As travel bloggers we often get asked about our favorite place in the world and Havasu Falls is on the top of our list of epic experiences that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Ever since we visited this amazingly beautiful waterfall, we have answered endless questions for readers who have reached out for advice in planning their own trip. Common questions like when to visit, how long to stay, what to pack, where to stay before and after their hike, and what photography equipment to bring.
After responding to dozens of emails, we’ve finally decided to compile all of our most frequently asked questions into a single post so that you will have everything you need to know before you visit Havasu Falls – enjoy!
Table of Contents
Havasu Falls, Arizona: Permits, Camping Reservations, and Hiking Tips
Havasu Falls: The Basics
What is Havasu Falls and why does everyone want to go?
Havasu Falls is a stunning beautiful waterfall that is located deep in the Grand Canyon. It is a part of the canyon that is owned and managed by the Havasupai Indian Reservation. In order to visit Havasu Falls, you are required to obtain a permit from the tribe. Permits go on sale on February 1st of every year and the permits for the year generally sell out within the first 2 weeks.
Where is Havasu Falls?
Havasu Falls is located in the Havasu Canyon in Northern Arizona, on the west end of the Grand Canyon National Park. While it is in a canyon that feeds into the Grand Canyon, it’s not actually in Grand Canyon National Park. Havasu Canyon and Havasu Falls are part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation and are managed by the Havasupai Tribe.
What is the best time of year to visit Havasu Falls?
Havasu Falls is open to visitors from February 1st until November 30th every year. You’ll find that the summer months are hot, which makes it perfect for swimming under the falls but pretty miserable during that long hike in and out. Spring and fall are cooler so you’ll only want to get in the water in direct sunlight.
What is the weather like at Havasu Falls?
Average high and low temperatures at Havasu falls by month are:
- January: 58° / 34°
- February: 65° / 38°
- March: 71° / 43°
- April: 80° / 48°
- May: 91° / 56°
- June: 101° / 65°
- July: 104° / 70°
- August: 102° / 68°
- September: 95° / 61°
- October: 82° / 50°
- November: 67° / 41°
- December: 58° / 34°
Getting a Reservation for Havasu Falls
Do I have to have a reservation to visit Havasu Falls?
Yes! The land is owned and managed by the Havasupai Indian Reservation and you would be trespassing if you didn’t go through the proper steps to obtain a permit. There are Havasupai tribe members who operate check points at various spots in the area and if you don’t have a permit you’ll be asked to leave or pay a fine.
How do I get a reservation for Havasu Falls?
Reservations for the entire season (February 1 – November 30) are available on February 1st of every year. They generally sell out within the first 2 weeks. Mark your calendar and visit the Havasu Falls reservation website as early in the day as possible on February 1.
Also, 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.
You can also try calling the Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121, but the phone line is generally busy around the clock for the first few days of February.
Try to be flexible on the dates and remember that weekdays aren’t as popular as weekends.
What information do I need to make a reservation?
Have a confirmed count of how many people will be joining you. You’ll have to provide their names when making the reservation but the only person who will get their ID checked is the party leader.
Be flexible on your dates in case the week you want is already taken. Weekends are more popular than weekdays and tend to fill up fast. Summer months are also the most popular time to go.
How much does a Havasu Falls permit cost?
Reservation pricing for 2018* was as follows and includes all necessary permits, fees, and taxes:
- 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56 per person
- 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.12 per person
- 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67 per person
If you book your permits for the following dates you’ll be required to pay an additional $18.33* per person per night due to their popularity:
- Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
- Holidays (February 19th, May 28th, July 4th, September 3rd, and October 8th)
- Spring Break (March 5th-8th and 19th-22nd)
*2019 prices will likely increase.
When are Havasu Falls permits available?
The Havasupai Tribe begins taking reservations every year on February 1st.
How long should I go for?
There is a maximum of 4 days and 3 nights per reservation. You can make back-to-back reservations if the dates are available. We would highly recommend going for the maximum allotted time (4 days/3 nights).
Can I just go for the day?
Unfortunately, no. Not only because the hike just to get to the falls is 10 miles from the trailhead (making it a 20 mile round trip hike), but also because the Havasupai Tribe does not allow day hikers in Havasu Canyon. All visitors must have a reservation at either the campground or the lodge.
Can I change my dates once I make a reservation?
That depends on availability. You’ll need to call and speak to someone directly, but you’d be advised to wait for a few weeks as the tribe is incredibly busy during the month of February. Fingers crossed you reach someone who is friendly and helpful in the Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121.
Getting to the Havasu Falls Trailhead
Where is the Havasu Falls trailhead?
The Havasupai parking area is located here – about 67.5 miles Northeast of Peach Springs, AZ. This location is also known as “Hualapai Hilltop” if you want to look it up on Google Maps. You’ll need to park there to begin your hike to Havasu Falls.
What airport should I fly into?
Flagstaff, Arizona is the closest airport at about 165 miles from the trailhead. Las Vegas, Nevada is about 225 miles away and typically has the cheapest airfares. And Phoenix, Arizona is about 260 miles away.
Are there any hotels close to the Havasu Falls trailhead?
The closest hotels to the Havasu Falls trailhead are the Hualapai Lodge and the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn in Peach Springs, Arizona. If you are looking for more luxurious accommodations, there are several nice spots in Flagstaff, Arizona including the Little America Hotel Flagstaff and the Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff. The Residence Inn even has a hot tub which you’ll love to relax in after your long hike out of the canyon.
If you’re on a budget, check out the Hotel Aspen in Flagstaff.
There are also several lodges and campgrounds within the National Park at the Grand Canyon but you’ll need to book them well in advance.
Can I camp at the Havasu Falls trailhead?
The official answer is “No”, but people seem to get away with it especially if you are only planning on sleeping there for a few hours. That being said, the toilets at the parking lot are dirty and smelly and there really isn’t an ideal spot to pitch a tent so we wouldn’t recommend it.
Hiking to the Havasu Falls Campground
How long is the hike to the Havasu Falls campground?
You’ll be hiking 8 miles to the Supai village where you will check-in, and then an additional 2 miles to Havasu Falls. It should take 4-6 hours depending on your fitness level.
Is the hike challenging?
From the parking lot you’ll immediately start your descent into the canyon. It’s about a mile and a half of switchbacks to the bottom and the remainder of the hike is flat. This section is hard on your knees on the way in and incredibly steep and challenging on the way out.
Hiking poles will help to make the trek to the bottom of the canyon easier on your knees and will keep you balanced.
What should I pack?
Read all about what to pack for Havasu Falls here!
What time should I start hiking?
It’s a good idea to get an early start to hike out to Havasu Falls. The parking lot fills up with cars and it’s a more pleasant hike if you’re not doing it in the heat of the day. And the reservation check-in office in the Supai Village is rather slow so if there are people in front of you, you’ll be in for a bit of a wait.
How physically fit do I need to be to do the hike?
That’s a tough question. I consider myself to be in reasonably good physical condition and I found the trek back to the car to be incredibly challenging, especially since the hardest part is at the very end. If you’ve never walked 10 miles at one time in your entire life, this might not be the best time to try. But if you hike or bike or run fairly regularly, you should be totally fine.
Do I need to wear hiking boots?
If you need good ankle support I would recommend wearing hiking boots. The canyon floor is rocky so you won’t always have stable footing. However, you’ll be hiking in hot weather and hiking boots will make your feet even hotter. I did the hike in regular old tennis shoes and was just fine.
Is there water along the trail to Havasu Falls?
No! You should bring at least a gallon of water per person for the hike in as you cannot fill up your bottle anywhere along the 8 mile hike to the village.
Are there bathrooms along the trail to Havasu Falls?
No. There are a few porta-potties and compost toilets at the trailhead but none along the trail. Be sure to use one of them before setting off!
Do I have to hike to Havasu Falls?
No you don’t. If you don’t want to hike in with your heavy pack you have a few options. First, you can hire a mule to carry your backpack. Mules can carry a maximum of 4 bags and/or 130 lbs. If you don’t want to walk you can ride a horse either to the Supai Village or all the way to the campground. The maximum body weight to ride is 250 lbs and you’ll need to have at least some prior riding experience. You’ll need to reserve at least one week before your trip on the Havasupai website.
Keep in mind that there is some debate as to how well the mules and horses are treated. You should do your research prior to selecting this option.
Another option is to book a helicopter ride from the Hualapai Hilltop to the Supai Village. The flight only takes about 10 minutes but they don’t run every day and flights are dependent on weather conditions. Contact Airwest Helicopters for more information. They are on a first come, first served basis and members of the Havasupai Tribe get priority. So get there early and expect a wait. There are also size and weight restrictions on your baggage.
How does the Havasu Falls check-in process work?
Once you arrive to the Supai Village you’ll need to stop at the tourist office to check in. The party leader will need to show identification and each individual included on the reservation must be listed on the entrance permit. You’ll receive wristbands that you’ll need to wear for the duration of your stay as well as a tag for your tent or hammock.
The Havasu Falls Campground
How many campsites are there at Havasu Falls?
There are around 300 campsites at Havasu Falls.
Can I reserve a specific campsite?
No, all campsites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Campers are coming and going all throughout the day so you don’t necessarily need to arrive early to get a good spot.
How do I pick a good campsite?
Don’t worry too much about picking a good campsite, you probably won’t spend a ton of time there anyway. But consider the following when selecting your site:
- How close is it to the water spigot?
- How close is it to the toilets? (You should be close but not SO close that you have to smell them)
- Do you have some privacy? (The spots on the other side of the river tend to be less populated)
- Does your site have plenty of trees around for hanging a hammock, your food and garbage, and to provide you with shade?
Should I sleep in a tent or a hammock?
That depends. Would you prefer to have a lighter backpack but be less comfortable at night? Or a heavier pack and sleep like a baby? If you’ve never spent a full night attempting to sleep in a hammock, you should probably try it before committing. I find it incredibly uncomfortable to be forced to sleep on my back with my feet elevated.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you set out if you’re going to be in a hammock. You may need to bring a tarp if there is rain in the forecast, or a sleeping bag if nights will be chilly.
If you do bring a tent, be sure you invest in a lightweight backpacking tent if you are hiking in with your pack. Otherwise your backpack will be unreasonably heavy for a 10 mile trek. We love the Marmot Crane Creek Backpacking Tent.
What is the water situation at the campground?
There is a continuously flowing spigot of fresh spring water in the campground and every campsite is just a short walk from it. We brought a foldable water container to reduce the number of trips we had to take to the spigot for drinking, cooking, and doing dishes.
Do I need a water purifier?
No, the water coming out of the spring is fine to drink without any additional purification. Just be sure to get your water from the spring, not from the creek.
If you really want to take a water purifier we love our SteriPEN because it weighs almost nothing.
What is the bathroom situation at the campground?
Clean compost toilets are conveniently located throughout the campground and they are usually stocked with single-ply toilet paper. They have garbage cans outside of the toilets but you should plan on packing out all of your trash rather than leaving it there.
There are no showers at Havasu Falls but since you’ll be swimming all the time it doesn’t really matter. I always take these biodegradable baby wipes on our backing and camping trips because I know I won’t be able to shower for several days.
Are there garbage cans in the campground?
Yes, there are garbage cans outside of the compost toilets but you are not encouraged to use them. Plan on packing out all of your trash when you leave. You’ll get a hefty fine if you leave garbage or anything else at your campsite.
Are there animals that will get into my food?
Yes! There are some VERY pesky squirrels at the Havasu Falls campground and they absolutely will get into your food and/or trash. We hung our garbage from a tree and they still managed to tear into it. We would highly recommend investing in a wire mesh bag to store anything that has a smell, as well as some rope to hang it from a tree.
Do not keep ANY FOOD in your backpack or in your tent. The squirrels will chew through it!
Is the campground safe?
We never felt unsafe at any time while we were visiting the Havasupai Reservation. All the tribe members and other campers were extremely friendly. We left all of our things in our tent while we were out exploring all day and had no issues whatsoever. Except for those pesky squirrels that got into our trash.
Even if you’re travelling to Havasu Falls on your own you shouldn’t have any concerns about safety while camping. If you have any concerns about leaving your things in your tent while you’re away, bring a small combination lock and lock your tent zippers together.
Are there any campground rules?
Yes! They are as follows:
- No alcohol
- No campfires
- No weapons
- No drugs
- No drones
What is the punishment for breaking the rules at Havasu Falls?
You’ll be fined. The punishment for various offenses are:
- $1,000 fine for cliff diving or jumping
- $1,000 fine for littering and/or leaving trash at your campsite
- $1,000 fine for possession of alcohol and/or drugs
- $1,000 fine for flying drones (plus your drone will be confiscated)
The tribe is VERY serious about their no alcohol rule. Apparently they have issues with some tribe members and alcoholism. Their website states that “Possession, distribution, or consumption of alcohol on the Reservation is a Tribal and federal crime, punishable by up to one year of imprisonment”. Don’t chance it.
Is there electricity in the Havasu Falls campground?
There is no electricity in the campground. Make sure your cell phone, camera batteries, and other electronic devices are fully charged before you enter the Havasupai Reservation.
To light up your campground up at night we recommend bringing a few solar powered Luci Lights. They are easy to strap to the outside of your pack and then inflate when you arrive at the campground. Plus they’ll recharge during the day while your out exploring so they’ll be ready every night when you get back.
If you’re concerned about running out of juice on your phone or other devices, be sure you invest in a portable power bank. We love the Anker PowerCore II 10,000 mAh because it’s super lightweight and has plenty of juice to recharge our phones 2-3 times.
Is there wifi in the Havasu Falls campground?
No. Why in the world would you want wifi when you are in the most amazing place in the world? Avoid the internet at all cost and enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
If you have an emergency or you desperately need to get your social media fix, there is an open wifi network in the Havasupai Village. The signal seems to be strongest around the cafeteria and right outside of the campground registration office.
Do I have to camp?
No, you don’t. There is a lodge in the Supai Village with simple rooms available. Currently all reservations must be made via telephone at (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201.
Keep in mind that Supai Village is located about 2 miles from Havasu Falls, whereas the campground is right near the falls. So you’ll be adding an additional 4 miles each day to your trekking (to get to the falls and to get back again).
What amenities are available in the Supai Village and campground?
There are several restaurants in the Supai Village as well as a small store and a post office. We would NOT recommend waiting until you get to the village to stock up on groceries as they have a very limited (and expensive) supply.
Remember that the Supai Village is a 2 miles hike from the campground so it’s not really feasible to eat your meals in the village if you’re staying in the campground. However we do recommend buying your last meal in the village before you begin the long 8 mile trek back to your car. After cooking over your camp stove for 3 days a giant heap of cheesy nachos really hits the spot!
There is also a fry bread stand right at the entrance to the campground. We heard a lot of people rave about the fry bread but we felt it was a tad underwhelming.
Exploring Havasu Canyon
How scary is the hike down to Mooney Falls?
The path that leads from the top of Mooney Falls down to the bottom is steep and slippery. The worst part is when you near the bottom. You’ll hold onto chains and climb down a metal ladder. The reason that this part is the scariest is that the mist from the waterfall turns everything into a wet, slippery mess. I found it far scarier to climb down than I did to climb up.
You may want to invest in a pair of anti-slip gloves to improve your grip on the chains.
Can kids hike down to Mooney Falls?
That totally depends on your child. It would probably be very difficult to do with a baby on your back, but kids over the age of 8 would likely find it easier to do than you will.
How long is the hike to Beaver Falls?
From the base of Mooney Falls, it’s another 2.5-ish miles to Beaver Falls. It is mostly flat but there are several water crossings along the way.
Can I go to Beaver Falls without doing the hike to the bottom of Mooney Falls?
Unfortunately no. You’ll have to make the descent to the bottom of Mooney Falls in order to hike down the canyon to Beaver Falls.
How are the water crossings to Beaver Falls?
There are several water crossings that you’ll need to do to get to Beaver Falls. The river bottom is filled with muck which is fine to do in bare feet but will feel pretty gross. You may want to invest in a pair of water shoes for your trek.
Is it worth hiking out to Beaver Falls?
Yes! We left early in the morning, took our time taking photos along the way, and had Beaver Falls all to ourselves before other people started arriving. The entire canyon is spectacularly beautiful and it would be a bummer to miss it!
Any questions that we missed? Comment below so we can answer them for you!
Want more adventures in Northern Arizona? Check out our favorite travel guides!
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