Havasu Falls Hike: The Ultimate Planning Guide

Havasu Falls

The Havasu Falls hike in Arizona is an unforgettable experience waiting for you! We have everything you need to know in order to plan your ultimate Arizona waterfall trip!

Everything from permits and reservations to the best time to visit Havasu Falls and campground information, we have the ultimate Havasu Falls hike guide below!

Havasu Falls Hike

Where is Havasu Falls?

Havasu Falls is located within the Havasupai Tribal Lands in the Grand Canyon of Coconino county, Arizona. As a result, Havasupai reservation is considered one of the most remote Native American reservations in the United States.

Havasu Falls Facts

  • What Does Havasupai Mean |“Havasu” translates to “blue-green water” where “Pai” translates to “people”. Thus, the complete translation of Havauspai means the “blue-green water people.”
  • How Long is The Havasu Falls Hike | The Havasu Falls hike is a total of 10 miles (16 kilometers). It takes 8 miles to get to Supai, the village where you check in, and then another 2 miles until you reach the campgrounds. 
  • Why is Havasu Falls Blue | The waters of Havasupai get their strikingly blue color due to the large amounts of calcium carbonate deposits found in the waters. 
  • Who Discovered Havasu Falls | The Havasupai were the first to discover the falls as they called the area, and waterfall their home for centuries. However, it wasn’t until 1776 that the first documented European encounter with Spanish priest Francisco Garces spoke of the Havasupai people and their land.
  • Is Havasu Falls Part of The Grand Canyon | Havasu Falls lie within Havasu Canyon, which is a part of the Grand Canyon but not a part of Grand Canyon National Park.
  • How Tall is Havasu Falls | 98 feet (30 meters) tall
  • Havasupai Trailhead Elevation | 5,174 feet (1,577 meters)
  • Total Elevation Gain | 2,500 feet (762 meters)
Havasu Waterfall

When to Visit Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls campground is only open from February to November every year. Reservations/permits are required to access the falls and campgrounds.

Havasu Falls in Winter (February)

February is cold and not ideal for swimming, but if you are looking for solitude away from the crowds, February is your month.

Havasu Falls in Spring (March – May)

Spring is a great time of year to visit Havasu Falls. The weather is warm during the day, perfect for hiking and cool at night, perfect for sleeping.

Swimming will be chilly, but all in all, spring is a great time of year to visit.

Hiking into Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls in Summer (June – August)

The summer months are HOT. Like real hot.

Temperatures will reach 100+ during the day which can make hiking and camping a little brutal. The cool, refreshing waters of Havasupai are a welcome relief from the summer heat.

The summer months are also the most popular months for Havasu Falls. Which could make getting permits for summer a bit challenging.

Another important thing about the summer months is that July, August, and September are consider monsoon season (or the rainy season) for Havasupai Falls.

Flash floods are unpredictable and in past years, evacuations had to happen to ensure visitor safety.

Havasu Falls in Autumn (September – November)

We can speak from personal experience that visiting Havasu Falls in Autumn is a great plan! We visited Havasupai from October 7th – October 10th and the weather was perfect!

Warm days, perfect for swimming and cool nights, perfect for camping and the best part, no rain. We had clear sunny days every day!

Below is a Weather Channel overview of average temperatures and average precipitations for a year.

Monthly Average Forecast for Havasu Falls

How Many Days to Spend at Havasu Falls?

As of 2019, all campground reservations for Havasu Falls are for 3 nights and 4 days. That’s how long we went for and we must say it was AMAZING.

The 3 night / 4 day reservation was the perfect amount of time to see the beautiful waterfalls that lay within Havasupai.

Keep reading to check out our Havasu Falls Hike Itinerary! It’s just below.

Havasupai Falls Permit & Cost

Is a permit required to hike Havasu Falls? Yes!

The only way to see the Havasupai waterfalls is to obtain a Havasupai Falls permit. Havasupai Fall permits go on sale February 1st and will sell out for the entire year within the first hour of sales going live. Therefore, be ready to buy when they go on sale!

Day trips to Havasu Falls is not an option. If you want to see some amazing Arizona waterfalls, you’ll need a permit to do so!

Get our complete guide on Havasu Falls permits, permit fees and everything else you need to know about Havasu Fall reservations!

Havasu Falls Permit

How To Get To Havasu Falls

Let us preface that getting to Havas Falls is difficult. In other words, everything from airplanes to car rides to hiking, there is no real quick or direct way to get to the beautiful lands of the Havasupai. 

Airports Close to Havasu Falls

First things first, you’ll need to get to the state of Arizona. If you are wondering what airpots to fly into, there are several airports that are close to Havasu Falls and make great jumping off points for your journey.

  • McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona

Once safe and sound on the ground, you’ll need to grab a rental car, van or RV and drive the several hour drive to Peach Springs (the closest town) or the Havasupai Trailhead.

Havasupai Tribal Lands Entrance

Flagstaff to Havasu Falls Trailhead

The closet airport to the Havasu Falls hike is Pulliam International Airport in Flagstaff. The drive from Flagstaff to Havasu Falls trailhead is 169 miles (272 kms) and will take you around 3 hours to drive.

Las Vegas to Havasu Falls Trailhead

The second closest airport to Havasu Falls is McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. The drive from Las Vegas to Havasu Falls trailhead is 223 miles (359 kms) and will take you around 4 hours to drive.

Phoenix to Havasu Falls Trailhead

For those of you wanting to travel from Phoenix, the drive from Phoenix to Havasu Falls trailhead is 263 miles (423 kms) and will take you around 4.5 hours to drive – thus, making Phoenix the furthest of the three airports from Havasu Falls.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER to fill up on gas before you turn onto Indian Road 18 – your on that for 60 miles and there is nothing on that road. It’s Indian Road 18 that dead ends at the trailhead.

Prior to hitting Indian Road 16, Make sure to fill up in Peach Springs or Seligman before heading to the trailhead. Peach Springs is 70 miles from the Trailhead and Seligman is 90 miles from the trailhead.

Where to Stay The Night Before The Havasu Falls Hike

Are you wondering where to stay the night before hiking to Havasupai? Well, you have two options.

  1. A hotel in Peach Springs, Arizona
  2. Sleeping at the Havasupai Trailhead

Option 1: Peach Springs, Arizona

If you decide to stay in Peach Springs, Arizona understand that Peach Springs is a 1.5-hour drive to the trailhead of Havasupai. Meaning, if you want to start your hike at sunrise, consequently your wakeup call at Peach Springs is going to be an early one.

Option 2: Havasupai Trailhead

If you decide to stay at the Havasupai Trailhead, be sure to get to the parking lot before dark. Parking spots are first come first serve and if you arrive after dark, finding a decent spot may be a bit challenging.

The trailhead has no accommodations or services (besides a toilet), which means you’ll be sleeping in your vehicle the night before the hike. In addition, there is no cell phone reception at the trailhead so be sure to get your last minute calls and texts in before you arrive.

Really and truly, it’s up to personal preference on what works best for you. For us, we slept at the trailhead, but we had rented a RV, so our stay was very comfortable.

If you are wondering where to park for Havasu Falls, you’ll park your vehicle at the Havasupai Trailhead parking lot. Additionally, make sure valuables are out of site and your vehicle is locked.

Beginning of the hike at Havasupai Trailhead

How Long Does it Take to Hike to Havasupai Falls?

This answer truly depends on the individuals fitness level, but you can estimate the hike to Havasu Falls to take anywhere from 4.5 – 7 hours.  This time includes the time needed to “check in” at the Tourism Office once you get to Supai Village.

For reference, however long it took you to hike into Havasu Falls, add another hour or two onto that to give you an estimate on how long it will take you to hike back to the trailhead.

What Time To Start Your Hike to Havasu Falls?

Begin your hike as early as possible to…

  1. Avoid hiking in the heat
  2. Get a primo campsite

Campsites are first come first serve at the Havasupai Campground so if you want a good spot, be sure to arrive early!

Our recommended time to start your hike to Havasu Falls at dawn or slightly before.

For example, we woke up at 5:00 am, got our gear and selves together and started our hike from the Havasupai Trailhead at 5:45 am / 6:00 am.

Do You Need Hiking Boots for Havasupai?

Yes, yes and yes. The trail consists of loose rock, gravel and really uneven at some parts. Most importantly, if you are hiking to Havasu Falls and carrying a pack, you’ll want all the ankle support you can get.

Hiking to Havasu Falls in sandals is not recommended. However you should make sure you have sandals with for all the swimming you’ll be doing!

Get our complete Havasu Falls Packing Checklist right here!

Drinking Water on The Havasu Falls Hike

Be sure to have your reusable water bottles and Camelbak’s filled up before you depart the trailhead! There is no water fill stations on the hike into Havasu Falls.

The first water station will be at the beginning of the campsite where you can find a fresh water spring.

Trash Cans on the Havasu Falls Trail

There are no trash bins on the trail. In other words, please DO NOT be a crappy human and litter. Keep all your trash in your pack for the duration of the hike and dispose of it properly.

One you reach the Supai Village, there is a trash bin for you to throw whatever trash away.  

Havasu Falls Trail Views

Havasupai Fall Hike Difficulty

The hike to Havasu Falls is considered a moderate to difficult hike. Of course, the real answer to this depends on your fitness level. If this is your first “big hike”, not used to carrying weight or hiking for several hours on end, you might find this hike to be difficult.

However, if you have a few hikes under your belt, are used to hiking with some weight and have experience with elevation gains, this hike shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

For us, the hike in was easy where the hike out was definitely a bit more challenging. Overall, we found the Havasupai Falls hike to be moderate and completely doable for someone who is fairly fit.

About The Hike to Havasupai

In general, the hike to Havasu Falls is MUCH easier than hiking out and back to the trailhead.

On the way to Havasu Falls, the steepest part of the hike is at the beginning. The first 1 to 1.5 miles you’ll descend 2,500 feet, from the trailhead, into the Grand Canyon. Once on the Grand Canyon floor, the trail levels out to mostly flat hiking, outside a few downward sections here and there.   

The way back is a different story. You’ll experience much more inclines on the way back to Havasupai Trailhead. Majority of this inclines are short and gradual except at the end. In order to reach the top of the Trailhead, you’ll need to hike up, up and up!

The last 1 to 1.5 miles, you are trekking up hill and on switchbacks, gaining 2,500 feet of elevation in the period of an hour or two.

How To Get To Havasu Falls Campground

In order to get to the Havasu Falls campground, you have two options:

  1. Hike (with or without pack mules)
  2. Fly via helicopter

Hiking To Havasu Falls

The most cost-effective way to get to Havasu Falls is to carry your own gear and hike the 10 miles from the Havasupai Trailhead to the campground.

From the trailhead, you’ll hike 8 miles on flat, but rocky, loose terrain to the village of Supai. It is here at the village where you’ll check in and get your permits for the campground.

IMPORTANT! BE SURE TO BRING your Havasupai Permit confirmation email (printed out or screenshot), your photo ID and your license plate number. You must have all of these at the time of check in in order to be given your pass to access the campground.

Once you have campground passes secured, you’ll have to hike another 2-miles on a very dusty trail until you reach the campgrounds of Havasupai.

Hiking the Canyon to Havasupai

Hiking To Havasu Falls with Pack Mules

If you are an “over-packer” hiring pack mules to carry your stuff to the campground is an option. You will still have to hike the 10 miles, but your gear will be picked up at the trailhead and carried to the campground entrance for you via pack mule.

Havasu Pack Mule Information

  • You must reserve your pack mule ahead of time
  • The cost for one pack mule is $400 (round trip)
  • Each pack mule can carry up to 4 bags
  • The maximum weight of each bag cannot exceed 32 pounds
  • Bags going to the campground must be checked in at Havasu Trailhead before 10am and are estimated to arrive at the campground around 3pm that day
  • Bags going back to the Trailhead must be checked in at the campground entrance before 7am and should arrive at the Trailhead around 12pm that day

We witnessed a lot of bag delays during our stay at the campground. The above arrival times are not guaranteed which left some folks without their gear until well into the afternoon – aka they missed out on prime campsites as campsites are on a first come first serve basis.

Havasu Pack Mules Animal Abuse & Welfare

We would be remised if we did not share that over the years, the care and welfare of the pack mules, donkeys and horses have been in question. Unfortunately, these animals are running heavy loads several times a day, every day, for 10 months out of the year.

While the tribe says they have increased their standard of care for these animals, it is our suggestion you pack light and carry your own gear into the campground if you are able to – embrace the adventure!

Hiking to Havasu Falls

Havasupai Helicopter

If hiking the 20 miles round trip sounds daunting, then you are able to hire a helicopter that will cut your trip down from 20 miles to 4 miles.

Airwest Helicopters is the servicer that provides rides to and from Supai village – weather permitting.

Note that if you take the helicopter, it does not take you directly to the Havasupai Campgrounds. You’ll still have to hike the two miles (4 miles round trip) from Supai Village to the campground with your gear.

Havasupai Helicopter Information

  • Cost: $85 + a $10 credit card transaction fee ($95 one way)
  • Reservations: Reservations cannot be made in advance. It is a first come first serve basis. Show up at Hualapai Hilltop and sign in before 10am on the day you wish to depart. 
  • Pick Up Location: The Havasupai helicopter picks up passengers right before the main parking area of the Havasupai Trailhead
  • Drop Off Point: The Havasupai helicopter will not take you directly the campground. The helicopter ride will drop you off at the “tourism check in office” in the village of Supai. From here, you will need to hike the 2 miles to the Havasu Campground.
  • Departure Location: The helicopter will pick you up at the same place it dropped you off in Supai village – across the way from the tourism check in office.
  • Tips:
    • Arrive early to secure your spot in line as passengers are accommodated on a first come first serve basis on departure day
    • Each person is allowed to bring one pack that should not weigh more than 40 lbs
    • The helicopter ride is about a 10-15-minute ride

Havasupai Helicopter Flight Schedule

  • March 15 to October 15:
    • Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm
    • Monday: 10 am to 1 pm
    • Thursday: 10 am to 1 pm
    • Friday: 10 am to 1 pm
  • October 16 to March 14:
    • Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm
    • Friday: 10 am to 1 pm
Hiking to Mooney Falls

Havasupai Campground

The campground of Havasupai is about one mile in length and camping is only allowed in the areas between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls.

Campsites are a first come first serve basis so if you want a certain spot, arrive to the Havasu campgrounds early.

You can think of the Havasupai campground as one long strip that can be broken up into three sections – the front, the middle and the back.

The Front Section

The front section of the Havasupai campgrounds is the closest to Havasu Falls and Navajo Falls as well as the freshwater spring (drinking water) and two sets of toilet houses.

If you are having your bags carried in by pack mules, the front is the closet to the campground entrance where you’ll pick up your bags.

Havasu Campground

The Middle Section

There are a variety of campsites to choose from in the middle section of the Havasupai campgrounds. Campsites can be founds on islands surrounded by water, directly off the trail or nestled along the river.

The middle of the campground is the even ground between the waterfalls and hikes in the area and a short walk from toilets and freshwater.

Havasu Falls Campsite

The Back Section

The furthest from Havasupai Falls and Navajo Falls but the closet to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls is the back section of the Havasupai campground.

While the back of the campgrounds do have their own set of restrooms, there is no freshwater spring water for drinking. You’ll have to walk to the front of the campgrounds for fresh water.

The back section is often boasted as the better place to stay as majority of these campsites are on “islands” that are surrounded by Havasu Creek.

Keep in mind that when you are hiking in and out, the back of the campground will add on an extra .5 mile to your journey

Havasu Falls Campsite

If you are looking for the best place to camp at Havasu, in our opinion, shoot for the middle or the back sections of the campground. We stayed in the middle and absolutely loved it!

TIP: Be wary of the “island campsites”, especially if you are camping with rain in the forecast. You’d hate to have the creek unexpectedly rise and turn your campsite into a flooded mess.

Amenities at Havasu Falls

While Havasu Falls is a ways away from the creature comforts you may be used to, don’t think you’ll be left in the wilderness fending for yourself! Below is a list of amenities you can find at Havasupai and the campgrounds.

Supai Village General Store

Before you even get to the campgrounds, you’ll walk passed the Supai Village General Store. Here you can buy an assortment of random items like candy, soda, peanut butter, decks of cards, hand lotion and a souvenir t-shirt if you wish.

Cash is preferred but credit cards are accepted with a $10 minimum.

Havasu Drinking Water

There is a freshwater spring at the campsite, and it is said the water is completely safe to drink without doing any extra purification treatments. While that may be good and true, we took the better safe than sorry route to avoid any camping “tummy troubles.”

Drinking Water at Havasupai

Havasu Showers

There are no showers at the Havasupai campgrounds.

If you are wanting to get your shower on, plan on packing and carrying in a shower bag. Also, please, please, please use environmentally friendly soap and shampoo when washing yourself or your dishes.

Havasu Toilets / Bathrooms

Now don’t you worry, there are plenty of bathrooms and toilets at Havasu campgrounds. There are 8 toilets in the front and 6 towards the back of the campgrounds.

The toilets are composting toilets aka non-flush toilets. The Supai Tribe do a great job keeping the bathrooms clean and stocked with toilet paper – at least that was our experience 🙂

If you are worried about toilet paper, consider bringing your own with you.

Bathrooms at Havasu Campgrounds

Havasu Falls Campground Trash

PLEASE do not litter or leave trash behind! Whatever trash you make during your stay at Havasu, plan on carrying it out.

There are trash cans in the Supai Village that you can empty your garbage at before hiking the rest of the way to the trailhead.

These lands are beautiful, so let’s keep them that way.

TIP: Keep your trash out of reach from critters. They WILL tear through your trash if they are able to which will in turn make one big, gigantic mess for you to clean up. Place trash is odor resistant bags that are out of reach (think hanging from a tree)

Havasupai Cell Phone Reception

Believe it or not, there is cell phone reception at Havasupai! In the village of Supai you can find 3G cell phone reception.

However, at the campgrounds and at Havasu Falls itself, there is no reception.

Havasu Falls Food

Outside of the General Store in the Supai village, you won’t find much in the way of food for purchase. The selection at the general store is fairly limited so be sure to bring the essentials with you.

In between the Supai village and Havasu Falls, you can find a “frybread” hut where Supai’s sell their tasty breads that you can purchase for cash.

Frybread at Havasu

Outside of that, it’s imperative you bring your own food in and have proper storage to protect your food from being eaten by the squirrels and raccoons.

TIP: The critters are NO JOKE and will pick your food clean if you do not store it properly. Bring odor resistant bags to store your food in and hang all your food from a rope.

Havasu Falls Hike Itinerary

As mentioned above, all Havasupai permits are for 4 days / 3 nights. Below is a pretty spectacular Havasu Falls itinerary that lets you see some of the best Arizona waterfalls!

Day 1: Hike to Havasupai Falls Campground

  • Begin your day at dawn with an 8-mile hike to the Supai Village where you will check in for your campground permit.
  • Carry on for 2 miles until you reach Havasupai Campgrounds. On your way, you’ll pass your first two waterfalls of Havasupai, Navajo Falls and Havasu Falls!
  • Arrive to your campsite late morning / early afternoon. Pick a campsite and setup camp!
  • Make lunch and have an afternoon cup of coffee.
  • Head to Havasu Falls and just chill. Get loads of pictures and watch the sunset
  • Go to bed early and get ready for your first full day at Havasupai!

Day 2: Hike to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls

  • Wake up early, make some breakfast and get your day started, you have some hiking to do!
  • Today is a big hike day with 0.5 miles to Mooney Falls and then 3-mile hike to Beaver Falls
  • Spend your day exploring and swimming in Mooney and Beaver Falls before making your way back to camp before sunset

Day 3: Chill Out at Navajo Falls and Havasu Falls

  • Your last and final day is going to be a chill day so you can be rested and prepped for your hike out tomorrow!
  • Hike the 0.5 miles to Navajo Falls where you’ll spend majority of the day basking in the sun and swimming in the cool pools
  • Once you’ve had our fill, hike back to Havasu Falls and soak in your last minute with her

Day 4: Hike Back to Havasupai Trailhead

  • For us, we woke up at 3 a.m., packed up camp and were off hiking back to the trailhead by 4 a.m.
  • Why such an early start? We’ll we were heading to the Grand Canyon after our hike and wanted to get there as soon as possible!
  • It will take you longer to hike out than it did to hike in. As mentioned above, you’ll be going uphill versus downhill this time
  • The hike in took us around 4 hours and the out took us around 5 hours. Plan accordingly
Havasu Falls Waterfall

Havasu Falls Don’ts & Fines

With the amount of visitors Havasupai get every year, the tribe has enforced rules to ensure the safety of their land, it’s visitors and to keep this beautiful place enjoyable for all.  The below list is strictly prohibited:

  • Cliff jumping or rock climbing
  • Campfires
  • Littering
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Drones
  • Photos of the Supai Village – respect their privacy

Is Havasu Falls Crowded?

Yes and no. While the permits for Havasu do sell out every year, not once did we ever feel overwhelmed by people. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of people but we never felt bothered by the crowds.

When we were hiking, we weren’t stuck behind trails of people and when we wanted to watch sunset, we were able to find a quiet place.

The people that visit Havasu understand the beauty of this place and want to respect the land and enjoy it, just like you 🙂

relaxing at Havasu Falls

Is Havasupai Kid-Friendly?

Absolutely! When we were at Havasu we met a family that hiked with their 6-month old baby to families that had 10+ year old kids. Really and truly, Havasu is a great family adventure!

Our only tip is to make sure your kids are accustomed to hiking. This definitely shouldn’t be their first foray into hiking and camping.

Is Havasupai Dog-Friendly?

It sure is! When we were at Havasu in October, we met a friendly German Shepard who was loving playing in the waters of Havasupai.

While Havasupai is dog friendly, bringing your furry little friend can be a challenge. If you are wanting to explore Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls, you won’t be able to hike their with your pup.

The hike to these falls are too steep and require a little mountaineering, making it impossible for your dog to tag along.

Is Havasu Falls Worth It?

A desert oasis is the only way we can describe Havasupai.

The campgrounds you stay at are surrounded by four beautiful waterfalls. The waterfalls are massive, beautiful and quite honestly will render you speechless.

At the base of Mooney Falls

The combinations of piercing blue water against the red-dirt earth and green foliage is a color combination that doesn’t normally live together, but in Havasu, it’s the standard color pallet.

The Havasu Falls hike is beyond worth it! This place is a treasure that is shared with few in the world who are lucky enough to experience it.

WANT MORE INFORMATION ON ARIZONA?!

Arizona Road Trip: One Epic 2 Week Itinerary

Grand Canyon Day Trip Itinerary

Havasupai Falls Permit: A Complete Reservation Guide


PIN IT FOR LATER!

Havasu Falls Hike Planning Guide Pin

For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, Pinterest and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

2 Replies to “Havasu Falls Hike: The Ultimate Planning Guide”

  1. Awesome content! I can’t wait to plan a trip there and use all of these helpful and very detailed recommendations! Thank you!

    1. Hey, hey! It’s well worth the trip. We loved every second and we will definitely be back one day.

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