Havasu Falls is located in the small village of Havasupai, Arizona.
Getting to Havasu Falls
Just getting to the trailhead is a bit challenging! We stayed in Flagstaff the night before and then woke up at 4:00 to drive to the trailhead! The drive from Flagstaff was about 3 hours. From Phoenix it’s 4.5 and from Las Vegas it’s 3.5. The earlier you get to the trailhead, the better, as it gets hotter later in the day!
From the trailhead we hiked first to the Havasupai village, which was 8 miles, and then another 2 miles to Havasu Falls and the campgrounds. I would recommend bringing at least two water bottles and some snacks to munch on throughout the hike to keep you energized. The hike took us about 4 and a half hours, but that was with a lot of breaks! If you aren’t down to hike, there are mules or helicopters you can take into the canyon as well. Both are much more expensive, and helicopters are very dependent on weather conditions.
You can hire a mule to carry luggage into the canyon. Just make sure to reserve this ahead of time, as we learned the hard way that if you don’t have a reservation they will not allow you to put your luggage on the mules!
Where to stay in Havasu Falls
As far for accommodations, you can either stay at the lodge in the village, which while it may have a solid roof and easy access to the village store is 2 miles from the closest waterfall, or you may stay on the campgrounds, which is cheaper and more exciting (in my opinion) than the lodge. It is also right next to many of the waterfalls. You usually have to book months in advance, but with much persistence we were able to get a reservation a few weeks before we left.
We brought a tent, changes of clothes, and enough food for two meals and snacks. The meals can vary depending on the equipment you have, but we stayed with the bare essentials so our meals were commonly beef turkey and tuna! There were also food stands in the campgrounds that sold hot dogs and tacos which were actually quite delicious! The campground was about 60 dollars a person. If you choose to do the hike without a reservation, you will be fined once you reach the village as day hikes are not allowed, and rumor had it that the fine was 80 dollars.
We ended up taking a helicopter out of the village, which cost $85 a person. We just didn’t think we could make the 10 miles back out of the canyon with all of our gear!
How much time do you need there
In order to fully enjoy Havasu Falls, I would recommend staying two nights. Once you get your tent set up and settled from the hike, it will likely be after noon. You will want to spend a few hours swimming and admiring Havasu falls, but there are other falls to explore beyond the campgrounds, the first of them being Mooney falls. Unless you rush, you will not have enough time to see all of the other falls the same day, as the rangers do not allow you to hike past the campground after a certain time. You will also likely be exhausted from the hike in and will want to take your time seeing the falls and enjoying them! The day you want to leave is also a very early day. If you want to hike out, most people start between 3:00 and 4:00 am, and in order to get a helicopter out, you have to be in line by 8:30 in order to ensure you get a spot.
When is the best time visit Havasu Falls
High season is definitely during the summer, so I would avoid going between late May and August, but other than that it hardly ever gets too crowded since there is a limit on how many people can stay a night. Winter may prove to be a bit cold for swimming and camping comfortably. We went in early May, and I would say this was the perfect time as it wasn’t too hot and it hadn’t gotten too crowded with summer tourists yet!
What to do there
While you definitely want to spend a few hours swimming and enjoying Havasu Falls (the most famous waterfall here), be sure to not miss out on the other falls! Mooney Falls was huge in comparison to Havasu and the journey down to see it is quite exciting! You basically scale the side of a cliff while grasping onto chains nailed into the mountain! You also get to go through a few caves! This journey down is definitely not for the faint of heart, but the views are completely worth it! Once you go down to Mooney Falls, you can continue on the trail down to Beaver Falls and a few others that are quite beautiful.
What not to do
Do not forget to reserve a mule ahead of time for luggage!! The people who run this campground are no joke and are pretty strict when it comes to reservations. We thought we could reserve a mule the day of to take our tent down, and we were very wrong. We ended up having to leave behind sleeping pads and sleeping bags in order to carry our tent the whole ten miles, a task that was very difficult, and suffered all night because we were not only sleeping on bare ground inside the tent, but it was freezing as well!! At around 2 am the girls I was with decided it was best if we all cuddled for warmth, and even though this somewhat helped, a sleeping bag would have made a huge difference!
Why should Havasu Falls be on my bucket list?
Every aspect of this trip took my breath away, beginning with the first sight of the canyon from the trailhead. I don’t think so many views have taken my breath away like they did on this journey. The hike in is absolutely amazing and you don’t even see the falls for ten miles! And then when you finally do see the falls, they are even more spectacular than any picture you have ever seen of them. This is also such a rare experience that so few people get to do in their lifetime, as the falls are one of the most isolated places in the USA, and that makes the experience even more special. I cannot recommend doing this trip enough!!
Much of my story was covered in the details above, but I can summarize it all very quickly. As far as logistics go, everything we did was a failure. Woke up and arrived late to the trailhead, we ended up having to carry our 25 pound tent ten miles into the Grand Canyon, we slept on the bare ground and froze to death all night, we didn’t know if the weather would hold for us to get a helicopter out of the canyon, and we almost ran out of gas (by the way, the closest gas station is 70 miles so make sure you are prepared), but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything! We laughed off the hardships and were able to witness some of the most gorgeous nature in the USA and probably the world. We made new friends on the campground who we were able to share our experiences with, and we walked away dangerous women for having conquered such a trip (yes, we played the Ariana Grande song over and over when we finished). Everyone should experience this magical place and I cannot recommend it enough!!
Did we miss something out, or do you have something to add? Comment below ! 🙂