the hike a bit and to get a bright and early start for the climb down Mooney Falls.

We went on our second day of our backpacking trip and would highly recommend doing the same—this itinerary allowed us to mostly relax and explore the upper waterfalls in Havasupai, like Navajo, Fifty Foot, and Hidden Falls, on our third day, which was the perfect ending to our trip. 

We wrote a whole article about what to expect on the climb down Mooney Falls. In a nutshell, though, whenever you’re ready to start your hike to Beaver Falls, you’ll follow the flat path that winds through the campground past the trailhead sign for Mooney Falls, towards the left hand side of its rim. 

Trailhead by Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

The first portion of the descent down Mooney Falls is doable for any hiker. You’ll follow a pathway worn into the cliffside for a couple hundred feet. 

To your right, there will be a few stairs, carved into the rocks, which leads to an incredible viewpoint over the 200 foot waterfall. If you’re not a fan of heights or don’t feel comfortable descending down the rest of Mooney Falls, this is a great alternative to still get a good look at the tallest waterfall in Havasupai. 

Otherwise, you’ll continue down the trail for another couple hundred feet, eventually passing a rather unsettling “Descend at your own risk” sign. 

Descend at your own risk sign by Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

After this, you’ll need to climb down through two caves.

From its opening, the first one looks a bit sketchy and dark. However, there’s thankfully large stairs that are carved into its floor that make it easy to climb through, as long as you go slowly and carefully. 

There are a few “windows” carved into this tunnel that let in light, but I’d still suggest packing a headlamp, in case you need to get through the cave in the early morning or later in the evening. 

Cave-like tunnel through a cliffside to Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

After you make your way through the first cave, you’ll be greeted with a spectacular view, with the turquoise curtain of Mooney Falls being perfectly framed by the unique travertine formations that cling to the surrounding cliff sides.

Once you’re done taking in the view, you’ll continue on through the second, much shorter cave-like tunnel and finally reach the most challenging part of the hike. 

Man looking at Mooney Falls from an overlook along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

From here, you’ll need to descend the rest of the way down the incredibly steep cliffside, using chains, ropes, footholds, and ladders—all while being pelted by the cold mist of Mooney Falls.

The first part of the descent actually isn’t so bad—there’s a series of shallow stairs, cut into the cliffside, that are large enough that you can face Mooney Falls and easily see where to put your feet as you climb down. 

After about 15 or so feet, however, the climb gets a LOT steeper and you’ll need to face the cliffside. It’s pretty challenging, especially for shorter hikers, to see or feel where to put your feet in this section, so you wind up dangling for a portion of the climb almost entirely from the muddy chains and slippery ropes that are affixed to the cliffside. 

Man climbing down chains on a cliffside with Mooney Falls in the background along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

I’m REALLY terrified of heights and was really nervous about this section—and it was about as scary as I expected! 

However, if you maintain three points of contact at all times and go super slowly and carefully, you should be just fine. In fact, there’s plenty of hikers who don’t find this climb scary at all! 

That being said, if you’re, like, DEATHLY afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one and just enjoy the view of Mooney Falls from the first overlook.

Hikers climbing down a cliffside and ladders near Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

If you are up for the challenge, I’d suggest bringing along a pair of grippy gardening gloves, which helps provide traction on the slippery ropes and chains. There’s an ENORMOUS pile of gloves left behind by other hikers on either end of Mooney Falls that you can use, but I’m honestly so glad we brought our own so we didn’t need to dig through a pile of cold, muddy gloves before starting our nerve-wracking descent. 

At the bottom of the climb, you can either enjoy the pool at the base of Mooney Falls now or hit it on your way back up. Either way, if you cross Havasu Creek, there’s a small rocky beach area that you can enjoy the falls from.

Couple holding hands in front of Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Just get ready to get WET—the cold mist from the falls can get pretty intense, so hanging out and swimming by Mooney Falls may only really feel nice when it’s really hot out. 

Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls

Miles: 11-14

Continuing on the trail, you’ll hike into a field of lush greenery between the canyon walls. 

You’ll notice there’s a TON of social trails here. I’d highly recommend downloading an offline map from AllTrails, because, frankly, this portion of the hike can be a bit confusing, given how many boot trails and water crossings there are. 

Man walking along a pathway through the Grand Canyon along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

You’ll quickly reach the first of several crossings of Havasu Creek. The water level depends on where you walk in the creek, as well as the recent rainfall. When we did it, it went riiiiiight up to the bottom of our backpacks—so if you have any expensive electronics (like cameras) that you don’t want to get wet, I’d suggest bringing along a drybag to keep them in, just in case. 

We wore our hiking boots (these are the kind Justin wears and these are mine) while descending Mooney Falls to give us some extra traction against the wet and slippery rock. For the rest of the hike to Beaver Falls, though, we wore our Teva hiking sandals (his and hers), which are more than capable for handling this kind of terrain and PERFECT for all of the water crossings. 

Man walking through Havasu Creek on the way to Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

There’s a few ladders you’ll need to climb along the way to Beaver Falls—the first of which are small wooden ladders.

However, about 1.6 miles past Mooney Falls, you’ll pass an enormous palm tree to your left. Right after this, you’ll find a wooden ladder, laying horizontally over Havasu Creek, that you’ll need to walk over like a bridge, followed by an aluminum household ladder that’s leaning against a cliffside. From here, there’s a small series of ladders and logs with footholds in them that you’ll need to climb up. 

Parts of this felt a bit sketchy to me (most of these ladders were not attached to the cliff sides they’re leaning against, so be careful!), but if you made it down Mooney Falls, making it up these ladders should be a piece of cake! 

Man climbing down a household ladder leaned against a cliffside near Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Shortly after that, there will be a wooden sign for Beaver Falls on the left hand side of the trail, where you’ll get your first view of the waterfall’s tiered turquoise pools. 

To reach the base of Beaver Falls and swim through its waters, you’ll climb down yet another series of wooden and aluminum ladders. Again, if you made it down Mooney Falls, climbing down these should be no problem.

Couple walking on rocks in front of Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

In my opinion, Beaver Falls is the best place to swim in Havasupai, with tons of pools to choose from; shaded areas; and shallow water that tends to be a bit warmer than the other Havasupai waterfalls. So be sure to budget plenty of time to relax and enjoy this oasis! 

Beaver Falls to the Confluence

Miles: 14-20

If you’re up for even more of a challenge, you can hike an additional 12 miles roundtrip from Beaver Falls to the Confluence, where the turquoise water of Havasu Creek meets the muddy brown waters of the Colorado River. 

To be honest, it’s not totally clear how long the hike from Beaver Falls to the Confluence is (some believe it’s an extra 16 miles roundtrip!), given that the high walls of the Grand Canyon can really mess up GPS signals. In fact, it messes with GPS SO much that the mileage listed on AllTrails for this portion of the hike is wildly inaccurate. It actually underestimates how long the hike to the Confluence is by at least six miles! 

Woman walking through turquoise pool in Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

We were originally planning on hiking to the Confluence, but we unfortunately relied on AllTrails’ mileage when we calculated what time to leave our campsite in the morning Accordingly, we arrived at Beaver Falls, right at 10:30 AM—just in time to read a sign warning hikers to not start hiking to the Confluence anytime after 10:30 to ensure they have sufficient daylight to make it safely back.

Given the time, we decided to stay on the safe side and not continue on to the Confluence—we were definitely disappointed to not be able to experience everything Havasupai has to offer.

However, if you avoid my #travelbloggerfail and budget an appropriate amount of time to hike to the Confluence and back again, it seriously looks like an AMAZING adventure, with slot canyons, beautiful swimming holes, and lots of bighorn sheep! 

Bighorn sheep near Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

What to pack for Beaver Falls

  • Hiking boots (his or hers)
  • Hiking sandals (his or hers)
  • Gloves: For extra traction for the climb down Mooney Falls
  • Swimsuit
  • Backpacking towel
  • Offline trail map on AllTrails
  • Satellite communicator: It’s unfortunately not unheard of for people to get lost in the canyon, especially if they’re hiking to the Confluence, given the number of social trails, confusing water crossings, and wonky GPS signals. I’d highly recommend having a way to call for help, in case of an emergency.
Woman walking through turquoise pool in Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp
  • Drybag: To keep your electronics and other valuables dry in your backpack
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Water filter: There’s no clean drinking water along this portion of the trail, so I’d recommend bringing along a filter, in case you need to drink out of Havasu Creek. 
  • Food and snacks
Man filter water through Sawyer Squeeze along the Havasu Creek along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Tips for hiking to Beaver Falls

Okay, truth be told, the majority of these tips are related to Mooney Falls, instead of Beaver—but you can’t reach the latter without climbing down the former!

Start early

Whether you want to hike past Beaver Falls to the Confluence or not, I’d suggest getting an early start. The biggest benefit to this is that the climb down Mooney Falls will be a lot less crowded the earlier you go, so you won’t feel unnecessarily rushed as you’re making your climb down.

Man climbing down a cliffside using chains with Mooney Falls in the background along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

My biggest regret about our hike to Beaver Falls (other than messing up the mileage to the Confluence *facepalm*) was climbing back up Mooney Falls in the mid-afternoon, when it was super busy. 

There was a HUGE line of hikers behind us as we climbed up, which made me feel like I needed to rush. Needless to say, this made me even more nervous and made the ascent, which should have been technically much easier, almost more scary than the descent. 

People swimming through the top pool of Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Additionally, lots of hikers tend to spend hours and hours hanging out at Beaver Falls, so it can get pretty crowded, especially in the afternoon. If you get there on the earlier side, you’ll be able to enjoy the pools all to yourself!

Have the taller person go first down Mooney Falls

For most of the climb down Mooney Falls, it’s difficult to see—and depending on how tall you are, even feel—where to put your feet. If you’re hiking with more than one person, it’s helpful to have the taller person go first so they can scope out where to put your feet and help guide the shorter person on the trickier sections. 

Woman with a backpack looking at Mooney Falls from a nearby cliffside along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Treat Mooney Falls like a one-way climb

Before you start climbing up or down Mooney Falls, make sure there aren’t hikers coming the opposite way. If there are, wait until they’ve finished before starting your climb.

Woman climbing down a ladder with hikers climbing down a cliff above her near Mooney Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

As we were starting our climb up Mooney Falls, two hikers decided it was a good idea to start their climb down. Accordingly, all of the hikers that were climbing along the cliffside had to figure out not only how to safely ascend, but also needed to worry about navigating around hikers coming the opposite direction, making it unnecessarily dangerous for everyone involved. 

Know when to find the light

Whether you’re into photography or just want to swim through the water while there’s some sunshine, it’s important to note that, because of the canyon walls, most of the Havasupai waterfalls, including Beaver Falls, gets sunlight for pretty limited hours—usually between 10 AM to 2 PM. 

Woman sitting on the edge of a pool in Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

Outside of these hours, it may feel pretty cold to swim through the chilly water (unless you’re visiting during the sweltering summer) and your photos may have funky lighting. 

When to hike to Beaver Falls

You can hike to Beaver Falls whenever you can get a permit to the Havasu Falls hike, which is open from February 1 through November 30.

If you want to thread the needle between having warm enough weather to enjoy the cool water, without it being too swelteringly hot out, I’d suggest coming in April through May or September through October. We came in mid-April and the weather was basically perfect! 

Woman standing in front of Fifty Foot Falls along the Havasupai Trail in Arizona

I’d avoid visiting from June through August. Not only does the temperature regularly exceed 100 degrees during these months, but it’s also monsoon season, which can cause Havasupai’s famed turquoise water to turn muddy brown and, more importantly, dangerous flash flooding. 


Do you have any questions about hiking to Beaver Falls? Let us know in the comments below!

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