COVID-19 Update: the Havasupai Tribal Council has closed Havasu Falls to tourism for the 2022 season. Existing reservations are moved forward to 2023.
The Village of Supai has been one of the most beautiful villages we have visited in the United States. Havasu falls hike is one of the most famous backpacking trail in North America and the falls are one of the most Instagrammed place in the US. There are 5 Havasupai Falls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation: Navajo Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls.
The bright blue pools at the waterfalls stays about 21°C (70 °F) year round, which is perfect when you go during spring, summer or early fall. In this post we are sharing a complete 4 day/3 night itinerary with all the information you need to start planning your Havasupai Falls hiking trip. Here you will find all the information you need to know about hiking Havasu Falls from getting a permit to a day to day activity schedule.
There are several hikes you can do and waterfalls to see besides the most popular Havasu Falls, most notable Mooney and Beaver Falls. You can also hike to Confluence, where the water of Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. With no further notice let’s get to the Havasu Falls hike guide.
How long is the Havasupai Trailhead?
The Havasu Falls Trail also known as the Havasupai Trailhead starts at the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot Area. The trail starts at an elevation of 5,174 feet and then you will be descending about 2,500 feet into the Canyon, so on the way back you will be gaining about 2,500 in elevation. The hike to Havasu Falls Campground is about 20 miles roundtrip and to Beaver Falls and back is about 25 miles.
I would not consider the Havasupai hike hard but long. The Havasu Falls hike trail is very popular, so many people of all different levels are able to do this hike. It all depends on the shoes you are wearing, how much water you are carrying and how heavy is your backpack.
Please make sure to bring WATER as there is not drinking water available along the Havasu Falls hike until you reach the campgrounds.
How long should you stay?
We visited Havasu falls for 3 days and 2 nights, and it was the perfect amount. We did every hike we planed with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the water. This post can be done in 3 days and 2 nights as well as 4 days and 3 nights.
If you only have time for two days/one night, we also created a post to fit everything in a shorter time frame. Unfortunately, since 2019 you are required to buy a permit for 3 night – 4 day. This does not mean you have to stay the whole time but you will still have to pay for it.
How to plan your trip to Havasu Falls?
If you are planning on visiting Havasu Falls you must buy your permit on February 1st, as the permits sell out for the whole season within hours of reservations going on sale. The reason for this is because there is a limited amount of visitors allowed at the grounds. You can buy a permit for 2, 3 and 4 days. There is no day hiking permitted anymore, so you must have your permit. You can buy your permit at: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/.
Once you buy your permit, keep your receipt with you as you make your way down to Havasu Canyon, as there are checkpoints to verify all visitors have paid.
How to get to the Havasu Falls?
You will need to drive to Hualapai Hilltop and then start your 10 miles hike. To get to Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot you will have to turn onto U.S. 66 highway in Arizona and the turn into Indian Highway 18. After 63 miles you will reach the parking lot. It is important to have enough fuel in your car to cover over 200 miles of driving before you get onto the Indian Road 18. Parking is free and there is plenty of parking for everyone.
Once at the parking lot, you will need to hike to the Supai village. There are several ways to reach this remote village you can either have a long hike or fly in by helicopter. I promise that if you choose to hike or even to fly in you will not regret it, there is a reason why thousands of people keep visiting this small paradise.
If you choose to hike from Hualapai Hilltop, it is 8 miles to the Supai village and then 2 additional miles to the campgrounds and waterfalls.
➳ Tip: Start hiking as early as possible (before sunrise) to take full advantage of the cooler air and the shade. Bring enough water for the whole hike as there are not water fountains or any drinking water available along the path. We recommend to bring at least one gallon just to be safe.
Another way you can get to the falls is by riding a horse or a mule. You might need to make a reservation request ahead of time online.
The most expensive way but I think pretty cool to do it is by helicopter. The cost for a helicopter ride into the canyon is $85 per person each way. Each person is allowed 1 carry-on bag. Any additional luggage is charged by the weight. You do not need a reservations so you can just show up at Hualapai Hilltop and sign in before 10am. It takes approximately 15 minutes to fly from Havasupai Hilltop to the Supai village. Either way if you want to see the waterfalls and camp in the campgrounds you must hike 2+ miles from the village.
How to get the Havasupai permits?
Getting the permits to do the Havasu Falls hike is probably the most challenging part about hiking the Havasu Falls Trail. Most of the permits to Havasu Falls are sold out the first day reservations open. You cannot do the hike without having a permit, it is required to buy it before your visit; No walk-ins, or day hikes are allowed. The Havasupai Campground reservation for February to November 2022 opened up on February 1, 2022 at 8AM Arizona Time.
In order to buy the tickets you need to go to the official website for Havasupai Reservations and set up an account. Once you have your account, you can make the reservation. You used to be able to make a reservation through the phone but now it is online only.
➳ Read More: Complete 2023 Packing List for Havasu Falls
How much does the permit cost?
The prices for the Havasupai falls hike for 3 Night / 4 Day are $300 during the weekdays and $375 during weekends per person. There is only one name on the reservation, and that person must be present at the time you check in. Make sure to bring your photo ID and the credit card you used to buy the tickets.
Havasupai Reservations are estimated to begin at February 1, 2022 at 8:00 AM Arizona Time and they sell out for the whole season within hours of reservations going on sale. So make sure to visit the Official Havasupai website for all the details and try calling the tourist office to ask about potential cancellations.
As of 2020 all Campground Reservations will be for 3 Nights / 4 Days!
2022 campground pricing is still pending. 2019 was as follows Campground Reservation Pricing:
- $100 per person per weekday night
- $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)
You can only make reservations for a maximum of 4 days at the time, but if you would like to stay longer you can always make multiple back-to-back reservations to extend your stay. But I think 3 days/2 nights is more than enough!
The lodge is located in Supai, so it will still be a two mile hike each way to Havasu Falls. A room $175.00 per night for up to 4 people with a $60.50 deposit per room per night.
An additional entrance fee for the Havasupai Reservation of $90.00 per person will be charged upon arrival.
Transportation from the hilltop:
Luggage carrying mule: $470 round trip or $235 one way, effective May 1, 2018. The horses can carry up to 4 bags weighing a combined weight of 130 pounds. Reservations are required no more than one week in advance.
Helicopter: The helicopter will fly yo from the Hilltop into the the Supai Village for $85.00 per person one way. You can also send your bags for $20 up to 40 pounds. It is first come, first serve, with locals getting preference. It can take up to several hours of waiting to get a ride.
When is the best time to go to Havasu Falls?
The best time to go to Havasu Falls is in the late spring or early fall. I will avoid going to Havasu Falls during the Summer as it can get really busy and super hot, up to 110 °F, also the trails into Supai are closed if the temperatures reach anything more than 115°F, and there are no guarantees that they will reschedule or refund your permit. Also, doing the hike in that weather has to be terrible! During the months of July and August are higher chances of rains and potential flash floods.
Early Spring and late Fall are considered to be the cooler months and are better for the hike as well to enjoy the water at the waterfall pools. The months of December and January the Havasu Falls hike is closed to the public.
Hiking Havasu Falls Travel Video:
A bit about hiking to Havasu Falls
We read so much about this hike that at first we were a little bit afraid of going to such a long hike, but to be honest it was way easier than expected. There is one time that the hike gets hard and tedious and it is on your way out of the canyon. The rest of the path is pretty much flat with some small hills here and there.
It is a long hike, so do not let that tricky you, even though it is an easy hike going down and going back until the canyon, you are still hiking 10 miles each way to the campground, so your feet will be sore.
We recommend to pack as little as possible for Havasu Falls. Take literally what you will need and nothing more. If you end up needing something there is a small store in Supai with everything you need. It might be a little bit pricey but at least you are not carrying it in and out of the canyon.
You are not allowed to do a day hike, so you must have a reservation, which have already sold out for 2018. You also need to bring your ID and your credit card as they check at the Havasupai Tourist Office in the Village.
Hiking to the Supai Village
To start your hike you need to park your car at Hualapai Hilltop. Start hiking between 5 and 6 AM so that by the time you reach the village the tourist office is open for check in. You have to go through the village to get to the campgrounds either way.
The way down to the village starts off easy as you are going down the canyon edge along a steep of switchbacks. The first miles are in the exposed “wash” before you enter the canyon. It can get sunny depending on the time of day you start your hike so please use sunscreen. I did not use it and my whole legs and face were left burning for days.
The next few miles you are hiking through the canyon, where you will encounter small hills either up or down. Along this part of the path you will most likely meet the horses that carry luggage heading in the opposite direction. You can hear the echo of the horseshoes from quite a distance in the canyon. Remember to step off the path and give the right of way to these beautiful creatures to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
After nearly 8 miles of walking from your car, the landscape begins to burst with luscious greenery as you approach Havasu Creek, right at the entrance of the village of Supai. Here you need to check in at the tourist office to get a wristband. There is also a place to fill up your water if needed and a store where you can top off any supplies. To many people’s surprise there is a post office in town, the perfect place to send yourself a souvenir postcard.
Hiking from Supai to the campground and Havasu Falls
From the village itself it is another two mile hike, along the river, to the campground. Along the path you will pass the first two waterfalls that give you a glimpse of the even more majestic waterfalls to come. There is one detour for both New Little Navajo Falls and the Rock Falls.
If you are not the type of person who likes to carry, even when your bag is light, you can send your bags with a mule or in the helicopter. I do not like using mules as I think it is not good for the animal, but that is my personal conviction.
We carried all of our stuff, which was not much. We took literally enough to make it through the weekend and nothing more. People around us were surprise with how little we took, but for us it was the perfect amount and we had a blast!
Depending on the time of the year, I will say bring the amount of water. We went during early Spring so it was not as hot as during summer, so we both consumed 2 liters of water each on the way there and 3 liters of water each on the way out. You can refill the water at the village and at the campground, although sometimes they can run out of water. You can always purchase drinks at the local store.
On the way back to the car, we recommend to leave at 5:00-5:30 AM, the latest so you can be out by 10 AM and not suffer from the radiant sun. You do not want to be in the switchbacks pass 10 AM it gets super sunny and hot. The total time for us was 4.5 hours. It took us one hour to get to the village from the campground, and 3.5 hours from the village to the exit. We moved our tent the night before to the closest spot available from the start of the campground. You want to hike the least on your way out plus you want to get as early as possible to the switchbacks.
On our way back out of the canyon we saw people starting their hike at 10AM, big mistake. It is so hot and trust me you do not want to walk 10 miles in the heat of the sun.
From the parking lot at Hualapai Hilltop to the Village is 8 miles (13 km), to the campground and Havasu Falls is 2 (3 km) more miles, from the campground to Mooney Falls is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) and from Mooney Falls Beaver Falls 1 mile and to Confluence is from the Hualapai Hilltop 20 miles.
➳ Be aware: This trail distances are just one way.
About the waterfalls of the Havasupai Indian Reservation
New Navajo Falls
Half way between the village and the campground is your first pair of waterfalls. After a massive flood in 2008, New Navajo Falls was created as the water was diverted from what is now the dry Old Navajo Falls. To reach these base of this 50ft falls, you need to make your over several large boulders and swim through the cool creek to get close.
Rock Falls is just a short walk down stream from New Navajo Falls. Not only is it a beautiful waterfall to photograph, but up above the falls there are several pools perfect for relaxing and swimming. If the flow is low you can even make your way right up to the edge of the falls, but be careful.
Havasu Falls is the most famous waterfall out of all the ones you will explore during your stay at Supai Village. This beautiful 100ft waterfall is right before the campground, so it is really easy to access throughout your stay and perfect to swim in. You cannot miss this waterfall tumbling into the bright blue pools below, as you pass right next to get to the campground.
The Mooney Falls waterfall is located 2.2 miles from the village and right at the far end of the campground. The campground leads to the top of the falls, where you can get magical photos and views.
To get down to the bottom of the falls, you have to climb down a cave to a short viewpoint. Honestly, if you are afraid of heights this viewpoint will be enough! From here you need to get yourself down steep rock steps with chains and a few sets of muddy wood ladders. You will need to use both of your hands to climb up and down the chains, so be careful and bring everything you need in a backpack.
Mooney Falls looks similar to Havasu Falls with plenty of space at the base for you to swim in the cool blue waters.
Beaver Falls is a series of small but beautiful cascading waterfalls that are located close to each other. It is a 5 mile hike from the Village or 2 mile hike from Mooney Falls. It can easily take 5 hours to truly enjoy the waterfalls including the 2.5 hours hike round-trip from the campground, so plan accordingly. You do not want to be stuck after dark climbing up Mooney Falls.
Beaver Falls are the most difficult to access as they are further from the campground, although the hardest part about getting there is have to go down to Mooney Falls.
To get to Beaver Falls, you have to get to the bottom of Mooney Falls and the take a path along the canyon wall. Along the path you will have to cross the river 3 or 4 times back and forth. Please bring proper shoes for the water, we did not and our feet were unhappy with us. The creek has a lot of small rocks that will hurt your feet.
Once, you reach the Palm tree, you will have two options either go left and cross the river which will lead you to the top of the falls, or you can go right and climb the ladders which will lead you to the bottom of the waterfall for a perfect view of the whole waterfalls. Once you get there you will have the time of your life by swimming in the many pools and climbing down and up the waterfalls.
The complete 4 day – 3 night itinerary to Havasu Falls:
Day 1: Make your way to Havasu Falls
Wake up early and start your hike at 6AM, get to the village by 9:15 register and get your camping permit. It is perfect as the sun really comes out once you are already at the village heading to the campground. Walk towards the campground and stop at Rock falls and Navajo Falls. Get in the water and enjoy the morning in the beautiful pools above Rock Falls or below Navajo Falls.
Then head towards Havasu Falls, 1.5 from the village, 1 mile from the other two waterfalls, to have lunch and enjoy the rest of your day swimming there. The best lighting to take photos of the Havasu Falls is before and after sunset/sunrise. Then head to the campground before it gets to dark and walk all the way to the far end of the campground (1 mile) to set your tent and cook dinner.
Day 2: Relax in Mooney and Beaver Falls
Option 1: Wake up, cook breakfast and head towards Mooney Falls, a similar looking waterfall to Havasu Falls. In order to get to the bottom of Mooney Falls you have to go down through a small cave and then climb your way down some chains and ladders. It might look sketchy but just make sure to always keep three points of contact. Some people even find it fun! Enjoy your morning there and bring lunch down to enjoy at the bottom of the fall.
Around noon or one head towards Beaver Falls, it is an easier hike and it does not requires as much “climbing skills” as Mooney Falls, but does have a few additional wooden ladders to get there. Enjoy the waterfall and then come back for dinner at the campground. You do not want to leave Beaver Falls too late, as going up the ladders and chains at Mooney Falls can get dangerous as it begins to get dark. If you have enough energy, move your tent to the start of the campground, so your hike the next morning is a mile shorter.
Option 2: Wake up, cook breakfast and head towards Mooney Falls, take a bunch of photos, get in the water for a bit and then keep hiking towards Confluence, where the Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River. This is a longer hike and you will pass Beaver Falls along the way. You do have less time to spend in the water at the different falls though, so keep track of the time. We did not do this hike as we did not plan accordingly, but everyone said it is worth the hike!
Day 3: Hike to Confluence
Wake up early and get ready for a long hike on day three to Confluence, where the Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River. This is a longer hike and you pass Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls along the way, which you enjoyed the previous day to better manage the time.
The hike to Confluence is not any more difficult than the section to Beaver Falls, there is just much more of the trail to do! It is especially important to plenty of protein rich snacks and water on this hike as you will find yourself hiking in quicker bursts as you find the endless photo opportunities.
As you plan your timing for the day, remember you will want to arrive back to the campground before dark for safety reasons and allow yourself enough time to rest.
Day 4: Hike back out to the hilltop
Wake up really early, no later than 5AM, pack your tent and start hiking before 5:30 towards the parking lot. You do not want to leave much after that time, as it will get sunny and hot during the hardest uphill stretch at the end. When you finally make it back to the car enjoy a celebratory dance before heading home.
Photo opportunity tips:
We read everywhere that you needed to wake up early or stay late to take photographs of the waterfalls and of yourself enjoying them without any other visitors in the image. In our case we did not have to do either, at any time you can take good photos. I do not think we got lucky as the place is always sold out and allows the same amount of people in no matter the day.
However, we do agree that taking photos in the early morning and right before/after sunset allow for the perfect lighting. In these lower light situations, with the help of a tripod you have the chance to capture the waterfalls in motion.
Before heading to Havasu Falls make sure to get familiar with your camera and learn how to take long exposure shots. The long exposure shots will help to get the water flow in your photo. Also, it is super important to bring your camera, not only for the long exposure shots but also in order to get epic photos of you and your friends.
Always be patient and wait for the perfect shot, move around or wait for people to move!
⇟ More articles from Havasu Falls that might interest you:
➳ Read More: Complete 2023 Packing List for Havasu Falls
➳ Read More: 20 Inspiring photos of Havasu Falls
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