A Girl's Guide to Havasu Falls, Arizona

A Female’s Guide to Hiking and Camping at Havasu Falls

INFORMATION FROM THE HAVASUPAI FACEBOOK PAGE: There are no new reservations available in 2023. We know in years past that February 1 is the date to get the current year’s permits — that is not the case for 2023. The only way to go in 2023 is to purchase off the transfer list. Reservations for 2024 are not available until February 2024.

Havasu Falls is one of several amazing waterfalls located on the Havasupai Reservation in Northern Arizona. And it is arguably one of the most beautiful and remote places in the entire United States. The reservation is located deep in the heart of the Grand Canyon, 10 miles from the nearest road. It is accessible either by foot or by helicopter ride. And in order to visit, you need to camp for a minimum of one night which means you’ll have to carry everything you’ll need with you on your back.

Sound exhilarating? I thought so too. And it turned out to be one of my favorite destinations in all of my world travels to date. But it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, so to speak. I stayed in the Havasu Falls campground for 4 days/3 nights. By the time I left, I was filthy, exhausted, and craving a giant, juicy cheeseburger. I also would have preferred to be more prepared as I overpacked in all the wrong ways.

So I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help all of you female Havasu Falls hikers so you can be completely prepared and so you won’t carry more than you need on your epic adventure!

Note: You will see photos in this post that include pool floats. They were allowed when we visited in 2017 but as of 2019, there is a new rule banning all flotation devices. Best to leave any pool floats at home. We sincerely apologize for any confusion.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Waterfall Shot

A Female’s Guide to Hiking and Camping at Havasu Falls

Securing a Permit for Havasu Falls

The process of obtaining a permit for Havasu Falls requires some planning and persistence. There are a set number of campsites and the tribe allows around 300 visitors each day for 10 months out of the year. The permits for the entire season (February 1 – November 30) become available on February 1st of every year at 8 am Arizona time, and generally sell out within the first two weeks.

Your best bet is to visit the reservation website as early in the day as possible on February 1st and try to be flexible on the dates you plan to visit, just in case your first choice has already been taken.

Important 2019 Update: Starting in 2019 the reservation website has a “get ready” date beginning on January 8th. You’ll want to visit the website to set up an account prior to attempting to make a reservation in February. Log into your account before 8 am so you’re ready to go!

A Few Tips for Making a Havasu Falls Reservation

  • Make sure you have a confirmed count of how many others will be joining you. There are a maximum of 12 people allowed per reservation.
  • Weekends and holidays are popular dates so if you are open to visiting on a weekday you’ll have a better shot.
  • Off-season months are less popular because the weather is cooler so swimming isn’t as ideal. We went in March and, while it was definitely too cold to swim in the shade (i.e. below Mooney Falls and below Havasu Falls after 2 pm), it was nice that there were fewer people and it wasn’t unbearably hot for the hike in and out of the canyon.
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Ultimate 2023 Havasu Falls Guide: Reservations, Permits, Hiking, & Camping

You may be asking yourself “do I really need a permit? Can’t I just hike in for the day?” No, unfortunately, you cannot. Not just because it’s a 10-mile one-way hike to get there, but also because the ONLY way to visit Havasu Falls is to camp with a permit. There are several permit checkpoints and if you don’t have one, you’ll be sent packing (perhaps with a steep fine as well!).

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Little Navajo Falls

Camping and Permit Fees for Havasu Falls

Campground and permit prices have not yet been released for 2023, but for 2019 they were as follows:

  • $100 per person per weekday night
  • $125 per person per weekend night (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)

It’s highly likely that prices will increase because they have every previous year. Find more information on fees on the Havasupai Tribe website.

Havasupai Camping Rules

  • No alcohol
  • No dogs or other animals
  • No drones
  • No campfires
  • No weapons or firearms
  • No drugs
  • No loud music
  • No jumping or diving
  • No boats, rafts, kayaks, inner tubes, pool floats, pool toys, or water guns.

Safety at Havasu Falls

I traveled to Havasu Falls with my husband, it’s always advisable to have a hiking partner, but in general, I would say Havasu Falls is an extremely safe hiking destination. If you do decide to do the hike alone, you’ll want to take some general safety precautions as a solo female hiker.

I personally never felt unsafe in any way during my 4-day trip and I felt totally comfortable leaving my valuables zipped in my tent while I was out exploring for the day.

The squirrels are the most likely to raid your camp while you’re away but if have any concerns, invest in a small combination lock to lock your tent zippers together. And if you’re planning on hiking alone, it’s always smart to keep a whistle on you, just in case.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Combination Lock

What to Pack for Havasu Falls

I’ve written a comprehensive packing list for Havasu Falls that applies to both men and women but have included a few items here that are specifically for women.

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Complete Havasu Falls Packing List

Large Trekking Backpack

I love Osprey brand packs because they are comfortable, breathable, adjustable, and can take a beating. At 5’4” tall and 120 pounds, I’m a small girl and I have a hard time carrying all that weight on my shoulders. This pack has a padded hip belt to put the pressure on your middle rather than on your shoulders. I pull those as tight as they can go and ensure that no weight is actually on my shoulders by sticking a finger between the strap and my shoulder.

Also, try to keep your pack to under 30 pounds. Put everything you’ll be bringing in your pack a few days before your trip and try walking around with it on. If you struggle in your house, you’ll most certainly struggle on the trail.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Trekking Backpack

Check out my comprehensive post about how to select the right backpack here!


While there are plenty of toilets around the Havasu Falls campground, there are not any along the trail from the parking lot or on the way to Beaver Falls. If the idea of squatting behind a bush fills you with fear, invest in a female portable urination device so no one will know what you’re up to.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: SheWee

Diva Cup

While there are a few garbage cans around the Havasu Falls campground, visitors are strongly encouraged to pack out everything that they pack in. Plus, even though pads and tampons may seem light, you’ll want to cut any and all additional unnecessary weight from your already heavy pack. Opt for a Diva Cup if you think your period will coincide with your trip.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Diva Cup

Travel Razor

This is completely unnecessary unless you are like me and don’t like to be hairy in a swimsuit. I’d opt for a travel-size razor only because I try to cut weight in any and every way possible. Or, better yet, just get a wax right before you leave!

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Travel Razor

Biodegradable Wipes

After hiking 10 miles to your campsite you probably won’t be feeling so fresh and so clean. Bring some biodegradable, compostable wipes to freshen up daily. Don’t forget to pack a few ziplock bags to pack out your used wipes (even though they’re technically compostable, only single-ply toilet paper should be left in the compost toilets).

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Biodegradable Wipes

Fun Swimsuit

It would be tragic to put in all of the time and effort to get to Havasu Falls and not get some epic photos! Bring a few hilarious swimsuits since they can pack down small and won’t add a ton of weight to your pack.

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The Hike to Havasu Falls

Hike Length and Duration

Length: 8 miles to the Supai village and an additional 2 miles to Havasu Falls
Duration: 4-6 hours depending on your fitness level

What Time to Leave for Havasu Falls

The earlier, the better. Not only does the parking lot fill up with cars, but you’ll also find the hike to be far more enjoyable if you’re not doing it in the heat of the day. And lastly, the reservation check-in office in Supai Village isn’t known for its speediness. If there are a lot of people ahead of you, you’ll probably be waiting in line for a while.

What to Expect

You’ll park your car in the Havasupai parking area (located here – about 67.5 miles Northeast of Peach Springs, AZ) to begin your hike to the falls. There are a few porta-potties and compost toilets here but none along the trail so plan accordingly. Immediately, you’ll begin your descent into the canyon on a path that zig-zags for about a mile and a half to the bottom. As you’re hiking, remember that you’ll need to climb back up this same trail when you depart.

If you have trouble with your knees or hips, you may want to consider investing in hiking poles. They’ll take some of the pressure off of your legs and they’ll help to keep you balanced.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Hiking Poles

Once you reach the bottom of the canyon, the hike is fairly flat for the remainder of your journey. There are no toilets along the way nor is there any water. Plan on bringing at least a gallon of water per person for the hike.

If You’re Not an Avid Hiker

If hiking for 10 miles with a heavy pack doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t fret, you have a few other options:

  • You can hire a mule to carry your backpack. Mules can carry a maximum of 4 bags, each that is a maximum of 32 lbs and is no larger than 36 inches long, 19 inches wide, and 19 inches tall. You must sign up for the waitlist immediately after you secure your reservation. This is not a guaranteed reservation and you’ll have better luck if you book a mule round-trip.
  • You can also book a helicopter ride from the Hualapai Hilltop to the Supai Village. The flight takes about 10 minutes and it is on a first-come, first-served basis. They don’t run every day and flights are dependent on weather conditions. Contact Airwest Helicopters for more information.

If you choose either of these choices, you should keep a few things in mind. There is quite a bit of debate as to the treatment of the pack animals by the Havasupai Tribe. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary during our visit but many others have. If this is a concern for you, you should definitely do your homework prior to selecting this option.

Also, if you choose to take a helicopter, the earlier you arrive at the helipad, the better. They do work on a first come, first-served basis but members of the Havasupai Tribe get priority over visitors. So the wait can be incredibly long, especially when you are looking to leave. There are also weight restrictions on your baggage.

Stops Along the Way

Your first stop will be in the Supai Village to check-in. You’ll need to show ID if you made the reservation (but I’d recommend that you bring some form of identification regardless) and you’ll receive your bracelets and permit for your tent or hammock.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Little Navajo Falls

The area at the top of Little Navajo Falls was one of my favorite spots to swim. Mainly because we visited Havasu in March so it was too cold to swim in the shade and this area gets full sun. Whereas the base of Havasu Falls would be completely shaded by 2 pm and Mooney Falls was shaded all day. We stopped here on our hike in, and our hike out. It’s also far less crowded than the falls.

Camping at Havasu Falls

Choosing a Campsite

Campsites are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations are not available in advance. If you’ve paid to have the mules deliver your bags, they will likely arrive quite a bit later than you so you’ll want to put some of your belongings on the picnic table of the site of your choice to save it.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Campsite

Don’t pay too much mind to where you camp, you won’t spend very much time there anyway. But here are a few things to consider when you are choosing a spot:

  • Proximity to the one freshwater source
  • Proximity to the compost toilets (be close, but not TOO close)
  • Privacy. You’ll have to cross one (or more) dodgy-looking bridges to get to the other side of the river but those sites are generally less popular so you can have more space.
  • Trees, in case you brought a hammock. Regardless you’ll need to hang your food and trash.

Toilets at the Campsite

There are several clean compost toilets conveniently located throughout the campground. They are generally stocked with single-ply toilet paper and have garbage cans outside (although you should plan on packing out all of your trash).

Fresh Water

We’ve heard from a lot of people that they brought a water filter. And you can of course if you feel so inclined. But there is a continuously flowing spigot in the campground where you can fill up on freshwater. It’s not more than a 15-minute walk from any campsite but it may be a good idea to invest in a foldable water container so that you’ll always have fresh water at your campsite for drinking, cooking, and doing dishes.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Water Cube

Food Storage

The squirrels at Havasu Falls will do anything and everything in their power to get your food. We hung both our food and our trash with twine from a tree and the little suckers managed to rip our trash bag open somehow and scatter it all over our camp. And they chewed a hole through our neighbor’s backpack and ate his prepackaged meals (which is the WORST when you’ve planned your meals perfectly).

Do NOT keep any food in your tent or your backpack. Be sure you keep your food in a sturdy bag and bring twine to hang it from a tree. A mesh Ratsack is a good option for food storage that helps to keep them out.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Mesh Ratsack

Tent? Or Hammock?

We actually brought both. We packed a 3-person backpacking tent (it’s really only big enough for 2), inflatable sleeping pads, lightweight sleeping bags, inflatable pillows, and an ENO Doublenest Hammock that we used for lounging around camp. And we were oh-so-comfortable which is super important when your body is aching from hiking all day, every day.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: ENO DoubleNest Hammock

Granted, if you just brought a hammock, your pack would be significantly lighter. And if you travel from May until September you may be able to get away with not even using a sleeping bag. However, I would advise you to try sleeping in your hammock in your yard at home prior to departing to Havasu Falls. It is incredibly uncomfortable to sleep with your feet and head elevated. Plus unless you are used to sleeping all night on your back, it may be difficult to get used to this position.

What to Pack for Havasu Falls

Check out our entire camping gear packing list here.

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Complete Havasu Falls Packing List

The Hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: The hike to Beaver Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona by Wandering Wheatleys
  • Length to Mooney: Depending on where you are camped, the hike to Mooney Falls is less than a mile
  • Length to Beaver: ~2.5 miles from the base of Mooney Falls
  • Duration: Plan on spending a full day hiking out to Beaver Falls, swimming for a bit, and then hiking back

What to Expect on Your Hike to Mooney Falls

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Mooney Falls

The Havasu Falls campsite sits along the river at the top of Mooney Falls. You can view the falls from several viewpoints up top (and a few adventurous campers even camp at the very top of the falls, although you’re technically not supposed to). The path to get to the bottom is treacherous and probably not great for anyone who is afraid of heights. In fact, it was named for a man who died from a fall while the pathway was being constructed.

Leave early in the morning! The entire walk to Beaver Falls is beautiful and you’ll be tempted many times along the way to stop for photos or for a swim. It would be a pity to feel rushed to get back before dark.

You’ll need to scramble down a few ladders while hanging onto chains that have been anchored into the rock wall. What makes it especially scary is that it becomes increasingly muddy and slippery due to the spray from the waterfall. I would advise you to wear regular shoes with traction over flip flops and if the chains make you nervous you can invest in some traction gloves like these:

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Traction Gloves

What to Expect on Your Hike to Beaver Falls

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Beaver Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona by Wandering Wheatleys

From the base of Mooney Falls, it’s another 2.5-ish mile to Beaver Falls. I would highly recommend doing both in one day so you only need to do the treacherous hike to Mooney once during your stay. Unless it doesn’t bother you in which case you can do them separately and spend more time lounging below Mooney.

The hike from Mooney to Beaver is fairly flat but will feel much farther than 2.5 miles. There are several water crossings (we did them barefoot but you should probably consider investing in water shoes) and some scrambling up and down ladders near the end. Stop along the way for photos or to have a swim.

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Beaver Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona by Wandering Wheatleys

There are also several nice viewpoints from up above. Beaver Falls also gets full afternoon sun so it’s the perfect spot to spend your afternoon swimming.

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What to Bring to Mooney and Beaver Falls

Havasu Falls Camping and Hiking: A Havasupai Guide for Females: Headlamp

The Hike Back to the Havasupai Parking Lot

A common question that people ask is what time to leave to hike back to the parking lot. Most people recommend that you leave early in the day to avoid hiking in the heat of the day (since there is very little shade along the way). However, I would argue that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you should spend every possible moment enjoying it!

Make yourself a hearty breakfast and some strong coffee, pack up and leave your campsite around 11 am. Stop at Little Navajo Falls to enjoy an afternoon soak. And on your way out of the Supai village, stop at the restaurant in town for nachos to fuel your upcoming hike. If you hit the trail by 3 pm, you’ll find that much of the trail is shaded. And by the time you arrive at the intense switchbacks the air will be cool, the sun will be setting, and you’ll have had an amazing last day.

As long as you have a headlamp or flashlight, don’t worry if you end up on the trail after dark. Take your time, don’t rush, and enjoy this amazing adventure!

I hope you ladies have a wonderful time at Havasu Falls!

Northern Arizona is full of other great adventures. Here are a few other resources we love for exploring this beautiful part of America!


About the Author:

  • Valerie Wheatley

    Val grew up in Portland, Oregon but moved to Oahu on a whim back in 2013. She sold her house and all of her belongings and bought a one-way ticket. Since then she’s taken two around-the-world trips and has visited 60-ish countries while living out of a duffel bag.

    Val started documenting the Wandering Wheatleys travels back in 2013 as a way to update friends and family about her whereabouts and to relay humorous daily interactions. The only readers were her mom and her mother-in-law but that didn’t stop her!

    These days you’ll find Val dreaming up future trips, creating new travel content, managing a team of amazing travel enthusiasts, and chasing around her two adorable but naughty kids.

4 thoughts on “A Female’s Guide to Hiking and Camping at Havasu Falls”

  1. Posting multiple photos of your rule-breaking float sets a very poor example for future visitors as they search for trusted information. Perhaps you should link to an article or post on being a good steward of LNT principles, something everyone should be aware and conscious of when being invited into wild places such as these. Hikers leaving behind junked garbage because of social media photos is a real problem – please don’t perpetuate it!

    1. Valerie Wheatley

      If you’d read any of our blogs about Havasu Falls, you would know that we visited in 2017, prior to the pool float ban. So most of our photos from our trip include a pool float, that’s just the reality of our photo situation. And again, if you’d read any of my posts, you’d know that I talk about the new rules and discourage people from bringing pool floats. And you’d know that I discuss the responsibility of packing out everything you pack in, even though there are garbage cans at the campsite. But thank you so much for saving the world, one angry blog comment at a time.

  2. Thank you for all this info! As I try to find everything about this upcoming trip of mine in June, I am wondering where do people shower when camping at the falls. If there’s no place to shower, where will you use the razor? How/where will one clean the Diva cup? I’m sorry if these are obvious questions but this is my first time backpacking/camping and I am clueless!

  3. thanks for this guide! i do have some questions about food prep. if no camp fires are allowed – what did you eat? it doesnt get cold enough to need a fire?

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