The Grand Canyon is home to an abundance of breathtaking wonders, sights you truly need to see to believe. Some of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen are in the remote village of Supai, an 8-mile trek below the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. Here, the Havasuapi Tribe, a small tribe of over 600 individuals, have done an impeccable job maintaining and preserving the other-worldly turquoise waters that flow through this wonderland.
One of the most impressive and sought-after waters found here is Mooney Falls, a breathtaking waterfall located about 10.5 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop.
To get to Mooney Falls, one must have a day permit which can be acquired through a yearly lottery system. Please not that day hiking to Supai is not permitted, and reservations are required for all hikers and campers. If you do obtain a coveted permit to hike to this remote destination, a hike to Mooney Falls is an absolute must.
To get to Mooney Falls, you’ll begin your journey at the Hualapai Hilltop. The initial first mile of the trail consists of a series of switchbacks, descending 1,000 feet to the canyon floor below. The next seven miles will take you through the canyon, a relatively easy trek forward with limited elevation gain or loss. However, in months of extreme heat and the general length of the hike itself can still make this a tiring hike.
At eight miles into your hike, you’ll pass through the village, where members of the Havasupai tribe live. This is also where you’ll need to check in for your camping reservation. A tribe member will provide you with a plastic wristband confirming your reservation and subsequent stay. After checking in, you’ll need to walk another 2 miles through loose sand to reach the campground area.
Drop off your belongings at your campsite, grab a day backpack with plenty of water and wear shoes with good grip. From here, you’ll walk approximately 0.5 miles to the end of the campsites where you’ll find a wooden sign that reads “Mooney Falls”. This is where the real adventure begins.
To reach Mooney Falls, you’ll need to climb down to reach it, down a sometimes-questionable rocky slope, through a cave, and down a series of ladders. Please keep in mind it is very dangerous to reach this waterfall, in fact, attempts to reach it have resulted in death. This should only be attempted by those that fully understand the risks and don’t have a fear of heights.
If you do feel comfortable taking the risk, the reward is entirely worthwhile. Mooney Falls and the surrounding pools is honestly one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever seen. Additionally, it is not as crowded as the other waterfalls because of the risk involved in getting here. A trip to Supai is truly amplified with a visit to Mooney Falls.
Mooney Falls Tips
- Wear shoes with good grip and bring water shoes as well.
- Bring a day pack and do not carry anything by hand. You will need both hands to climb down to the Mooney Falls.
- Exercise caution. This is a very technical and dangerous hike. Only hike here if you feel comfortable and are not afraid of heights.
- There will be a part during your descent where the trail ends. Climb through the cave to the right here to continue your trek down to the falls.
- Use caution with your camera near the falls. The falls are misty and electronics can easily get damaged.