If you haven’t been to Havasu Falls, you are missing out on an incredibly magical experience! Havasu Falls is situated in the Havasupai Indian Reservation, about four hours from Grand Canyon Village. It is a must-see for avid hikers and anyone looking for an awe-inspiring experience.
However, this beautiful area attracts thousands of visitors per year and reservations fill up fast. As day hiking is not allowed, there is no way to visit the place without a reservation, so the only way to experience the beauty of the area is to book a camping spot.
To help you get ready before heading out to Havasu Falls, we will highlight everything you need to know about camping there, including permit reservations, what gear to bring, and how to have the best camping experience.
There are a lot of important things that you need to bring when you’re going camping. Because of that, packing can get a bit overwhelming. We listed all the camping items you’ll need for the great outdoors to help you make sure that you have everything that you need for your camping trip.
Getting to Havasu Falls
Located at the Hualapai Hilltop, the Havasu Falls trailhead is more or less a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and approximately five hours from Phoenix.
To get to the trailhead from Las Vegas:
- Take Highway 93 southward to Kingman, Arizona.
- Continue east on Route 66.
- Drive for 57 miles.
- If you are already at the Indian Road 18, turn left.
- Drive for 60 miles until you finally reach the end of the road.
- You’ve now reached the trailhead.
At the trailhead, you will find a large parking lot with bathrooms, and below the bathrooms is a place to camp. However, there is no water available along this trailhead. The nearest place to the trailhead with basic services is in Peach Springs, Arizona.
From the trailhead, you can hike to Havasu Falls Campground, which is ten miles away. The trailhead begins at a descent that will take you to Havasu Canyon. This trail can be a little sandy and there is no place for a water refill, so make sure you bring enough to stay hydrated.
After 7.5 miles, you will get to the village of Supai, where you can get your tent tag and wristband at the Havasupai Ranger Office. Make sure you keep your wristband on during the course of your stay. Rangers do rounds daily to make sure each tent is properly tagged.
The Best Time to Visit
The activities that you want to do will determine the best time to visit Havasu Falls. Whether you want to swim or avoid the crowds, here are the advantages and disadvantages of visiting the place during different seasons.
Summer or Early Fall
- The hot weather will allow you to hang out in the water longer.
- The hot temperatures can be dangerous during a hike.
- As this is the busiest season, it can be crowded.
- June and August correspond to the monsoon season, so you might encounter thunderstorms, flash floods, and monsoons.
Spring and Late Fall
- Less people.
- Less bugs.
- Less than ideal swimming temperatures due to variable weather.
- Early spring can make swimming a bit unbearable, but perfect for hiking.
Havasu Falls is accessible all year round, but the best time to visit is when the weather is nice and there are smaller crowds. Camping and hiking in late fall or early spring is best, although it all depends on whether or not you get a reservation and permit.
How to Get a Permit
It may be a bit difficult to book reservations in advance as they tend to sell out fast. But, here is how to get a campsite at Havasu Falls:
- Create an account at havasupaireservations.com before February.
- Log in to your account on February 1, as this is when the sites go on sale for the February-November camping season, and they sell out fast.
Havasupai permits are issued with a minimum stay of 3 nights.
- Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs: $100/night
- Fri, Sat, Sun: $125/night
Getting a reservation on a Monday will cost you about $300 minimum ($100 per night for a minimum of 3-night stay). However, getting a reservation on a Wednesday will cost you a minimum of $325 ($100 for Wednesday and Thursday, and $125 for Friday).
The fees include taxes and are subject to change.
If you’re not in the mood for camping but still want to experience the beauty of Havasu Falls, you can opt to stay in the Havasupai Lodge instead.
- $145/night: Up to 4 people per room.
- $40/night: Deposit.
- $50/person: Entrance fee.
All fees are taxable at 10%.
No kitchen and food are provided, so you will need to prepare all your meals before going. You can also get food from Supai café or the Supai grocery store, which is located in the village. However, the store’s hours can be unpredictable and prices are quite high due to the remote location.
The Havasupai tribe has made some changes regarding reservations and permits because of the rise in popularity of Havasu Falls and the other waterfalls in Havasu Canyon.
- All fees should be paid at the time of booking.
- One credit card is permitted per group.
- Payments are non-refundable.
- Permits are non-transferable.
- Drones are not allowed and, if spotted, will be subject to a $1,000 fine.
- Maximum of 10 people per reservation.
Getting to the Havasu Falls Campground
From the trailhead, the first 1.5 miles consist of a steep descent that takes you 1,000 feet down to the dry creek bed. The next 6.5 miles give you a more gradual elevation change and take you to the towering canyon walls through a dry river bed. This is where the trail gets sandy and rocky.
After reaching Havasu Creek after about 6 miles, you will reach Supai a half-mile later. Between the village of Supai and the campground are two other waterfalls. The first house you will see when entering the village has a small convenience store.
After leaving Supai, the last 2 miles consist of a hike near the creek along which you will be passing small waterfalls, crossing a couple of bridges, and finally, get up close to the 115 feet tall Havasu Falls before reaching the campground, which is just five minutes away.
- No rock climbing
- No cliff jumping
- No littering
- No drones
- No alcohol/drugs
- No photos allowed in the village
- No nudity or inappropriate clothing
Read the complete list of rules here.
If you get caught violating any of these rules, you can be fined from $200 to $5,000, and if you have a drone, they will take it away too. So, please follow the rules and be a kind visitor.
How difficult is the hike to Havasupai Falls?
The hike to Havasupai Falls is moderately difficult and strenuous. You will start hiking at a 5,200 feet elevation and will go down to 2,800 feet to the falls. The toughest part is the last leg when returning as you have to power uphill. All in all, the hike to Havasu Falls is 10 miles each way, with sandy to rocky terrains and very little shade.
Waterfalls That You Need to Check Out
Aside from the main attraction, which is Havasu Falls, there are other waterfalls in the location that you should definitely check out. Some of the hikes are challenging, but we assure you that they are worth it.
Hiking to Havasu Falls
You won’t need to walk any more to get to this main attraction. It is a mid-range hike that is mostly well-maintained. If you get lost, you will just have to follow the river until you reach the campground.
Hiking to Beaver Falls
This is a much more secluded area where you need to hike 3.5 miles from the campground. The hike is composed of a few steep parts but is mostly easy-going. It will take you about five hours round-trip, but the amazing place is so worth it. Note that you have to get there before the sun hides behind the canyon wall.
Hiking to New Navajo Falls
The trail to New Navajo Falls can be easily missed as it is located on the trek from Supai to the campground. When leaving Supai, you will begin your hike on a sandy trail for about half a mile. When the trail starts to open up, look for a path to your left. From there, the New Navajo Falls will be just about 300 yards away.
Hiking to Mooney Falls
This is one of the tallest waterfalls in the area, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. However, you need to hike a challenging and steep terrain that requires the use of chains for support. Take your time when taking this path and enjoy every scenic half-mile hike.
Havasu Falls is not accessible by car. This means that you’ll have to hike with all of your camping gear to reach your destination. Because of this, you will need to pack smartly.
Pack as light as possible as you will be carrying all your supplies in and out of the area.
There is a spring at the campground that provides safe drinking water. However, stocking up on all these necessities is recommended:
- Hydration bladder
- Refillable water bottle
- Water purification tablets
- Portable water filter
- Collapsible water jug
We recommend you bring dehydrated food instead of fresh food for this trip as you are going to be camping for 3 nights or 4 days. Dehydrated food is easier to cook and allows you to cut down the number of essentials you need to bring. So, pack:
- Dehydrated food
- Camping stove
- Cooking set
- Mess kit
- Bear box/canister
Since you’ll be staying in the area for at least three days, you need to pack toiletries to keep yourself clean and hygienic. You also need to pack sunscreen and a first-aid kit.
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Eco-friendly soap
- Dry shampoo
- Hand sanitizer
- First-aid kit
It is recommended to bring a couple of these essentials for your trip:
- Quick-dry shirts
- Hiking pants
- Hiking socks
- Quick-drying towel
- Light rain jacket
- Pair of sunglasses
- Fleece jacket
- Heavy leggings
Bring shoes that can be used in a sandy, muddy, or rocky trail, and another one for river crossings.
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Water shoes
Here are a few electronic items that you should consider bringing both for convenience and entertainment purposes.
- Portable/solar power bank
- GoPro or any lightweight camera
Tips for Visiting Havasu Falls
To help make your trip to Havasu Falls as smooth as possible, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind.
Plan your trip in advance
Havasu Falls is located on an Indian reservation near the Grand Canyon National Park, but it is not part of the national park. So, you have to plan in advance as you cannot just add a stop to the waterfalls on your itinerary at the last minute.
Expect a strenuous hike
It is not easy to get to Havasu Falls as there is a 10-mile hike in each direction and a 4-to-5-hour drive from Phoenix or Las Vegas.
Don’t forget to get a permit
Secure your permits in advance because the Havasupai Indian tribe, who owns Havasu Falls, requires all visitors to reserve a permit before their trips.
Expect an overnight trip
A minimum of 3 nights on each reservation is required for all visitors to keep everyone safe from the 10-mile hike in each direction, which is dangerous if done in just a day.
Do your research
Since the Havasupai Indian Reservation is in a remote wild area, you need to do thorough research to know what to expect and prepare for it.
Stay a night at Hualapai Lodge
Since the trailhead is in the middle of nowhere, it is advisable to stay a night before you hike at the Hualapai Lodge.
Hike early or take a helicopter
You can start your hike super early in the morning to avoid the midday heat or have a more extravagant experience by taking a helicopter out. If you prefer a helicopter ride, you have to get there by 7 a.m. to secure a spot in line.
Know the rules
Read the rules linked above and follow them to avoid a $1,000 fine.
Watch out for marmots
Watch out for sneaky marmots as they may take your food away. Remember to also hang or stash your food before going for a swim or leaving your camp.
Follow the rules and stay safe
Be alert and stay safe, especially during monsoon season, when flash floods are likely to occur. Watch out for changes in the water’s color, from blue-green to brown. And if it hits suddenly, get to the highest possible ground.
Havasu Falls and its surrounding attractions are truly breathtakingly beautiful. Aside from amazing sights, you also experience the culture of the Havasupai Indian tribe who are the owners of these amazing locations. If you’re looking for a magical and awe-inspiring experience, you definitely need to visit Havasu Falls.
While it may be challenging to hike to Havasu Falls, proper preparation, training, and being ready for the worst-case scenarios will allow you to have the most wonderful experience where all your sweat and sore muscles are worth it.