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Havasu Falls Hike: Everything You Need to Know

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You’ve surely seen Havasu Falls in Arizona a bazillion times all over your social media—a vibrant turquoise waterfall spilling a hundred feet over the red rock cliffs of the Grand Canyon. However, you do have to work a bit to see this stunning waterfall. Havasu Falls and the equally beautiful turquoise waterfalls around it are only accessible via a 20 mile (or more!) backpacking trip that requires a competitive and EXPENSIVE permit. 

So if you’re wondering whether the Havasu Falls hike is worth it, my husband, Justin, and I have done the hard parts of snagging the permit and making the trek—so here’s everything you need to know about the trail, including how to get a permit, what to expect along the trail, and what to pack to make the most of your trip. 

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View of turquoise plunge pool at the base of Havasu Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona
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Table of contents

About the Havasu Falls Hike

Length

The hike to Havasu Falls from the trailhead and back is 18.6 miles roundtrip. 

However, almost all visitors do the Havasu Falls hike as a backpacking trip, so if you tack on the additional mileage to the Havasupai campground, the trail is about 20 miles long. 

Couple sitting in a tent in front of Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

It’s also worth mentioning that most hikers choose to hike past the campground to some of the other waterfalls in the Havasu Canyon, like Mooney or Beaver Falls, or even to the Confluence, where the turquoise waters of Havasu Creek meet the muddy waters of the Colorado River. These parts of the trail can add anywhere from two to 16 miles round trip.

Elevation gain

If you just plan on hiking from the trailhead to the Havasu Falls campground and back again, there’s about 2500 feet of elevation gain on the return hike.

Woman hiking up switchbacks along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Depending on where you hike past the campground, it can add up to an additional 1,000 feet of elevation gain onto the hike.

Difficulty

Challenging. 

Difficulty is obviously subjective, but I personally think that the Havasu Falls hike is not TOO hard for most people that have been backpacking before. 

Given the length of the hike, its elevation gain is not too intense, and other than the sketchy descent down Mooney Falls (more on that later!), there’s nothing that’s too technically challenging about the hike. 

Man climbing down chains along a wet cliffside in front of Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

However, you’ll still be carrying a heavy backpack for about 20 miles, oftentimes in very hot temperatures, so, of course, that’s going to be relatively challenging for most people. 

Dog friendly?

No, dogs are not allowed along the Havasu Falls hike. 

Does it require a pass or permit?

Yes, you’ll need a permit to hike on this trail, which we talk about further below in the How to get a Havasu Falls hike permit section.

Trail map

Couple walking across rocks at Beaver Falls along the Havasupai Falls trail in Havasupai, Arizona

Is it Havasupai Falls?

Before we hiked this trail, I was pretty confused by all the different names—is it Havasupai, Supai, Havasu… or something else? So here’s the deal. 

The Havasupai people (which translates to “people of the blue-green water”) are an Indigenous tribe that have lived within the Grand Canyon for at least 800 years and now reside on the Havasupai Reservation, which stretches for 188,077 acres on the southwestern part of the canyon.

Man walking down the Grand Canyon to the Confluence of the Colorado River along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

The main town on the reservation is named Supai, located on the floor of the Grand Canyon. It’s a rather unique town—given that it’s only accessible via an eight mile hiking trail or helicopter, it’s believed to be the most remote town in the United States and is the only town in the country that still receives its mail by mule. The Havasu Falls hike actually passes through the town, which offers a general store, a restaurant, and a lodge that permit holders can stay at. 

The most famous turquoise waterfall on the reservation is called Havasu Falls—although there’s at least five other named waterfalls that many hikers typically visit as part of this hike. I have occasionally heard these collectively referred to as the Havasupai Falls—i.e., waterfalls owned by the Havasupai tribe—but there isn’t any one waterfall with that name.

Couple holding hands in the plunge pool in front of Havasu Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

How to get a Havasu Falls hike permit

We wrote a whole post outlining everything you need to know about scoring a permit to the Havasu Falls hike, but, in a nutshell, anyone who wants to see these beautiful waterfalls for themselves must have a permit either to camp in the Havasu Falls campground from February 1 until November 30 or, alternatively, to stay at the Havasupai Lodge in Supai from April 1 through November 30.

Both of these options are exclusively sold as a three night, four day permit—so regardless of whether you’re interested in only staying two nights or would prefer to stay a whole week, your only option will be to purchase a permit for three nights and four days. 

View of a couple sitting in backpacking chairs in front of Havasu Creek along the Havasu Falls trail in Havasupai, Arizona

You are, of course, free to stay a shorter period of time than what your permit allows. However, you’ll still have to pay the full rate. You are not allowed to stay longer than the allotted three nights.

Permits go on sale every year on February 1 at 8 AM Arizona time on the Havasu Falls Campground Reservation and the Havasupai Lodge Reservation page, respectively. One person can buy permits for up to 12 people for the campground at a time and then will be considered the Trip Leader (more on that below!). 

Screenshot of the Havasupai Reservation system website

Prior to purchasing a permit, you’re required to set up an online profile with information, like your name, address, and credit card information. I’d recommend setting this up before the permits go on sale—they usually sell out for desirable periods, like in the spring or the fall, within minutes. So being at your computer as soon as they go on sale and having your information ready to go makes it that much more likely you’ll be able to snag a permit.

Just be ready for some shenanigans—the site usually crashes when the permits are released, due to the sheer volume of people trying to access the site at one time. If you’re patient, though, the site will eventually work—and hopefully, your preferred dates will still be available!

If you’re not lucky enough to snag a permit on your desired date or have a bit more flexibility, getting a permit from the transfer list on the Havasupai Reservation System can be a great option. People who can no longer use their permits can list their permits on the transfer list and it’s a really easy way to grab a reservation if you’re not too particular about what dates you want. 

Screenshot of Campground Cancellation and Transfer List on the Havasupai Campground Reservation system

How much does a Havasu Falls permit cost? 

Buckle up, friends—a three night campground permit is $455 per person, while the three night lodge permit is $2,277 per room (which sleeps up to four people).

The Havasu Falls hike is DEFINITELY not cheap—this figure obviously doesn’t include the cost of transportation to get to the trailhead, lodging costs before and after the hike, and any gear you might need. 

Couple laying in their tent in front of Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

Before going, I seriously questioned whether a three night backpacking trip was worth spending, at a minimum, $1000 between Justin and me. After lots of hemming and hawing, though, I decided that I’d regret it if I didn’t do it before the price got any higher. While the permits may seem steep now, they actually keep going up in price every year—so if you’re budget conscious like us and have the Havasu Falls hike on your bucket list, I’d suggest doing it sooner versus later!

Havasu Falls Permit Presale Lottery System 

Because of how competitive getting a permit is, the Havasupai Tribe recently introduced a presale lottery system, which gives people a better chance of scoring a permit than when the general reservation window opens. 

From early through mid-January, you can log on to the Havasupai Reservation System and, subject to a $15 nonrefundable per permit fee, apply for your top three preferred dates through the presale lottery. 

Woman walking in a pool in front of Navajo Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

If you win the lottery, the Havasupai tribe will notify you with the dates of your permit at the end of January, when the entire reservation fee will be processed.

This is exactly how Justin and I got permits—and we actually got our first choice of dates, during the highly sought after month of April!

To be honest, it’s not clear how the presale lottery system works behind the scenes. For example, the Havasupai tribe hasn’t shared a specific quota of permits that’s reserved for the presale system. From anecdotal evidence from the various Havasupai Facebook groups I’m in, though, it seems that most people that applied through the lottery system got one of their preferred dates, unless they were applying for an incredibly popular period, like Memorial or Labor Day.

Couple sitting in backpacking chairs and drinking coffees along Havasu Creek in Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

That’s not to say the presale system wasn’t without its flaws, though—I read several reports of people getting permits for dates they didn’t request at all or even fewer permits than requested. 

I’m not sure they’re going to do the presale system again next year, due to these issues, but I personally think it was worth the $15 per person fee to have my permits ready to go before February 1. 

How to get to the Havasu Falls hike

The Havasu Falls hike departs from the Hilltop trailhead, located here in northern Arizona, on the rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Woman hiking down the switchbacks at the beginning of the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

The trailhead is pretty remote—other than the town of Supai within the canyon itself, the closest towns with any kind of civilization are Peach Springs, about an hour and a half away southwest, or Seligman, an hour and forty minutes southeast. 

Otherwise, Phoenix is about four and a half hours south or Las Vegas is three hours and 45 minutes east of the trailhead. So if you’re flying in, I’d suggest flying into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport or Las Vegas’s Harry Reid International Airport and renting a car to get the rest of the way to the trailhead.

Road winding between two canyons in Arizona
Tip: The closest gas stations are in Peach Springs, either 70 miles southwest, or in Seligman,  over 90 miles southeast—so be sure to have plenty of fuel in the tank before you head to the trailhead.

Check-in process for Havasu Falls hike

It’s important to note that, before going to the trailhead, you’ll need to stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn in Seligman, Arizona and pick up a copy of your permit, a tent tag, and a wristband for each member of your party. 

The permit can be picked up anytime the day before your hike or, alternatively, before 12 PM the day of your hike. If you don’t pick it up by then, your reservation will be canceled.

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

The permit office hours are typically 8 AM to 5 PM, but can vary from month to month. Accordingly, I’d suggest double checking the hours on the Havasupai Reservations website before heading there.

To pick up a permit, the Trip Leader must be present and show:

  • A print-out of their camping or lodge reservation, which will need to go in the windshield of their car while parked at the trailhead
  • A valid photo ID

No one other than the Trip Leader is able to pick up the necessary paperwork. 

Front of the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn in Seligman, Arizona

Given that the Inn is located about an hour and a half from the trailhead, the limited hours the permit office is open, and how hot the trail can often be during midday, we’d STRONGLY recommend picking up your permit the day before your hike and spending the night at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. If you’d prefer something slightly less run down, the Hualapai Lodge is right down the road as well. 

Given that camping is not permitted at the trailhead and there are no other lodging options closer to the trailhead, this gives you an opportunity to get a bright and early start (depending on how hot it will be, like, 2 AM early!) to the trailhead. 

This is exactly what we did and we are SO glad that all we needed to worry about on the day of was just driving to the trailhead and starting our hike. Just be forewarned—none of these hotels are exactly luxurious, but they serve their purpose as a place to rest up before your big hike just fine!

Couple camping in the back of a Toyota Highlander Hybrid at the campground for Grand Canyon Caverns Inn at Seligman, Arizona

All of the paperwork that you pick up at the Grand Caverns Canyon Inn should come with you on the trail. Additionally, every hiker (whether they’re a Trip Leader or not) is required to create an account on the Havasupai Reservations system and print out a proof of their account to show that they’ve agreed to all of the rules and requirements of being on the Havasupai Reservation.

To do this, sign into the reservation system, click on “Account” and then “Profile” on the upper right hand of the screen, and then follow the prompts for the “Proof of Account” screen. 

Screenshot of the Proof of Account section at the Havasupai Campground Reservations website

To be honest, we were never asked to show any paperwork along the trail, but I have heard plenty of anecdotes that rangers can (and do!) check reservations along the trail.

Getting to the Havasu Falls trailhead

Driving from the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn to the trailhead

The hour and a half drive from the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn or any of the surrounding hotels to the trailhead is along a paved and well-maintained road. 

However, most drivers—including us—make the drive to the trailhead in the dark before sunrise and there are ALL sorts of animals, from small ones, like bunnies, to large ones, like free range cattle and elk, that hang around and, sometimes, even on the road. Accordingly, I’d strongly recommend driving slowly and carefully if you’re heading here in the dark!

Calf walking in front of an SUV on a road at sunrise

We personally didn’t experience this, but I’ve read that there is sometimes a security checkpoint five miles before the trailhead. The security guard here will check your paperwork to make sure you’re allowed to start hiking that day (in part, to prevent people from sleeping overnight at the trailhead the night before), as well as even searching your vehicle for items that are prohibited on the Havasupai reservation, like alcohol or drones. 

Accordingly, please double check the prohibited items that are listed on the Havasupai Reservations page to make sure you’re complying with all of the rules and requirements before hitting the trail.

Havasu Falls hike winding down into the Grand Canyon in Havasupai, Arizona
Tip: There’s no cell service around Seligman or Peach Springs, on the drive to the trailhead, or along most of the trail itself, so I’d recommend downloading offline maps on Google Maps ahead of time, so you don’t get lost along the way.

Parking at the Hilltop Trailhead

There’s a few parking lots by the Hilltop Trailhead, with about 75 total “official” spaces. 

Cars parked at the Hilltop Trailhead for the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Given this isn’t enough space for all the hikers, though, most people usually have to park along the road. 

I’d strongly encourage you to park on the opposite side of the road from the canyon wall, given there’s been multiple reports of people that have came back from their backpacking trip to find massive boulders have fallen and smashed their windshields. Additionally, I’ve unfortunately read reports of petty crime (mostly, people stealing gas out of the tanks) from cars at the trailhead, so I’d suggest confirming your gas tank is locked and not leaving any valuables in the vehicle during your trip.

Woman with a backpack overlooking the Grand Canyon at the Hilltop Trailhead for the Havvasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

If you have to park super far away, you are allowed to drop your backpack off at the trailhead first so that you don’t have to carry it the additional distance from your car.

What to expect along the Havasu Falls hike

There’s a LOT going on along the Havasu Falls trail, with five different waterfalls, the most remote town in the United States, and multiple options of where to hike and camp. So, in this section, we’re breaking down EVERYTHING that you can expect along the trail.

We also actually made a whole video about our experience along the Havasu Falls hike for you to follow along!

Havasu Falls Trailhead

Mile: 0

As soon as you reach the trailhead, you’ll get your first spectacular peek at the Grand Canyon below—which you’re about to hike down into! 

Woman hiking down switchbacks for the Havasu Falls hike into the Grand Canyon in Havasupai, Arizona

The only amenity at the trailhead are pit toilets (the last one that you’ll pass until you reach the campground!), so come prepared with all of the snacks, water, and other gear that you need. 

I have read that there are sometimes vendors that show up to sell cold drinks and fry bread in the afternoon, but we didn’t encounter any on our hike in or out—so I wouldn’t count on it! 

Sign at the Hilltop Trailhead for the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai

There are also no water sources from the trailhead until you reach Supai, so definitely bring enough water to make it the eight miles to the village.

Havasu Falls Trailhead to Supai village 

Mile: 0-7.5

As you depart from the trailhead, you’ll immediately start making your way down steep switchbacks, full of steep and slippery rocks. 

View of walls of the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai

The first mile of the trail is definitely the most technically challenging, losing about one thousand feet of elevation on these switchbacks. I’d recommend bringing along trekking poles to provide extra stability and support on this section of the trail. To be honest, I don’t think it was particularly difficult on the way down, but the switchbacks are DEFINITELY a butt-kicker on the way back up.

After the first mile or so, the trail flattens out quite a bit and eventually leads into the canyon itself. From here, you’ll walk along a rocky wash that leads gently downhill for the rest of the way to Supai village.

Cliffs in the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

One of the biggest surprises for me about the Havasu Falls hike is how stunningly beautiful it is, given you really only ever hear about the Havasupai falls! The canyon is absolutely STUNNING, glowing spectacular shades of orange and red and seemingly towering taller and taller with every step. There’s SO much to look at here—interesting rock formations that have been carved from millenia of erosion and surprisingly lush greenery. 

Once you’re about six or so miles into the trail, you’ll exit the wash and pass a sign that indicates you’re entering into the Havasupai Reservation, reiterating some of the rules of visiting, including not taking photos or videos of Supai, its buildings, or the tribal members. The land becomes much more densely forested and greener, and you’ll get your first glimpses of the clear turquoise water of Havasu Creek following along the trail.

Man wearing a backpack and using trekking poles standing in the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Supai 

Mile: 7.5

Eventually, you’ll walk through the tiny town of Supai, where approximately 700 members of the Havasupai tribe live. In full transparency, I had heard the town was rather rundown, but, when we hiked there, I thought it was quite charming, with lots of sprawling farmland and small colorful houses set against the towering red walls of the canyon.

There are a couple of rules of visiting Supai—as mentioned above, you’re not allowed to take photos or videos within the village or of its people and you are asked to wear a mask while you’re in the village. While it doesn’t appear that anyone actively enforces this rule, please be respectful of it, especially if you go inside any of the shops and restaurants here. 

Sign along the Havasu Falls hike, pointing to Supai and to the Hilltop Trailhead in Havasupai, Arizona

Speaking of shops and restaurants, even though Supai is quite remote, you’ll still find a cafe; a general store, with drinks, snacks, and basic toiletries; the lodge; and a fry bread stand that’s usually open during the lunchtime hours. These businesses only take cash, so remember to hit up the ATM before your trip!

Staying at the Havasupai Lodge

If you have permits to stay at the Havasupai Lodge, you can check into your homebase for the next few days while you’re in Supai. 

Man hiking through a lush field in the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

There’s 24 rooms in the lodge, each of which sleeps up to 4 people. 

There are definitely some perks to getting a lodge reservation—each room comes with two cozy queen beds, wifi, electrical outlets, a private bathroom, and air conditioning. Plus there’s a communal microwave and refrigerator that guests are free to use. 

Woman walking through the top tier of a pool at Beaver Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

On the downside, you’re quite a bit farther from all of the waterfalls—for example. an additional two miles one-way down some fairly steep hills to Havasu Falls. So if you’re wanting to hike to the Confluence or even Beaver Falls, staying in the campground will, instead, make for a less hectic hiking itinerary. 

Supai to Havasu Falls

Mile: 7.5 to 9.5

Once you walk past the village, the trail will start heading more steeply downhill. The scenery here gets quite spectacular—Havasu Creek runs along the left hand side of the trail and you’ll get a sneak peek of several beautiful waterfalls, including Navajo Falls, in the canyon below (pssst… we cover how to get to this waterfalls in the Additional Havasupai Falls section below!). 

Man walking across a plywood bridge along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

However, we’d strongly encourage you to make a beeline straight to the campground before stopping at any of the waterfalls. For one, your shoulders and back are probably about ready to be done carrying your heavy pack, but for another, it can be pretty challenging to find a decent campsite (more on that later!).

About nine miles in, you’ll cross over the creek on a questionable-looking plywood bridge and, after a short walk down a hill, you can finally hear the roar of the waterfall you’ve been hiking ten miles for—Havasu Falls! 

Havasu Falls cascading into a plunge pool in Havasupai, Arizona

Shortly thereafter, you’ll reach the top of the cliff that overlooks the namesake falls, with its shockingly turquoise water spilling 100 feet down the rocky red cliffside. If you continue down the hillside, there’s a short pathway that will lead you to the base of the fall’s plunge pool, perfect for stringing up your hammock and swimming in the cool water on a hot day. 

Havasu Falls to the Havasu Falls Campground 

Mile: 9.5 to 11

As you continue past Havasu Falls, you’ll walk down a hill and reach a ranger station and some vault toilets that mark the beginning of the Havasu Falls Campground. 

Couple's legs sticking out of a tent towards Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

The campground stretches on for about a mile from this point alongside Havasu Creek, all the way to the rim of Mooney Falls, with first-come, first-serve campsites on either side of the pathway and even some on small islands in the creek. This is the only area within the reservation where you’re permitted to camp.

There’s actually no formal campsites here, so you’re kind of at the whim of where any of the other 350 campers per night choose to put their tents or hammocks. There’s a variety of different kinds of sites here—some with picnic tables, some that are sheltered by trees, some along the creekside, some right out in the open with no shade.

Bathroom facilities in Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

There’s three additional sets of pit toilets dispersed throughout the campground. We had read that most hikers are tired and simply pick their campsites towards the beginning of the campground, leaving many of the best sites, located between the second and third sets of vault toilets, free for the choosing. 

But when we arrived at 12 PM to the campground, this wasn’t our experience at ALL. Pretty much all of the campsites—good or bad—were already claimed. So if you can, I’d highly recommend getting to the campground on your first day as early as possible so you can snag a spot from the campers that have started their hike out for the day.

Couple drinking coffee while sitting in backpacking chairs along the Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona
Tip: We wound up originally choosing a campsite along the rim of Mooney Falls. Before setting up our tent, a tribal member who was cleaning up the campground told us it was fine to camp there, but, as we were falling asleep that night, we were woken up by a ranger who told us we needed to move for being too close to the edge. 

Trying to find a campsite after ALL of the hikers had arrived in the dark was pretty challenging, so learn from our mistakes—don’t camp on the rim of Mooney Falls!

If you don’t get a campsite you love the first day, not to worry—you can always move the second or third day when other campers hike out in the morning! We wound up finding an awesome campsite along the creek that freed up on our third day that was too beautiful to pass up and moved our tent there.

Fern Spring in Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

Besides the pit toilets and picnic tables, the only other amenity the campground offers is a natural spring, where you can drink the water unfiltered. To be honest, the spring looked a bit sketchy to us, so we used our water filter on it anyway, but we met plenty of campers that drank the water unfiltered and were fine.

Mooney Falls 

Mile: 11

We actually wrote a whole post all about the hike to Mooney Falls, but here is what you need to know in a nuthshell.

Right at the edge of the Havasu Falls campground, you’ll reach the rim of Mooney Falls, a 200-foot cascade down a rocky red cliffside. It’s the tallest of the Havasupai Falls and one of the tallest waterfalls in all of the Grand Canyon. 

Woman looking at Mooney Falls from the Mooney Falls overlook along Havasupai, Arizona

You have to get down to the base of Mooney Falls in order to continue on to Beaver Falls and the Confluence and the only way to do so is along a sketchy trail that takes you through two caves and an EXTREMELY steep and slippery descent down chains, ropes, and ladders.

From the rim, the trail starts off pretty normally, with a trail carved into the rock after decades of hikers making their way down. After passing the Mooney Falls overlook to your right and an unsettling sign that says you’re descending at your own risk, you’ll need to climb through two caves that were blasted into the cliffside for miners.

Stairs leading through the cave to Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

While they look a bit scary, there’s large steps through the caves that make them pretty easy to climb down as long as you go slowly and carefully. And at the end of the first tunnel, you’ll get one of the best views in all of Havasupai—the turquoise waters of Mooney Falls thundering down its cliffside. 

Once you pick your jaw up off the floor comes the really challenging part—scaling your way about 100 feet down the aforementioned series of incredibly steep stairs and footholds, using wet and slippery chains, ropes, and ladders. 

Hikers climbing down the cliffside to Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

To be honest, as someone who is scared of heights, I was TERRIFIED about this part of the hike and not even sure I’d be brave enough to do it. And after successfully completing it, I can confirm that it is indeed pretty scary to climb backwards down a cliff, where you can’t really see where you’re supposed to place your feet and one wrong step could possibly end up in a serious injury (or worse!) to you and others below you.  

If you’re REALLY terrified of heights, this part of this hike honestly might not be for you. And not to worry—you can still hike down to the Mooney Falls overlook to get a killer look at the falls and there’s TONS of things to see and do in Havasupai that don’t require you to make the whole climb down! 

Descend at your own risk sign in front of Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

Otherwise, if you are up for the challenge, most hikers should be totally fine, so long as you go slowly and carefully and maintain three points of contact at all times. However, here are some tips, based on our personal experience:

  • Get a pair of gardening gloves that will help you have traction on the wet and slippery chains. There’s a HUGE pile of gloves left behind by hikers at either end of the Mooney Falls climb that you could use, but to be honest, we’re glad we brought our own so we didn’t need to dig through and use a bunch of cold, wet, and muddy pairs. Pssst… friendly reminder to leave no trace and pack out anything you bring with you.
  • If you’re hiking with more than one person, have the taller person go first. It’s easier for taller people to use their longer legs to find the footholds and they can help guide the shorter person down the climb.
  • Try to go on the earlier or the later side (although do not attempt the climb in the dark) when there’s less people around.

    We made the climb down around 7 AM and had the trail largely to ourselves, which was AWESOME—I didn’t feel rushed at all and could take my time trying to think through where to put my feet next.

    We climbed up around 3:30 PM, with a HUGE line of people behind us and, even though I think the ascent was significantly technically easier, I was more scared than I was going down, because I felt rushed by all the people behind me. 
  • Mooney Falls should always be treated as a one-way climb—i.e., all of the climbers are climbing down or all of them are ascending. Make sure to check whether there’s anyone coming the opposite direction before you start climbing. When we went to climb up Mooney Falls, two hikers decided to descend at the same time and it was frankly extremely dangerous for everyone on the ropes and chains to figure out how to navigate around one another. Don’t be those people and wait your turn! 
Man climbing down cliff by Mooney Falls along the Havasu Falls hike of Havasupai

Once you make it down, celebrate that you survived one of the sketchiest climbs down a waterfall in the United States and remember to bring along your bathing suit and towel so that you can take a dip under the cool mist of the falls, if you’re visiting on a hot day! 

Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls 

Mile: 11-14 

The trail continues at the base of the cliffside that you descended down and heads further into the lush greenery along the floor of the canyon. There’s quite a few social trails here and it’s pretty confusing which is the right one to follow, so I’d strongly recommend downloading a map on AllTrails ahead of time to follow along with.

Woman walking along a waterfall along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

This part of the trail is absolutely beautiful and definitely feels like an adventure, with several crossings of Havasu Creek in waist deep water (definitely bring along some hiking sandals, like our beloved Tevas, for this section—here’s the kind I use and here’s the kind Justin uses), surprisingly lush plant life (including a palm tree!), tons of smaller waterfalls, and wooden and household ladders that are leaning against cliff sides.

To be honest, some of the ladders felt a little sketchy—i.e., they’re not attached to the cliff sides in any way, so if you accidentally lean back on your climb, you might just topple over—but nothing is as frightening or potentially as dangerous as the climb down Mooney Falls. 

Man climbing a ladder by Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

After you climb on to a ridgeline along some of these ladders, you’ll pass a sign for Beaver Falls, with another pathway and series of wooden ladders that will take you down to its pools. 

Beaver Falls 

Mile: 14 

Beaver Falls is a series of waterfalls and pools of turquoise water. In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to swim in Havasupai, given there’s plenty of shade and places to sit, the shallow water feels a bit warmer, and you’re not constantly getting sprayed by cold mist, like at Mooney or Havasu. 

Woman standing in Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hikes in Havasupai, Arizona

If you want Beaver Falls to yourself, though, I’d suggest showing up early—it seems like lots of campers come to hang out here all day, so it can definitely feel a bit crowded, especially in the afternoon. 

Beaver Falls to the Confluence 

Mile: 14-20

Past Beaver Falls, the hike to the Confluence is at least six miles (some say up to eight miles!) one-way. 

Man hiking through water along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

To be honest, it’s hard to get an accurate mileage for any part of the Havasu Falls hike, given that the high canyon walls can REALLY mess up GPS. In fact, GPS is so inaccurate here that the mileage listed on AllTrails for this section of the hike is WILDLY wrong— at least six miles shorter than the trail is in real life. 

In perhaps my biggest travel blogger failure to date, I relied on AllTrails for the total mileage of this hike to the Confluence and for calculating when we needed to leave our campsite in the morning. We unfortunately arrived at Beaver Falls at 10:30 AM— just in time to read a sign posted there that warns hikers not to continue on to the Confluence anytime after 10:30 AM. 

Sign for the Confluence at Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

This is because the hike is so long that, if you start the hike to the Confluence past that time, it can be hard to get back to Mooney Falls before dark. Accordingly, we made the very tough decision to skip the Confluence this time and instead, spend the afternoon splashing around Beaver Falls instead (not a bad Plan B, I suppose!).    

In addition to its length, the hike to the Confluence is definitely challenging, with tons of water crossings (I’ve heard with some areas that can literally be almost chest-high!) and some serious elevation gain. You definitely have to be a relatively fast hiker and conscious of your time along the trail to make it to the Confluence and pop back to Mooney Falls before dark. 

Bighorn sheep in Havasupai, Arizona

Nevertheless, I definitely plan to go back to do the Havasu Falls hike so we can make it all the way to the Confluence—it’s supposed to be a magical part of the trail, with extremely few people on it (only about a dozen or so people per day hike to it), spots where you can swim in the turquoise water between narrow slot canyons, and lots and lots of bighorn sheep. 

Additional Havasupai Falls

Havasu, Mooney, and Beaver are the most famous of the Havasupai falls—perhaps because their water is the most turquoise. 

But there are actually three other waterfalls that are located between Supai village and Havasu Falls that are absolutely worth exploring one day of your trip. 

Woman standing at Fifty Foot Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

To be honest, the trailheads for these falls are not well-signed or well-marked on either the map you’re given by the Havasupai tribe when you check in or on AllTrails. I’ve suggested some tips below to hopefully help you find your way to them!

Fifty Foot Falls 

Mile: 9

The aptly named Fifty Foot Falls, which is, indeed, 50 feet tall, is stunning, with an incredibly wide curtain that tumbles over the cliffside and some of the warmest water for swimming in Havasupai. You can’t see this waterfall from the main trail, though—you’ll need to hike down a spur trail and go on a bit of an adventure to get there. 

Off the main trail leading from Supai, there’s a pit toilet off to the left hand side, located here

You’ll follow this pathway downhill until you see a sign, posted on a rock face that says “Trail”. You’ll turn left here, where the pathway tunnels through an incredibly dense area of greenery that may require some bushwhacking.

Trail sign for Fifty Foot Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

After a short distance and a scramble along some small rocky pools and waterfalls, the path ends at the edge of Havasu Creek—and while you can definitely hear Fifty Foot Falls, there will be tall tule weed blocking your view of actually seeing it. The only actual way to see Fifty Foot Falls is to get into the water, which is chest-high in certain sections, and wade around the plants. 

I definitely thought that Fifty Foot Falls was GORGEOUS, but it’s not the most convenient waterfall to visit. We had our backpack full of expensive camera gear and, given that there’s extremely limited areas to put bags down where they won’t get wet, Justin stayed back at the end of the trail, whereas I got in the water to check out Fifty Foot Falls. Unless you have super trusty dry bag, I’d suggest keeping your non-waterproof valuables elsewhere if you plan on doing this waterfall. 

Fifty Foot Falls in Havaupai, Arizona

Navajo Falls 

Mile: 9

Unlike Fifty Foot Falls, you can actually see Navajo Falls from the main trail. However, I’d strongly recommend hiking down to its pools and swimming there—it might be our favorite waterfall along the whole trail! 

You can get to Navajo Falls along the same trail from the vault toilet that you’d take to get to Fifty Foot Falls. If you see the “Trail” sign that leads to Fifty Foot, stop here and look off to your left, where you should be able to see a trail and a blue “Navajo Falls” sign. Follow this trail down a steep hill and you’ll get to the base of Navajo Falls.

Woman standing at Navajo Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

Navajo Falls is SO beautiful, with a wide curtain, tons of pools to swim in, a lush cliffside that’s dripping with ferns and plantlife, and jaw-dropping views of the surrounding canyons. And despite its incredible beauty, you have a decent chance of getting Navajo Falls all to yourself!

Hidden Falls 

Mile: 9

Hidden Falls is well-named—you won’t find it on Google Maps, AllTrails, or even Havasupai’s own map! I hadn’t even heard of this waterfall before our trip, but we happened to talk to another camper that told us how to get there and that it was his favorite waterfall in Havasupai.

To reach these falls, you’ll look for a rustic pergola-esque structure, located here, a bit further down the hill than Navajo or Fifty Foot from Supai village.

Man standing by a rustic pergola structure along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

You’ll follow this pathway down and it will eventually wind along the canyon wall. Keep hugging the trail on the left side of the canyon and, after a few sketchy water crossings and hiking on extremely narrow ridges, you’ll make it to Hidden Falls. 

This waterfall is extremely popular with cliff jumpers, and given how under-the-radar it is, you have an excellent chance of getting it all to yourself! While it was absolutely beautiful, it definitely wasn’t my favorite of the falls, but I definitely think it’s well worth a visit if you have time during your stay in Havasupai. 

Hidden Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Returning from the Havasu Falls Campground to the Hilltop Trailhead

On your fourth day, you’ll sadly need to pack up your campsite and retrace your steps back to the trailhead. 

If you’re hiking during a hot part of the year, we’d highly recommend doing this early to beat the sun and heat of midday. There’s limited shade along most of the trail and the most challenging part, the famed switchbacks, ascend about 1,000 feet in the very last mile. 

We backpacked the Havasu Falls hike in mid-April, when the daily high was *only* in the mid-80s, so we woke up around 4 AM and started our hike out around 5. If you’re visiting during the summertime, though, I’ve read that some people start hiking out as early as 2 or even 1 AM. It’s worth noting that the section of the trail between Supai and the Hilltop Trailhead is technically closed from sunset until 5 AM each morning, but I haven’t heard of anyone ever getting in trouble for starting the hike too early to avoid the heat.  

Man hiking across a bridge along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

On the bright side, the trail is pretty easy up until the last mile, with a gentle climb throughout most of the miles. I’m not going to lie—the last mile up the switchbacks definitely sucked, but bring along some trekking poles and plenty of water to keep you hydrated and you’ll be fine! 

Alternative methods of getting to Havasu Falls

Taking a helicopter in and out

If you’re not up to making the 20 mile round trip hike, you can consider taking the helicopter from the Hilltop trailhead to the helipad in Supai village, which shaves off about 8 miles each way if you’re hiking to the campground or basically eliminates the need to hike with your pack if you’re staying in the lodge. 

Helicopter flying in the Grand Canyon in Havasupai, Arizona

The helicopter costs $100 in cash each way, plus $50 per piece of luggage and, for 2024, only flies on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 AM to 1 PM.

The helicopter is first-come, first-serve and, given its popularity, I’d strongly suggest getting here as early as possible (we saw people waiting in line for the helicopter in Supai around 5:30 AM when we hiked past it) to ensure you can snag a spot. Additionally, I’ve heard the helicopter is rather unpredictable—i.e., it can be canceled for several days at a time for seemingly no reason or not accept any luggage—so I personally would be prepared and ready to hike the entire trail, just in case. 

Hire a mule to carry your packs

You can pay $400 to have a pack mule carry your bags roundtrip, which includes up to 4 bags that can weigh up to 32 pounds each. The mules cannot cross the sketchy plywood bridge that’s about nine miles into the trail, just up the hill from Havasu Falls, so you’ll need to carry your bags the last mile or so to the campground. 

Mules walking up the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

I’d STRONGLY recommend against using the mules. They are worked to death, sometimes literally, climbing up and down the trail every day. We unfortunately hiked for miles alongside a trail of blood from one of the injured mules and I’ve even read reports on AllTrails of mules just being left to die on the side of the trail.

Please don’t support these practices and carry your bags yourself. 

When to do the Havasu Falls hike

The best months to do the Havasu Falls hike are April through May and September through October, when the weather can be warm enough to swim through Havasu Creek’s beautiful waters, without it being sweltering during the uphill climbs. 

Couple smiling in front of Havasu Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

We went from April 15 through April 18 and had nearly perfect weather—I wish it had been a couple degrees warmer so we would have enjoyed swimming a bit more, but I’ll happily take being a bit chilly while swimming over hiking up those switchbacks in over 100 degrees, which regularly happens in the summertime. The only significant downside of visiting during this period is that it’s also the most crowded—but, other than the campground, we never really felt like any of the other areas were too busy.

November, February, and March can be much quieter times to visit, but it will almost certainly be too cold to swim and you’ll need to bring along plenty of warm layers—it’s not unusual for it to drop below freezing in the canyon at night.

Woman hiking with a backpack with pack mules in the background of the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

June through August usually sees lower crowds as well, but also extreme heat, sometimes exceeding 115 degrees. Additionally, this is monsoon season, which can not only increase the likelihood of dangerous flash flooding in the canyon, but can also turn the famously turquoise waters a muddy brown color. 

Suggested itineraries for the Havasu Falls Hike 

As mentioned above, all permits are for three nights and four days. This was Jusin’s and my longest backpacking trip and I was a bit worried about getting bored or running out of things to do—which was definitely not an issue! In fact, I kind of wish we had an extra day at Havasupai. 

Woman walking in Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Nevertheless, here are three suggested itineraries for the Havasu Falls hike, with one option if you’re not planning to hike to the Confluence and two options if you are.

Havasu Falls Hike Itinerary to Beaver Falls

Day 0: Pick up your permit from the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn and stay overnight so that you can get a bright and early start the next day. 

Day 1: Start your hike to the Havasu Falls campground early in the morning, find a good campsite, and set up your homebase for the next few days. 

View of Havasu Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai

Spend the rest of the afternoon chilling out by one of the upper waterfalls, like Havasu Falls—honestly, even though the hike down to the campground didn’t seem that challenging, we were pretty pooped by the afternoon, so a relaxing day by the water was much needed! 

Day 2: Make the hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls and spend most of your day swimming and relaxing at Beaver Falls. We’d recommend doing this on the second day so that you can use the third day to mostly rest up before your hike back up to the trailhead on day 4. 

Couple smiling in front of Mooney Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Day 3: Have a more relaxing day exploring the upper waterfalls, Navajo, Fifty Foot, and Hidden Falls. We had a really lovely day, enjoying a slow morning with coffee along the creek, next to our campsite; swimming through the upper waterfalls; and eating frybread, overlooking Havasu Falls. 

Pack up everything you can before you go to sleep so you can pack up your tent and sleeping gear easily and hit the trail nice and early the next day. 

Couple sitting in backpacking chairs and drinking coffee next to Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground of Havasupai, Arizona

Day 4: Wake up early and head back to the trailhead.

Havasu Falls Itinerary to the Confluence

Day 0: Pick up your permit from the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn and stay overnight so that you can get a bright and early start the next day. 

Day 1: Start your hike to the Havasu Falls campground early in the morning, find a good campsite (close to Mooney falls if possible), and set up your homebase for the next few days. 

Couple looking at Havasu Falls along the Havasu Falls Trail in Havasupai, Arizona

Spend the rest of the afternoon chilling out or swimming at one of the upper waterfalls, like Havasu Falls.

Day 2: Wake up bright and early and hike to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and the Confluence—it will take all day.

Hiking to the Confluence is definitely a butt-kicker, so, even though you might be a bit tired from the hike down to Havasu Falls, we highly recommend doing it on the second day, so that you have a chance to recover on the third day, before your hike out.  

Bighorn sheep along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

And remember, don’t attempt to hike to the Confluence if you arrive at Beaver Falls past 10:30 AM or you risk not making it back to Mooney Falls by dark.

Day 3: Have a more relaxing day exploring the upper waterfalls, Navajo, Fifty Foot, and Hidden Falls. Go for a swim, have a nap or read a book in your hammock, eat some frybread—enjoy Havasupai!

Two plates of frybread in front of Havasu Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

Day 4: Wake up early and head back to the trailhead.

Havasu Falls Hike Itinerary with Confluence and Day at Beaver Falls

While I very much enjoyed our time in Havasupai, if I had to go back and do it again, I’d probably follow this itinerary. However, I’d only recommend this option if you’re in awesome shape, given you won’t really be giving your body a break or time to recover for the hike back.

Day 0: Pick up your permit from the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn and stay overnight so that you can get a bright and early start the next day. 

Day 1: Start your hike to the Havasu Falls campground early in the morning, find a good campsite, and set up your homebase for the next few days. 

Woman standing in the water in front of Fifty Foot Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

Grab some frybread for lunch and use the rest of the afternoon to explore the upper waterfalls, including Navajo, Fifty Foot, Hidden, and Havasu Falls.

Day 2: Wake up bright and early and hike to the Confluence. 

However, don’t spend time at Mooney and Beaver Falls—we’re going to come back to them tomorrow, so you don’t have to rush so much along the Confluence trail today and can actually enjoy the falls tomorrow! 

Waterfalls along Havasu Creek in Havasupai, Arizona

Day 3: Make the hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls and spend most of your day swimming and relaxing at Beaver Falls. 

As mentioned above, I think this is the best waterfall to go swimming in and it would be a real shame to rush through it, just so that you can make it to the Confluence. 

Woman smiling at Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Depending on what time you get back up to your campsite, you can spend the rest of the afternoon having one last frybread or relaxing at Havasu Falls. 

Day 4: Wake up early and head back to the trailhead.

What to pack for the Havasu Falls hike

  • A printout of your reservation to put on the dashboard of your vehicle at the trailhead
  • A printout of the Proof of Account for each member of the trip
  • A valid photo ID 
  • All of the paperwork given to you at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, including your wristband, tent tags, and a copy of your reservation
Couple smiling in a tent next to Havasu Creek along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Tent: Justin and I have this one and we LOVE it. It’s relatively lightweight for its pricepoint, it has lots of handy pockets to store things in, and it has nice roomy vestibules to store your boots and backpack in. 
  • Sleeping bag: We each have a synthetic down sleeping bag from REI (his and hers).
  • Sleeping pad: We both have self-inflating sleeping pads and find them surprisingly comfy.
  • Inflatable pillow: We both are comfort QUEENS and recently bought these inflatable pillows, which are game CHANGERS.
  • Chairs: We brought our lightweight and super packable backpacking chairs and loved hanging out by our campsite in them. Definitely would recommend bringing some! 
Couple sitting in backpacking chairs outside of a tent along the Havasu Creek in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Bear canister or rat sack: We brought a regular ol’ dry bag, which we usually use as a bear bag, to hold our food and it was a mistake—a squirrel ate right through it on the second day. Luckily, our neighbor chased the squirrel away before it got our food, but don’t make our mistake—keep your food in a rodent-proof container while you’re at the campground
  • Campstove: burner, propane canister, and lighter
  • Folding camping sporks
Couple holding ramen bowls with tofu on it at the rim of Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona
Man holding a mug with matcha in it along the Havasu Creek in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Poop kit: While the campground has vault toilets, there’s no toilets along the trail from the trailhead to the Havasu Falls campground or anywhere along the trail from Mooney Falls to the Confluence. Accordingly, I’d recommend bringing along a lightweight trowel, toilet paper, and Ziploc baggies (to store used TP). Plus, the bathrooms were regularly out of toilet paper when we visited so I’d bring along extra, in case you need it! 
  • Large zippered baggies to store any waste you generate (friendly reminder to always leave no trace!)
  • Food: Think dehydrated meals (like this one or this one). While there are frybread stands and the cafe in Supai, they can often be closed unexpectedly so I’d recommend bringing sufficient food for the length of your stay.
  • Cash: For the frybread stands, cafe, general store, and helicopter ride
Man hiking with trekking poles through the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Sunscreen
  • Bugspray: This is honestly not necessary most of the year, but you might want to check AllTrails ahead of time for recent reviews to see if anyone has reported problems with mosquitoes
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Phone, battery bank, and cords
  • Headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Satellite Communicator: Especially if you’re doing the Confluence, where it’s relatively easy to get a bit turned around in the canyon
  • Snacks!: I’m a sucker for some Cool Mint Clif bars.
Man filtering water into a refillable water bottle along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Camera
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Drybag
  • Warm layers (depending on what time of year you’re visiting)
  • Waterproof hiking boots: The traction and support that boots provide are helpful along the rocky, uneven trail to Havasu Falls and for the climb down Mooney Falls. I have these and Justin has these.
  • Gardening gloves: for the climb down Mooney Falls
Man standing in a pool at Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona
  • Hiking sandals: There’s tons of water crossings along the hike to Beaver Falls or the Confluence, so hiking sandals are perfect for this. Justin and I both have a cult-like love for our Tevas (his and hers). 
  • Trekking poles
  • Masks: To wear in the village or on the helicopter, per the requests of the Havasupai Tribe

I really wouldn’t recommend packing too much more than these items on this list. We passed a couple of people on the trail who were REALLY struggling with what appeared to be really heavy packs—it’s really not necessary to be that guy!

Man hiking with trekking poles in the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

What are you not allowed to bring to Havasupai?

As of 2024, you aren’t allowed to bring the following to Havasupai:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drones
  • Speakers
  • Fishing equipment 
  • Animals of any kind 
  • Wagons, carts, or any kind of wheeled vehicles
  • Fireworks
  • Firearms or weapons of any kind
  • Watercraft of any kind, including stand up paddleboard
  • Pool toys
  • Firewood 
Man hiking through the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Anything on the Havasupai Reservation is subject to search and seizure at any time—and I have heard of security going through hikers’ cars and dumping out alcohol and confiscating other prohibited items. So please be respectful and leave this stuff at home! 

Frequently asked questions about the Havasu Falls Hike

Is getting a permit to the Havasu Falls hike hard?

Yes and no. 

If you’re interested in going on a specific date during the most popular period of time to do the Havasu Falls hike, you should either consider entering the presale lottery or being ready, at your computer, on February 1 at 8 AM Arizona Time to try to snag a permit. 

Couple holding hands in front of Mooney Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

However, if you’re flexible with your dates or don’t mind going at less desirable times, like in July, August, or November, you can pretty much make a reservation at any time. 

Is the Havasu Falls hike kid-friendly?

The Havasupai tribe does not have strict prohibitions on children hiking the trail, but does state on its website that “bringing young children is NOT recommended.”  Remember that the trail is challenging for even adults and, at any point on the trail, you’ll be several hours from any medical assistance. 

Ladder leading up from Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

Ultimately, you’ll have to make the decision for yourself and your kids what’s right for them, but I’ve seen several resources recommend that kids under the age of 10 years old sit this one out.

Can I expect to see wildlife along the Havasu Falls hike?

While there are no bears in Havasupai, there are a few majestic animals that you might see while hiking along the Havasu Falls Trail—namely, bighorn sheep. You have a much better chance of seeing them hiking between Mooney Falls and the Confluence than anywhere else along the Havasu Falls hike.

Bighorn sheep along Havasu Creek in Havasupai, Arizona

Most critters that you’ll encounter along the trail are small and generally troublesome, like mice and the scallywag squirrel that ate through our drybag. 

Can you drive to Havasu Falls?

You can drive to the Hilltop trailhead, but otherwise, no, you cannot simply drive to Havasu Falls. 

Couple holding hands in front of Havasu Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

The closest thing to driving to the falls involves taking a helicopter and then hiking two miles from Supai down to the waterfalls.

What if I don’t want to spend four days along the Havasu Falls hike?

The only kind of permit that the Havasupai tribe offers is for four days and three nights. 

Man with a backpack hiking through the Grand Canyon along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

You are not required to spend all four days here—however, if you only decide to spend three (or zero!) nights at the campground, you’ll still need to buy the exact same $455 three night permit as everyone else.

Is there cell service at Havasu Falls?

We had T-mobile and actually had surprisingly good cell service in and near Supai. While we didn’t get service in the campground or along most of the trail, there’s definitely plenty of places close to Supai that you can walk to if you need to check your email or call a loved one. 

Is the Havasu Falls hike safe?

While it’s always possible to get hurt along the trail, I found limited information online about death or injuries in Havasupai. The most common cause of serious injury or death along the trail is drowning—so I’d recommend staying away from swimming in the pools along the brink of any of the falls and being super careful not to get too close to the curtain of any of the enormous waterfalls, like Havasu or Mooney, which have surprisingly strong currents and undertows.

Man standing at the Mooney Falls overlook while looking at Mooney Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

You can definitely decrease your chances of being injured along the trail by bringing sufficient water and food and always hiking with a buddy.

If you’re wondering, instead, whether it’s safe to keep stuff at your campsite during the day while you’re away, the answer is generally yes. I’ve heard there’s been a few instances of things being stolen from campsites, but I think these incidents are pretty few and far between. 

Couple looking at each other in a tent along the Havasu Creek in the Havasu Falls campground in Havasupai, Arizona

To be on the safe side, I’d recommend taking any valuable electronics, like your camera, with you at all times; stowing any loose items inside your zipped up tent while you’re not there, and leaving anything that’s totally irreplaceable at home.

Is the Havasu Falls hike worth it?

Yes, the Havasu Falls hike is absolutely beautiful and, in my opinion, worth all the hype, logistical headaches, and the expense.

Woman walking on a pool at the Navajo Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

That being said, something I haven’t really touched on in this post yet is the surprisingly disappointing lack of infrastructure along the trail, like the sketchy unsecured ladders, lack of signs at trailheads, and the bridges made of plywood that feel ready to break at any second. 

I personally think it’s a bit frustrating that hundreds of campers shell out hundreds of dollars every day to hike in Havasupai and yet, it appears that a minimal amount of said funds are actually reinvested back into the trail. 

Man climbing up a ladder near Beaver Falls along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

At the end of the day, it’s the Havasupai tribe’s land and money and they can use it however they want, but I’d love to see some trail improvements to make this incredibly beautiful experience safer for hikers.

Tips for the Havasu Falls Hike

Follow the Leave No Trace principles

This should be a no-brainer for any hike, but please remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles while you’re on the Havasupai tribe’s land—especially disposing of waste properly.

We saw SO much random camping stuff left behind by other hikers at the end of their trip—from water jugs and climbing gloves to sleeping bags and SO many fuel canisters. Please remember to pack out EVERYTHING that you pack in—otherwise, someone from the tribe and the helicopter will eventually need to, which just is disrespectful to everyone involved.

Helicopter flying in the Grand Canyon in the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona

Join Havasupai Facebook groups

I am in a number of Facebook groups for people interested in hiking to Havasu Falls that helped me keep track of important dates, updates about the trail, and tips and insight from folks that have recently hiked it, such as Havasupai Tribe Tourism and Havasupai and Havasu Falls

Get out of the way for pack mules

One benefit of getting an early start along the trail is not having to deal with as many pack mules, which seemingly come out of nowhere and take up most of the trail, leaving nothing but dust and smelly poop in their wake. 

Woman with a backpack hiking towards pack mules along the Havasu Falls hike in Havasupai, Arizona

If you’re not able to beat the pack mules on the trail, who typically start walking the trail at 8 AM, be sure to move out of their way—they have the right of way and will charge right by you.

Get to waterfalls early

Because of the high canyon walls, most of the waterfalls are completely shaded by 3 PM. 

Woman hiking towards Havasu Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

This makes swimming through the chilly waters feel, well, chilly, but also makes for some pretty bad photos. Accordingly, I’d highly recommend trying to get to waterfalls on the early side so that you can enjoy them in their sunlit and warm glory.


Phew, I sincerely hope you feel better prepared for the Havasu Falls hike after this post, but if you have any additional questions about the hike, let me know in the comments below!

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