Hiking Havasu Falls, Arizona

Welcome back everyone and welcome to hiking Havasu Falls! I have been quite the hiker lately and want to share with everyone the beauty that I have found in these remote places. I recently hiked Havasu Falls and it’s such an amazing trip that it undoubtedly deserves its own post. 

First of all, I need to cover some of the basics of the area because this hike is unique in location and requires some planning. You will need to be informed about exactly what you are embarking on and what is available and not available in this remote area.

Havasu Falls hike
Havasu Falls

General Information about Lake Havasu

You will need three days to do this hike and you have the option to camp or stay in Havasupai Lodge. The hike is about 25 miles roundtrip (typically 5-6 hours in and 6-7 hours out). You can carry your camping gear or you can pay for a mule to carry your bags if backpacking isn’t your thing (more on that later). 

The two closest airports to Havasu Falls are Las Vegas (4 hours) or Phoenix (5 hours).

Where is Havasu Falls?

Havasu Falls is located in the Havasupai Reservation which is surrounded by the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. It is about 4 hours from Grand Canyon Village to the trailhead to get to Havasu Falls. Hualapai Hilltop is where the trailhead is located. There is a parking lot where you can leave your car for 3 days.

When to hike Havasu Falls?

You can make reservations to hike into Supai from February to November and each month has its own advantages and disadvantages. February to May will have fewer hikers, but the weather is still very chilly (but can be great for hiking) and the water is very cold at this time so swimming might not be an option. 

The summer months (May-August) are the most popular time to go as the weather is arguably the best, but keep in mind a lot of this hike is exposed to the sun so it will be a hot hike in the summer. The water will be cool and refreshing after working up a sweat on the hike!

The fall is my favorite time to hike in this area in general, as the temperatures are cooler and the water is still warmer from the summer sun. Keep in mind in the spring and fall the desert temperatures drop at night so you’ll want to pack warm clothes for when the sun goes down.

Getting a Permit

Since the hike is on an Indian reservation you’ll need to get a permit to hike onto their land. You have to make a reservation online and you must do this before February 1st of the year that you are looking to hike so some advanced planning is required. You must book the permit for a minimum of three nights. If you need to cancel or change your reservation you can do so through the website.

Lake Havasu Falls Hike

Starting from Havasupai Hilltop parking lot you can begin the 8-mile hike right from your car. The hike crawls along a canyon wall and is exposed to the sun almost the whole way. I would recommend starting the hike early to avoid hiking in the heat of midday. 

I got to Havasupai Hilltop parking lot at 5 am and started hiking around 5:30 am after getting all my gear fully in order. If you have organized to have a mule to carry your camping gear down they will give you instructions on where and when to meet. 

Make sure to bring plenty of drinking water, as there isn’t anywhere to get fresh water. I would recommend 2-3 liters for the way in especially if you’re hiking in the sun. Once you arrive at the campground there is spring-fed drinking water and plenty of it for your stay. 

Your first stop on the hike will be at the permit office in Supai Lodge to check-in. This is about 8-miles in. From Supai Lodge to Havasupai Campground is another 2 miles where you will pick your campsite. The camping is first come first serve. When you arrive you can check out Havasu Falls and cool down after a long day.

While You’re in Supai

lake havasu falls arizona
Havasu Falls Hike

Typically people hike in, hang for a day in Havasu canyon checking out the other waterfalls and hikes and then hike out on the third day. You’ll see Havasu Creek running through the canyon with its beautiful turquoise water. Havasu Creek is the water source of the waterfalls in the canyon. 

The first morning I woke up and headed to Mooney Falls which is a 100-foot waterfall (the tallest in the area) about half a mile from the Havasupai Campground. Surrounded by red rock, the bright blue water pops and is incredibly alluring, especially in the heat. 

Two miles up the trail (about 3.5 miles from the campground) from Mooney Falls is Beaver Falls. Beaver Falls is the most remote of the waterfalls in the area. The trail is a little more difficult to get to so it keeps some of the other hikers away, but if you can navigate your way there it is totally worth it. I recommend wearing shoes that can get wet because the “trail” leads you through Havasu Creek a couple of times. 

If you’re really feeling up for a full day hike you can head all the way to the Colorado River. This is about a 16-mile hike, round trip.

Hiking Out of Havasu Falls

I would take the same approach that you did on the way in with an early start to avoid the heat. You have the advantage of knowing the trail now which always helps me on the return. You also now know that it is an uphill trek out of the canyon. Load up on water at the spring and head out at first light to avoid the midday heat. You can also have a later start but just keep confident with your hiking ability that you will make it out before dark. 

Havasu Falls is one of my favorite hikes because of the challenge of backpacking with all of your food, gear, and water. There is also the great reward of arriving at those beautiful blue falls. This is one not to be missed if you’re an avid hiker!

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