Havasu Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in the United States. You’ve likely seen photographs of it on social media, blogs, and across the internet. Unlike other waterfalls, part of its allure is that it is difficult to get to and not accessible to the general public. A hike to Havasu Falls requires getting a highly coveted permit, which is not guaranteed and can only be obtained in a competitive yearly lottery. If you are lucky enough to obtain a permit, you too can be one of the few that gets to see this natural wonder in person.
The journey to Havasu Falls begins at the Hualapai Hilltop, at the southern end of the Grand Canyon. From the hilltop, you’ll follow the trail downhill along a series of approximately 12 switchbacks until you reach the canyon floor. Once you reach the canyon floor, the trail is very straightforward. The trail will take you through the red rocks of the outskirts of the Grand Canyon, a somewhat scenic and straightforward trail for the next 7 miles.
At approximately 7.5 miles into your hike to Havasu Falls, you’ll hear the welcome rushing of the Colorado River nearby. To your delight, this will be the first time you’ll spot the unique turquoise waters that flow through the Supai Indian Reservation. Continue to follow signs that read “Supai and Campgrounds” to reach the Supai Village.
First, several homes will come into view. This is your first indication you are near the Supai village, a reservation that is home to over 600 members of the Havasupai Tribe. When you reach the village, you will need to check in to confirm your camping reservation. You can also take some time to grab some delicious Indian Frye bread while here and use clean restrooms.
After checking in, continue another 1.7 miles, following signs leading you to the campground. Just before you reach the campground and make one last descent, you’ll hear the rushing water of Havasu Falls nearby.
As you begin to make your final descent, to your right you’ll see the glory of Havasu Falls. Havasu Falls features one main chute that drops turquoise water over a 90-foot vertical cliff. It also features a series of plunge pools. Many wonder how the water appears a blue-green hue. This is due to the high calcium carbonate concentration in the waters.
My recommendation would be to first set up your campsite, change into your swimsuit, grab a pair of swim shoes, and head back to Havasu Falls. Most campsites will be within a 5-10 minute walk to the falls. This will allow you to lighten your load, switch into water shoes, and take your time experiencing all the joy Havasu Falls has to offer.
Havasu Falls Tips
- Wear water shoes. They will make your feet more comfortable when walking on some of the rocks in shallow water.
- Bring your lunch. There are a few picnic tables near the falls where you can eat lunch and admire the views.
- Explore the hidden cave at your own risk. There is a hidden cave behind the waterfall, however it is risky to go here. In fact, there has a been a drowning attempting this.
- Pack out what you pack in. There are restroom facilities and garbage cans nearby. Let’s do our best to keep the falls pristine. This includes floaties, which we saw a number left behind for the Havasupai to pick up.