Havasu Falls Hike & Havasupai Waterfalls Trail Guide Arizona [2023]

You probably landed here because you want complete the Havasu Falls hike in Arizona, find more information how to get a Havasupai permit, or learn more about the Havasupai Tribe. Either way – you’re in the right place!

It’s no (longer a) secret that Havasupai AZ is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and unique waterfalls. With waterfalls and rivers the color of gemstones, cascading and snaking their way through the red, dusty rocks of the Grand Canyon, it’s easy to imagine why this place has shot to international fame.

In fact, you’ve probably seen Havasupai’s iconic Havasu and Mooney Falls featured in everything from travel brochures to postcards. And for good reason. I mean Havasupai is nothing short of an adventurer’s dream.

But, how exactly do you access the most beautiful waterfalls in the Grand Canyon? 

Well, it’s harder than you might think…

Originally published: January 27, 2020

Last updated: March 5, 2023

What’s in this guide to backpacking Havasu Falls:

This Havasu Falls hike guide covers everything you need to know to backpack Havasu Falls and the Havasupai waterfalls in 2023. Here’s what you can expect to find:

  • An overview of Havasu Falls and Havasu Canyon
  • Havasupai Reservations and how to get a permit
  • Havasu Falls hike details, a trail map, and a breakdown of what you can expect on the trail
  • Havasu Trail Waterfalls: An overview of the 5 waterfalls in Havasu Canyon
  • How to get to the Hualapai Hilltop and Havasu Falls
  • Where to stay once you get to Havasupai: Havasu campground vs. Havasupai Lodge
  • Alternative travel and accommodation: Havasupai helicopter and Havasu pack mules 
  • The best time to visit Havasu Falls
  • Tips for your visit (and mistakes to avoid)
  • What to pack for 4 days/3 nights in Havasupai
  • FAQs about the Havasu Falls Hike

More Havasupai AZ guides:

Guide to the Mooney Falls Hike in Havasupai AZ

How to Hike Beaver Falls in Havasupai Arizona

Table of Contents

Top of Havasu Falls by Stephen Leonardi

Brand new updates for Havasupai Permits in 2023

Havasupai is finally open again! After a nearly 3 year shutdown from COVID-19, the Havasupai Indian Reservation is opening for tourism again in 2023. The Reservation officially opened back up on February 1st 2023.

Here’s what you need to know for Havasu Falls permits in 2023:

  • The permit system opened at 8:00 AM Arizona Time on February 1, 2023.
  • Current permit holders with reservations between June 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022 will be rescheduled for the same date in 2023. This includes pack mule reservations.
  • New 2023 permits are posted to the Cancel & Transfer List
  • Payments are non-refundable and non-transferable, unless processed through the Official Transfer System on the Havasupai Reservation website.

Havasupai permit prices by the Havasupai Tribe tribal council each year and are subject to change without notice. Check the official Havasupai Reservation website for the most up to date information.

About the Havasu Falls and the Havasupai Tribe

The Havasu Falls Trail is named after one of the five main waterfalls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation area, which is commonly referred to as Havasu Falls. Although many people use the name Havasu Falls to describe the entire area, it is important to note that there are actually four other waterfalls in the region, all of which are part of the Havasupai Tribe’s land.

Here are the important words you need to know:

  • Havasupai: the name of the Tribe and Indian Reservation
  • Supai: the name of the Havasupai village
  • Havasu Falls: the most recognized waterfall
  • Havasupai Falls: collective term for all of the waterfalls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation
  • Havasu Canyon: the part of the Grand Canyon where the village of Supai and the Havasupai waterfalls are. Just west of Grand Canyon National Park

About the Havasupai Tribe

The Havasupai Indian Reservation is located in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It is a self-governing Native American nation with its own unique laws, customs, and way of life.

The Havasu Falls Area is home to the Havasupai Tribe, also known as the Havasu Baaja or “people of the blue-green waters”, who live in Supai village.

The village of Supai is the most remote Indigenous territory in the United States. Located 10 miles deep in the Grand Canyon, Supai village and the Havasupai waterfalls are only accessible by helicopter or on your own two feet.

Despite the challenging desert terrain, the Havasupai Tribe has thrived for thousands of years thanks to the hidden limestone aquifer that provides the blue-green waters that create Havasu Creek and the Havasupai waterfalls.

A brief history of the Havasupai Tribe

The first white man, Padre Garces, discovered the Havasupai area in 1776. In the 1800s, the federal government reduced the Havasupai tribal lands to only 500 acres at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

In the 1900s, the Grand Canyon National Park was established around Havasu Canyon and the government gave 185,000 acres back to the Havasupai Tribe.

However, the Havasupai Tribe now faces the advancement of nearby uranium mining by the Pinyon Plain Mine. The mining threatens the Tribe’s way of life and jeopardizes the limestone aquifer that they rely on. Despite decades of active opposition by the Tribal members, the mining operations were approved in 2020.

Today, tourism is the main driver of the Havasupai Tribe’s economy. However, it’s important to remember that these lands are sacred to the tribe. As a visitor, you are a guest in their home.

Maintaining a positive relationship with the Havasupai people is crucial for the sustainability of the tribe and for future visits to this stunning location.

Upper Havasu Falls on the Havasu Falls hike, Arizona

How to get a Permit for Backpacking Havasupai Waterfalls

Between the preparation, the planning, and the trek into the canyon, visiting Havasupai is no easy feat. And that’s assuming you can even get your hands on a permit.

A lot has changed about the process of visiting Havasupai over the years.

Unfortunately, getting a permit is getting harder and more frustrating every year.

I visited Havasupai for the first time in 2017. Back then, the tribe only took phone reservations. You had to call their only phone number over and over again until you finally got through to someone. And then hope they had your preferred days still available. Sometimes it took a few tries, other times it took days or weeks.

I remember having their number on redial for hours. Listening to the same ringing patterns and busy tones over and over again. Then, when someone finally answered, I went down the list of my preferred dates, until one of them finally matched up. And I was only able to secure a campsite reservation for 2 nights. This was a few days after permit openings.

That’s not how things work now.

In 2023, all Havasuapi campsite reservations and reservations to Havasupai Lodge must be made online.

Havasupai Permit Information

Every single person visiting Havasupai needs a permit. No exceptions.

Here’s what you need to know about getting a permit for Havasupai:

  • The permit system opened at 8:00 AM Arizona Time on February 1, 2023
  • Reservations can only be made online on the official Havasupai Reservation website.
  • Minimum reservation is 4 days/3 nights
  • Full payment must be made upon permit reservation
  • After a Campground Reservation has been finalized and paid for, no further changes can be made.
  • Only one credit card per group is allowed on file (and that person MUST be present at check-in at the village)
  • Payments are non-refundable and non-transferable, unless processed through the Official Transfer System on the Havasupai Reservation website.

How much does a Havasu permit cost in 2023?

The price of single Havasupai falls reservation in 2023 is $300-375.00 USD.

  • $100 per person per weekday night (M-Th) / $125 per person on Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights
  • Price includes a 4 day/3 night camping reservation, all necessary permits, reservation fees, and taxes
  • If you choose to take the helicopter, add $170 for the round trip helicopter ride

Prices are set each year by the tribal council and are subject to change without notice

How to increase your chances of getting a Havasu Falls permit in 2023

Havasupai’s waterfalls attract the eye of hundreds of thousands of people every year. And that number is increasing, thanks to Instagram, other social media platforms, and Beyonce’s music video.

But, regardless of how many people want to visit, the number of available permits pretty much stays the same. Only a small percentage are among the lucky ones to actually get to go.

That also means that reservations are selling out faster and faster as more and more people battle it out for a permit. In fact, permits for the entire year usually sell out almost instantly.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can increase your chances of getting a Havasupai permit in 2023:

  1. Create your account on havasupaireservations.com before February 1st.
    You can only get a Havasupai Falls permit online at the official Havasupai reservation website.
    Have all of your filled in ahead of time
    . Dates, people, payments, etc. so you can be ready to book the first time you get through. Because once you get through, it will be hard to get through again.
  2. On February 1, log into your account on havasupaireservations.com well before 8:00 AM Arizona Time.
    I recommend signing on by 7:50AM Arizona Time. The closer it gets to 8:00AM, the harder it will be to log on because everyone else will be doing the same exact thing.
  3. Refresh the page at EXACTLY 8:00AM and you will have the option to click on “make a campground reservation”.Seriously, set an alarm and be ready with your finger on the sign in button to press it the very second the clock changes to 8AM.
    Only refresh the page once. If it takes awhile to load, just wait. Don’t keep hitting the refresh button or you will get kicked out.
  4. Select the number of people in your group. There can be up to 12 people, but each person needs a separate permit. For this reason, smaller groups have a better chance at getting permits.
  5. Pick from the available dates. You should have several dates in mind and write them down ahead of time for easy reference. You might not get the dates you originally planned so it’s best to have back ups.
    Tip: Book less desirable dates, like weekdays (Monday – Thursday). Weekends and holidays are always the first ones to sell out.
    Further increase your chances of getting a permit by preparing to book dates months in advance and be willing to whatever dates are available.
  6. Be quick! The system only holds your reservation for so long. If the time expires, you lose your permit.
  7. And if all else fails and you can’t get a permit the first time, check the the cancellation list on the Official Transfer System Page.

What happens if I don’t get a permit before they sell out?

If permits for the Havasu Falls Area sell out before you can get one, don’t worry – there’s still hope!

Throughout the year, permits become available for purchase on the Havasupai reservations website through the cancellation/transfer process. People cancel their reservations by selling the permit back to the website. You can snag these cancellations for the regular permit price.

The Havasupai Tribe doesn’t issue refunds, so the cancellation/transfer process allows the person selling the permit to get their money back once someone else buys it.

However, it’s important to note that because this is an exchange, the dates, length of stay, and number of people allowed depend on the permit being released. Be sure to check the website regularly for availability..

Hiking through Havasu Canyon, United States

Havasu Falls hike details and trail map

The Havasu Falls Trail hike is super straightforward. The trail is well-defined and there’s really only one way you can go once you start walking through the canyon.

Here is a map of the Havasu Falls Trail. It starts at the Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot and marks each of the 5 waterfalls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation (Fifty Foot Falls, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls).

Havasupai Waterfall hike from Hualapai Hilltop Trail Map

Havasu Falls (Havasupai Falls) Trail overview

Havasu Falls Trailhead: Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona

Trail Length: 10 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop to Havasupai Falls Campground

Trail type: Out and back

Elevation gain/loss: 2155 ft (657 m)

Difficulty: Difficult. You need to be in decent shape to hike the whole way through the canyon. Otherwise, you can take the helicopter from Hualapai Hilltop, which drops you off in Supai village. More on that below!

Terrain: Exposed desert and dry river bed composed of dust and loose rock

Tip: Download offline Google Maps and AllTrails before you go. There is no cell phone service on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, so downloading offline maps will help you know exactly where you’re going.

Havasupai Falls Trail

Honestly, the Havasu Falls hike is exhausting and is not the faint of heart. But the trail is very easy to follow.

The hike begins at the the Hualapai Hilltop, located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona.

The trek along the Havasupai Trail is very long, very hot, and very exposed to the boiling Arizona sun. Begin your hike before the sun rises to avoid hiking for too long in the desert heat.

The trail starts off with a steep 1000ft descent into the Grand Canyon. You will hike down a series of steep switchbacks for roughly 1 mile until you reach the canyon floor.

Once you get to the bottom of the canyon, the trail flattens out and follows a dry river bed of loose rock. From here, it is a 7 mile hike to Supai Village. The trail is well marked and easy to follow because there is only one way you can go.

For several hours, you will follow a gently sloping trail over the loose rock and red dust of the canyon floor. Keep an eye (and ear!) out for the mules running back and forth through the canyon! They always have the right of way.

Keep an eye out for the river at the 6 mile mark. This is where the canyon landscape really starts to change. All of a sudden, a lush forest of cottonwood and willow trees pops up out of nowhere.

The trees offer very welcomed shade, while their bright green leaves stand in striking contrast to the surrounding red sandstone canyon. It really is a sight to see. From here, the Havasupai village of Supai is 1.5 miles away.

When you arrive at Supai village, you have to check in at the tourist check-in office. This is where you pick up your camping tags and show proof of your online permit reservation. You must have it printed!

If you arrive at the office without a permit and subsequent camping reservation, you will be turned away and forced to trek back out.

Depending on your reservation, you’ll need to walk to Havasu Lodge or Havasupai Falls campground. The Havasu Lodge is located right near the tourist office. The Havasupai campground is another 2 mile hike from Supai Village.

Starting the hike to Havasu Falls at the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead in the Grand Canyon, AZ

The last 2 miles to the Havasupai Fall campground are along a dusty path that seems never-ending. It’s especially tiring after hiking 10 miles with all your gear. And if you’re wearing trail runners like I was, you will end up with shoes full of sand.

The first waterfalls you will see is Little Navajo Falls and Fifty Foot Falls. Stop to take in it all in and then continue down the trail to the top of Havasu Falls.

You’ll quickly realize that all the photos in the world will never do Havasu Falls justice. This iconic gem plunges 100 feet into a crystal clear blue-green lagoon. Every muscle in your body will ache, your feet will have blisters, your shoes will be filled with sand. But the sight of this waterfall alone will make the long, hot trek worth every step.

The Havasupai Falls campground is a short hike from there.

The campground is 1 mile long, between the bottom of Havasu Falls and the top of Mooney Falls. Walk in and set up camp anywhere in the campsite boundaries.

How to get to the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead (Havasu Falls Trailhead)

The Havasupai hike is located in the Grand Canyon, just west of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Despite its remote location, planning a trip to Havasu waterfall is absolutely worth it.

The Hualapai Hilltop trailhead is located approximately 4 hours from both Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix, AZ by car.

These are the closest major airports to the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot:

  • McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada:  3 hours and 30 minutes drive to the trailhead
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona: 4 hours and 40 minutes drive to the trailhead

Once you land, you need to rent a car and drive the remaining distance to the Havasupai Falls trailhead at the Hualapai Hilltop.

There is currently no public transportation to/from the Havasupai trailhead.

Driving to the Trailhead

The Havasu Falls trailhead in Arizona starts at the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot on the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

To get there, turn off Route 66 and follow Indian Road 18 for 60 miles. The drive on Indian Road is paved and takes about 1.5 – 2 hours. It is open range and there are many cows and horses crossing the road, so please keep an eye out. There are no facilities along this road, so make sure you have plenty of gas!

The last gas station before the trailhead is located in Peach Springs, Arizona.  It’s open from 7AM – 6PM. Stop here to top off your gas, since it is the only gas station within 100 miles of the trailhead.

If you run out of gas on the reservation, you most likely will not be able to get it at all. The locals don’t have gas to give to you (we know this because we ran out of gas and had to wait for another hiker who had extra to give us).

Before reaching the parking lot, you’ll come across a check-in station where the Havasupai Tribe will ask to see your permit. Ensure that you have it with you.

After that, you can proceed to the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot at the edge of the Grand Canyon. There is no parking fee.

Tip: There’s no cell service on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Download offline Google Maps before you go so you always know exactly where you are.

Havasu Trail Waterfalls: An overview of the 5 waterfalls in Havasu Canyon

As you probably know by reading this guide, there are actually 5 different waterfalls at Havasupai. Since you will be there for a minimum of 4 days, you should have enough time to enjoy all of them!

Here’s a breakdown of the 5 Havasupai waterfalls, in order from Supai village.

1. Fifty Foot Falls

If you’re heading to Havasupai Falls campground, Fifty Foot Falls is the first waterfall you’ll see. It’s also one of the most accessible and a great place to swim in the turquoise pools.

The falls are located off the main Havasu Falls trail, approximately halfway between Supai Village and the Havasupai campground.

You can admire the waterfall from the shore or choose to take a swim. To swim in Fifty Foot Falls, just follow a small trail off the main Havasu Falls trail that leads directly to the waterfall.

Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu hike Arizona

2. Little Navajo Falls

Little Navajo Falls is the second of the five waterfalls you will see on the Havasu Falls hike. It was formed in 2008 during a flood in Havasu Canyon.

The falls are 75 feet high and flow into a stunning blue-green pool in Havasu Creek. The pools at the bottom are perfect for swimming and escaping the crowds that gather at Havasu Falls.

To get to Little Navajo Falls, walk one mile down from Supai Village or up from the Havasupai Falls campground. It’s not directly on the main trail, but you’ll see it on your way.

Take a left off the main path towards the Havasupai Falls campground. Keep an eye out for the trail leading to the falls on your left. If you miss it, you won’t know until you’re below the falls.

3. Havasu Falls

Located about 10 miles into the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls can be found just before the Havasupai Falls campground. It is the third waterfall you encounter on your way to the Havasu Falls campground from the Havasupai Falls trailhead.

Havasu Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the world. This is the  Havasupai waterfall you’ll surely recognize.

Havasu Falls plunges 100 feet into a crystal clear blue-green pool. It is located just a short walk from the Havasupai campground.

Due to its ease of access and proximity to the campground, Havasu Falls is the busiest of the Havasupai waterfalls. This waterfall makes for a great spot to hang out all day, swim, or string a hammock.

There are picnic benches around the base of the falls. You can hang out here for some relief from the baking Arizona sun in the shade of the cottonwood trees.

Exploring and swimming in Havasu Falls, Supai

4. Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls is the tallest of Havasupai’s waterfalls. The waters of Havasu Creek plunge over 200 feet into a turquoise pool of water.

The Mooney Falls trailhead begins at the far end of the Havasupai campground. It is approximately 1 mile away from Havasu Falls.

You can climb down to the base of Mooney Falls by scaling the cliff face outfitted in rebar and chains. And much like the trek to Havasupai, the descent to Mooney Falls is not for the faint of heart.

The introduction of thick chains and rebar serve as an assist in climbing down the slippery rock. You’ll find signs warning you to descend at your own risk.

Mooney Falls is not safe to swim around as it has a dangerous under-current.

Read the full guide: Guide to the Mooney Falls Hike in Havasupai AZ

Upper Mooney Falls from the Mooney Falls Trail in Havasupai Arizona

5. Beaver Falls

Beaver Falls is best known for its enchanting 5 cascading waterfalls and gorgeous pools, perfect for wading and swimming.

The trail to Beaver Falls starts at the base of Mooney Falls. From Mooney Falls, it is a 3 mile hike to Beaver Falls.

The trail to Beaver Falls takes you through lush-green grapevine fields, across bridges over the crystal blue waters of Havasu Creek, and up and down ladders installed in sandstone cliff faces.

During the spring and fall, be sure to arrive early in the day. The sun will still be shining on the water and you might avoid the crowds and have the place all to yourself!

Read the full guide: How to Hike Beaver Falls in Havasupai Arizona

The hike to Beaver Falls in Havasu Canyon makes a great day trip during your visit to Havasupai

The trail past Beaver Falls will continue for another 4 miles to the confluence of the Colorado River and Havasu Creek.

The hike to the confluence of the Colorado River is a difficult all-day hike. The trail can be difficult to follow and is largely dependent on the weather and time of year due to difficult river crossings. Always double check for hiking conditions before you go to make sure water levels are safe.

Keep in mind that Havasupai land ends at Beaver Falls. Once you leave Havasupai land, you will be out of range of any assistance.

Trail distance overview (one-way)

  • Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to Supai village: 8 miles (13 km)
  • Supai village to Havasupai Falls campground: 2 miles (3 km)
  • Havasupai Falls campground to Mooney Falls: 0.5 miles (0.8 km)
  • Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls: 3 miles (4.8 km)
  • Beaver Falls to Colorado River: 4 miles (6.4 km)

The best time to backpack Havasu Falls

Havasupai is open to visitors year round, but tourist season is generally February – late September. Although the temperature of the water consistently remains in the low 70’s all year, the air temperature and crowds vary with the seasons.

  • Spring and Fall: The best time of year to backpack Havasupai AZ is in the spring (March – May) and late fall (October – November). While daytime temperatures are a little bit chilly, you can still swim in the waterfalls and the temperatures are perfect for hiking.
    Another benefit is that sometimes months see fewer people and the campsite is much less crowded. It might even be easier to get a permit right off the bat because everyone tries to go in the middle of summer.
  • Summer: In the summer (June – September), temperatures in the canyon can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this tends to be peak season because it is the best time to swim in the Havasupai waterfalls.
    July and September are monsoon season. Storms and flash floods happen very suddenly and create dangerous conditions in the Grand Canyon. They might even cause the Tribe to close the trail entirely. Storms also turn Havasu creek muddy brown, instead of the vibrant turquoise you came so far to see. If you hear or see flood waters approaching, get to high ground immediately and wait until it clears.
  • Winter: From December to February, the weather can be cold, with nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing. Snow and ice can also make hiking in the area treacherous and difficult.

Where to stay once you get to Havasupai: Havasupai Campground vs. Havasu Lodge

Havasupai offers two options for accommodation: the Havasu Lodge and the Havasupai Campground. Most people stay at the campground because it’s closer to the main waterfalls and more affordable.

Havasupai Campground AZ

The campground is located between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls in the Grand Canyon. It is about 1 mile long with around 300 campsites along Havasu Creek. Camping requires a permit and the campsites are first-come, first-served.

If you are camping, you need to bring everything you need to sleep and cook for yourself. In the event you forget something, there’s a small general store in the village that has basic necessities. If you don’t want to cook, there’s a cafe near the loge in Supai Village that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The sites around Havasu Creek are flat with trees and picnic tables, making them ideal for setting up camp and stringing a hammock.

Don’t expect luxury amenities when camping, but the breathtaking view from your campsite is worth roughing it.

Here’s what you can expect from camping at Havasu Falls:

  • Outhouses. There are several compostable pit toilets throughout the campground. The outhouses are usually stocked with toilet paper, but sometimes it runs low so it’s best to bring your own.
  • Fresh drinking water. There is a fresh water spigot near the start of the campground. This water is safe to drink, so you can fill up your water bottles here.
  • No showers. I personally used shower wipes, which worked great. I recommend these Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes.
  • Picnic tables at most of the campsites
  • No trash cans. There are no trash cans at the Havasupai campground. It is your responsibility to bring a trash bag and take all of your trash out with you.
  • No cell service or WiFi. If you can’t go a few days without the internet, there is wifi and electricity at the Havasu Lodge.

Things that are good to know about camping at Havasu Falls AZ:

  • No alcohol. Alcohol is not allowed at the Havsupai campground or on the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
  • Campfires are not allowed in Havasu Falls. Bring a camping stove and fuel if you plan to cook your meals.
  • Camp only within the boundaries of the Havasupai Falls campground. The campground is a “camp wherever you want” campground  and there are technically no designated sites. You can set up camp wherever you want, as long as it is in the campground boundaries, which span for 1 mile between the base of Havasu Falls and the top of Mooney Falls.
  • Choose the right campsite. The campground is 1 mile long. If you can, try to choose a site close to the drinking water fountain at the beginning of the campground for easy water access and close to an outhouse. We snagged a spot right on the creek with two trees that were perfect for hanging a hammock and it was heavenly.
  • Pool floats are no longer allowed, so you will have to leave your tubes, rafts, and giant unicorn floats at home.
  • Respect the other campers and never feed the wildlife. 
  • Don’t leave your food unattended. In fact, take extra measures to protect your gear and food from the notorious Havasupai squirrels, mice, and raccoons. Havasupai critters will try relentlessly to get your food, trash, and anything else that smells tasty – even if that means chewing straight through your tent or backpack.
    Keep all food and trash outside of your tent in odor proof bags, bear canisters, or the buckets found around the campground.
  • Pack out all of your trash. There are no trash cans at the Havsupai Falls campground, so you are responsible for taking out all of your trash. We packed food that didn’t require much packaging, so we were able to fit all of our trash into a ziploc bag.
  • Bring extra cash with you to try the fry bread and Navajo tacos that the Tribe members sell at the little stand near Havasu Falls! They taste AMAZING, especially after a long day of hiking. You can also grab a cup of coffee here, but it’s not gold standard by any means. You’re probably better off just packing some instant coffee in with you.

The Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village

If you don’t want to camp, you can try to snag a spot at the lodge in Supai Village. But honestly, you will need a ton of luck.

Getting a lodge reservation is at least a million times harder than getting a camping permit. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying that the stars have to align for you to maybe get lucky.

Here’s what to know about staying at the Havasupai Lodge in Supai Village:

  • The Havasupai Lodge is expected to open again starting in May 2023, but is subject to change.
  • Existing reservations for before May 2023 will be rescheduled.
  • The cost to stay at the lodge is $1,980 per room for 4 days/3 nights.
  • Each room has 2 queen beds and sleeps 4 adults
  • You are required to pay in full upon reservation.

Click here for Havasupai Lodge information

Important tips for your visit (and mistakes to avoid):.

1. Respect the Havasupai Tribe

The Havasupai Tribe members live in Supai village. Respecting the Havasupai Tribe and their rules is important when visiting Havasupai Falls in Arizona.

Havasu Canyon is sacred to the Tribe and getting to visit is a privilege that should be respected. Never forget that as a visitor, you are a guest in their home.

By respecting their customs, following their regulations, and acknowledging their deep connection to the land, you can help protect the area’s natural beauty, preserve its fragile ecosystem, and show that you are a responsible and respectful visitor to their lands.

2. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance

The weather in Havasupai can change rapidly, which could disrupt your hike to Havasu Falls.

Additionally, there are no medical facilities or emergency rescue teams in the village of Supai.

During the colder months or monsoon season, the Havasupai Tribe may abruptly close the Havasu trail. If this happens, you won’t be refunded for your reservation.

In case of injury, medical treatment or transportation out of the canyon could take hours or even days. And the cost of a medical helicopter evacuation is very high.

For these reasons, it is crucial that you have travel insurance that offers sufficient coverage for any unforeseen disruptions to your trip to Havasupai.

3. Start your hike to Havasu Falls as early as possible

The 8 mile section of trail between the Hilltop Trailhead and the Village of Supai is closed each night between sunset and 4:00 a.m.

Aim to start your hike at or before sunrise. The weather will be cooler while the sun is down, you’ll avoid hiking in the midday sun, and you’ll even get to witness the spectacular sunrise in the Grand Canyon.

To get an early start, consider renting accommodation near the reservation or camping at your car in the parking lot at the hilltop.

  • The closest hotels are the Hualapai Lodge and the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, located just outside of the reservation and a little over 1 hour to the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead.
  • Or rent an Airbnb somewhere near Peach Springs, AZ

4. Fill up your gas tank in Peach Springs, Arizona

The last gas station before the Havasupai Falls trailhead is located in Peach Springs, Arizona. Its open from 7AM – 6PM.

Stop here to top off your gas, since it is the only gas station within 100 miles of the trailhead. If you run out of gas on the reservation, you most likely will not be able to get it at all. The locals don’t have gas to give to you.

5.  Fill up your water for the hike

Carry a lot of water for your hike to Havasu Falls. Bring more than you think.

It is really easy to get dehydrated when you hike in the desert because the air is so dry. This is because you’re unaware of how much you’re actually sweating during the hike because the sweat evaporates off your skin so quickly.

It is recommended to bring 3L of water PER PERSON, gatorade or other electrolyte-rich drink, and salty snacks.

There is no water between the Hilltop and Supai village. There is fresh drinking water outside of the tourism office once you reach Supai, as well as at the campground.

6. Carry only what you need

Chances are, you will be carrying 4 days worth of camping gear on your back. And 10 miles over loose rock in the baking sun is a long way to carry an overweighted pack.

Alternatively, there are horses and pack mules available to carry your gear in for you at the trailhead, but be mindful of the numerous reports of animal abuse and neglect against pack animals in Supai. If you are able, please practice responsible animal tourism and carry your own gear. You are stronger than you think.

7. Invest in quality gear

Invest in trekking poles and good/sturdy hiking boots or hiking shoes before you backpack Havasu Falls. This gear will make a world of difference as you are trekking the varied terrain within the canyon.

One of the most important pieces of gear you can invest in is a quality hiking pack. If you need recommendations, here’s a list of the best hiking backpacks for women.

8. Watch out for horse and mule traffic

You’ll be sharing the trail with locals, as this is their only access road between the Hilltop and the village. Mules and horses always have the right of way. When you hear them coming, move off the trail and let them pass.. W

9. Bring a hammock

The entire campground is filled with amazing hammock trees. Chillin in a hammock is the best way to relax after a day of hanging out at the waterfalls.

If hammock camping is your thing, you don’t even need to bring a tent.

10. Trek all the way out

If this is your first time visiting Supai, make the trek out!

The trek out was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done. We were tired, bruised, achey, and sweaty. The path is slightly uphill and the switchbacks seem to drain any energy out of whatever reserves you have left at the end.

But applause by fellows hikers and onlookers awaits you at the top. And the sense of accomplishment when you take the last steps out of the canyon is unparalleled. To know you completed the entire path makes every step worth it.

Tip: On your way out, dump most your water at the base of the hill between the campground and Supai Village. You’ll save yourself the weight of carrying your water 2 miles uphill. Refill your water at the tourism office in the village.

Havasu Campground campsite next to Havasu Creek

Alternative travel: the Havasupai helicopter and pack mules

Havasupai Helicopter

Airwest Helicopters runs between the Hualapai Hilltop and Supai village. It provides an alternative means of transportation if you are unable to hike the 10 miles in or out of the canyon.

The cost for the Havasupai helicopter ride is $85 per person (one way). The helicopter operates on a first-come, first-served basis and runs from 10am until everyone has been accommodated or until it gets dark.

It is recommended to arrive early to avoid long waits.

Havasupai Tribe members have first priority for the helicopter. Passengers are served on a first-come-first-served-basis, but locals generally get priority regardless of when they arrive. So it is important to arrive early to allow yourself enough time in your schedule.

The helicopter will drop you off and pick you up in the village, 2 miles from the campground, and operates only on certain days of the week and times of the year.

Credit card machines are known to be unreliable, so it’s best to bring enough cash.

Click here for the Havasupai helicopter schedule.

Havasu mules

There is an option to ride a horse or hire a mule to carry your gear in and/or out of the Grand Canyon. However, there have been many allegations of animal abuse involving the mules used for transporting supplies and tourists in Havasu Canyon, Arizona.

For this reason, please practice responsible tourism and do not hire a mule to carry your gear through the canyon. You should only be packing what you absolutely need and what you can carry on your back. You are stronger than you think!

What to pack for 4 days/3 nights in Havasupai

When deciding what to pack for 4 days/3 nights in Havasupai, remember that you will be carrying it on your back for the 20 mile round trip hike through the Grand Canyon.

Figuring out what to bring might be a little tricky, especially if this is your first backpacking trip.

Below is a quick list of what you should bring on the Havasu Falls Trail hike:
  • Backpacking backpack: A quality backpacking backpack is essential to carrying your gear comfortably on a long hike. For 4 days, choose a pack between 45-55L, like the Osprey Renn 50. This will give you enough space for essentials without tempting you to overpack.
  • Daypack: You will need a small daypack for your day hikes so that you don’t have to lug your giant backpacking pack around.
  • Tent or hammock: Choose a lightweight tent or hammock that fits you and your gear
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad: Choose a 2 or 3 season sleeping bag if you are visiting in winter, early spring, or late fall. And don’t forget your sleeping pad! You don’t need the fanciest pad out there, but it is essential to a good nights sleep.
  • Hiking clothes
  • Quality hiking boots: Make sure they are comfortable and don’t forget to break them in before you hit the trail!
  • Hiking socks: These are probably one of the most overlooked pieces of gear, but they truly do make all the difference. These Smartwool hiking socks are a game changer.
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder 
  • Backpacking stove, fuel, pots and pans. Bring whatever you need to cook meals. You can also bring no-cook foods if you prefer not to cook.
  • Trekking poles. These are going to save your knees on the downhill and make trekking across the dry river bed so much easier.
  • Sun protection: A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are a MUST.
  • Swimsuit: Bright colors stand out the best in photos!
  • First aid kit: It’s always smart to expect the best and prepare for the worst. This first aid kit has everything you need to treat minor hiking injuries and insect bites.

Read next: What to Pack for Hiking: Essential Gear and Complete Packing List


If you’re planning to photograph Havasu Falls in Arizona, here are some tips to help you capture stunning images:

  1. Leave the drone at home. Drones are strictly prohibited on the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
  2. Photograph the falls at the best time of day: The best time to photograph Havasu Falls is during the late morning or late afternoon. This is when the sun isn’t directly overhead, but is still high enough to light up the canyon floor. If you shoot at sunrise or sunset, you will have harsh shadows because the sun won’t be over the canyon walls yet.
  3. Use a tripod: To capture sharp and detailed images, use a tripod to stabilize your camera. This will also allow you to use slower shutter speed to get those long exposure shots.
    You’ll want a lightweight travel tripod since you have to trek all the way in with it. We use the Sirui Carbon Fiber tripod, which is super light and perfect for backpacking.
  4. Use a polarizing filter: A polarizer helps reduce glare and reflections on the water, allowing you to capture more detail and color in your images.
  5. Bring a wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing the entire scene, including the surrounding landscape and the full height of the falls. A GoPro also works well!
  6. Be patient and flexible: Weather conditions and the amount of people around the falls can impact your photos. Be patient and flexible, and wait for the right moment to capture the perfect shot.
  7. Consider bringing a GoPro. They’re waterproof, ultra light, and small enough to fit in your pocket. A GoPro Hero12 is the perfect options.

Havasupai 4 Day/3 Night Itinerary

All campground reservations are now 4 days/3 nights. This just so happens to be the perfect amount of time for seeing everything that Havasupai has to offer.

Here’s a sample itinerary to make the most of your time:

The day before: Arrive in Arizona

On this day, arrive in the area and prepare for your hike.

We flew into Las Vegas around 11:30PM and got a hotel there for the night. But Vegas is a 3.5 hour drive to the Havasupai trailhead, so we had to start our drive at 3AM the next morning in order to begin our hike at sunrise. Personally, I would not recommend doing that because it made for a really long day and we were completely exhausted.

Instead, the easiest thing to do is to stay at or near the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead so you can get a good nights sleep. Here are your options:

  • Sleep in your car or pitch your tent at the Hualapai Hilltop the night before
  • Stay at the Hualapai Lodge or the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, located just outside of the reservation and a little over 1 hour to the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead.
  • Rent an Airbnb somewhere near Peach Springs, AZ

Day 1: Hike to Havasupai

Today’s the day! Wake up early, pack up your things, and start your hike down the Havasupai trail.

We started our hike about 20 minutes before sunrise, which meant we got to see the sunrise illuminate the top of the Grand Canyon. We were halfway into the descent on the canyon wall when suddenly the entire rim of the canyon turned a brilliant gold. To this day, it’s burned into my memory as one of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever seen.

A lot of people make the mistake of starting their hike to Havasupai too late in the day. While 8 or 9AM might seem early, it starts to get unbearably hot as soon as the sun rises over the canyon walls. The 10 mile hike to Havasupai takes roughly 4-5 hours and you’ll end up cooking in the heat the entire way.

Instead, start your hike between 4-6AM so you can take your time and take advantage of the cool morning air.

You will know you have reached Supai when a village pops up out of nowhere. Stop by the tourist office to pick up your wristband and then continue on to the campground.

Day 2: Day hike to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls

Plan to explore the lower Havasupai waterfalls. Start with a hike to Mooney Falls and then continue to Beaver Falls. The hike from the Havasupai Campground to Beaver Falls is roughly 6 miles round trip. It will take you about 5-6 hours, including a stop at Mooney Falls.

When you get back, stop by the little food stand at the front of the campground to try Navajo tacos and fry bread!

Day 3: Relax and explore the upper waterfalls

Day 3 in Havasupai to take it easy, chill in your hammock, and explore Fifty Foot Falls, Little Navajo Falls, and Havasu Falls. These falls are close to the Havasupai campground and you can easily see them without too much effort.

I recommend starting with Havasu Falls because it’s the most popular and will get crowded later in the day.

Day 4: Hike out

Time to say goodbye to Havasu Falls and make the 10 mile hike back out to the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot.

Mentally prepare yourself because the return trip is actually harder than the hike in. It’s slightly uphill for about 8 miles and finishes with two miles of steep switchbacks up the canyon wall. Fun, right?!

But if this is your first time backpacking Havasupai, making the trek out is all part of the experience.

Start the trek out before sunrise. It will take you slightly longer than the hike in. Plan for about 5-8 hours, depending on your fitness level.

It was one of the most difficult treks I’ve done, mostly because of the switchbacks at the end. When we reached the canyon wall, we were so tired, our legs felt like bricks, and we were basically dragging ourselves up the final ascent.

But when we looked up, we saw a crowd of people cheering us on from the top, which gave us the motivation to push through. When we finally took our last steps out of the canyon, the applause by fellow hikers and sense of accomplishment was unparalleled.

To make your life easier, rent a hotel room near the trailhead in Peach springs, Seligman or Kingman, AZ.

The day after:

Drive or fly back home or extend your trip to explore the area.

There are so many incredible places to explore in this area of the American Southwest, like:

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce National Park
  • Las Vegas
  • Valley of Fire
  • Lake Powell
  • The Hoover Dam
  • Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
  • Sedona

Or see it all on this Las Vegas to Sedona Road Trip!


How long is the hike to Havasu Falls

The hike to Havasu Falls in Arizona is approximately 10 miles each way, starting from the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot. The hike can take around 4-6 hours each way depending on your fitness level and hiking experience. It’s important to come well-prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate hiking gear, especially during hot weather.

How long does it take to hike to Havasu Falls

The hike in takes most people 4-6 hours and the hike out takes 5-8 hours.

Can you hike Havasu Falls without a reservation?

No, it’s not possible to hike to Havasu Falls without a reservation. Havasu Falls is located within the Havasupai Indian Reservation, and a permit is required to visit the falls and hike in the area. The number of permits issued each day is limited to protect the natural resources and ensure a quality visitor experience. Therefore, it’s essential to make a reservation before your visit. Without a reservation, you will not be allowed to enter the Havasupai Indian Reservation and hike to the falls.

You can only obtain a Havasupai permit through the official Havasupai website.

Can you hike to Havasu Falls in one day?

You technically could hike to Havasu Falls in one day if you’re a fast hiker, but I wouldn’t recommend it. First off, you still need to pay full price for a permit. Each permit is a minimum of 4 days/3 nights, which comes to about $300-375/person. Secondly, the hike to Havasu Falls is about 20 miles round trip from the Hualapai Trailhead over dry river bed. The hike in is demanding and doesn’t make for a great day hike, especially in the heat.

What is the best month to hike Havasupai Falls?

The best month to visit Havasu Falls is from March to May and September to November. During these months, the weather is milder, and the temperatures are cooler, making it more comfortable to hike and camp in the area. Additionally, the water flow is typically higher during these months, creating more vibrant and beautiful waterfalls.

During the summer months, from June to August, the weather can be extremely hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F (38°C). Monsoons and sudden storms can also make hiking and camping in the area challenging and potentially dangerous.

Why is Havasu Falls blue?

The blue-green color of Havasu Falls is due to its high mineral content. The water flows over travertine, which is a type of limestone formed by the precipitation of minerals from the water. The minerals in the water, particularly calcium carbonate, create a bright blue-green color which makes it appear almost turquoise.

The blue color of the water is further enhanced by the sunlight reflecting off the water’s surface, which intensifies the color and makes it even more vibrant.

Is the Havasu Falls Hike dog friendly?

No, the hike to Havasu Falls is not dog-friendly. Dogs and other pets are not permitted in the Havasupai Indian Reservation or on the trails to the falls.

Is the Havasu Falls Hike kid-friendly?

According to the official Havasupai website, bringing young children on the Havasu Falls hike is not recommended due to the many challenges and hazards, including distance, elevation, extreme weather, lack of medical facilities, and of how remote it is.

Did you find this Havasu Falls hiking guide helpful in planning your trip to Havasupai? Let me know in the comments!

More Arizona and Havasupai Trail Guides

Havasupai: How to Hike Beaver Falls in Havasupai Arizona

Havasupai: Guide to the Mooney Falls Hike in Havasupai AZ

US Southwest: Las Vegas to Sedona Road Trip (3 Jam-Packed Itineraries to See it All in Less Time)

Sedona: Hiking Guide to the Hidden Birthing Cave in Sedona, Arizona (A Hidden Gem!)

Essential hiking and road trip resources

Best hiking backpacks: Best Hiking Backpacks for Women: Find the Perfect Hiking Pack for Your Next Adventure

Hiking essentials: What to Pack for a Day Hike: Essential Gear and Complete Packing List

Plan your road trip: How to Use Google Maps to Plan Your Next Road Trip (Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples)

Jackie - Adventure Travel Blogger and Author at The Adventures Atlas
( Adventure Travel Expert )

Hi, I’m Jackie! I’m a travel photographer and content creator based near the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. I’m also a millennial who works full-time, yet I still find ways to travel frequently without breaking the bank, because traveling is what makes me feel most alive. Now I help fellow travelers who also work 9-5 and are looking for ways to travel more with limited PTO.


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  2. […] more: Everything To Know Before Hiking Havasupai […]

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