If you don’t know where to look, you’d walk right past it. New Navajo Falls is one of the many waterfalls found in the enchanting, storybook-worthy land of Supai, Arizona. Supai is inhabited by the Havasupai Tribe, a longstanding Indian Reservation which dates thousands of years back. Here, the tribes people allow a certain number of visitors each year to explore the surrounding breathtaking landscape with a permit.
Havasu Falls may be the most popular and photographed destination in Supai, but Fifty Foot Falls deserves equal attention as well. Not only is it the first waterfall you’ll approach on your 10-mile hike to the campground, but it is also the least known and therefor least crowded. In fact, when I visited in the summer, myself and my friend were the only two people at the falls. We had the whole falls to enjoy for ourselves for over an hour, something that would never happen at Havasu Falls.
Fifty Foot Falls sits right next to New Navajo Falls, the first highly visible waterfall you’ll hear and see on your way to the campground. It was shaped after a damaging flood hit the area in 2008, known previously as Navajo Falls. After the flood of 2008, two new waterfalls were created in place of the original Navajo Falls. Now Fifty Foot Falls, also known as Upper Navajo or Big Navajo Falls, sits above New Navajo Falls.
To reach Fifty Foot Falls, you’ll need to know exactly where to go or you’ll easily miss it. First, you’ll need to obtain a permit through the Havasupai Tribe’s yearly lottery. Passes can be difficult to get and you will need to be open to going essentially any day of the year when applying. Once you do have your permit date, your journey begins at the Hualapai Hilltop.
From here you’ll slowly descend down into the canyon via a series of steep switchbacks. Follow the switchbacks for close to a mile, until you reach the canyon floor. Continue to the right, following the well-marked trail for the next seven miles. The elevation won’t change much here, and if you hike early enough, you won’t have much sun exposure with the canyon wall’s protection.
At about 7.5-miles into your hike, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the infamous turquoise water which runs through here. This is a good indication you’re nearing the Supai village, where members of the Havasupai Tribe live. When you reach the village, check in to get your wristbands and campground information. The village also has a restaurant, general store, and restroom facilities if needed.
From the village, continue to follow signs directing you to the campgrounds for about 0.5 miles. You’ll hear the roar of New Navajo Falls on your left, and will be able to see the pools that feed into the waterfall below. Head down two switchbacks to reach the pools. New Navajo Falls will be to your right, however you’ll want to take the faint trail to your left to reach Fifty Foot Falls.
Walk about 500 feet on this trail to reach the wonder of Fifty Foot Falls. Unlike Mooney Falls and Havasu Falls, this waterfall is not a single shoot but rather multiple falls that span horizontally, cascading magnificently down the rocks above. As aforementioned, you’ll likely be the only hikers in the area, so take full advantage before embarking to the other falls!
Fifty Foot Falls Tips
- When you see the large pools, make sure to follow the trail to the left. The trail to the right will take you to New Navajo Falls.
- Check out the nearby New Navajo Falls. Both are worth hiking to and admiring the stunning views.
- Bring your packs with you. Many people will be at and near Fifty Foot Falls since it is more noticeable. This increases the chance of items being stolen (which happened to me).
- Put on your bathing suit. After a long hike in, you likely will need to change but a dip in Fifty Foot Falls will be welcome and warranted.