“A scenic, 19-mile round-trip route within the Havasupai Indian Reservation.”
— Connor Davis
Birding · Cave · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
Typically closed to tourists in December, January, and February. (No set dates)
For entry and camping permits, call or email the Havasupai Tourist Office. They can be reached here: (928)448-2121/2141/2180 or by email at email@example.com.
If you're calling for a reservation, keep in mind that the office rarely answers the phone. Your best bet is to call after 9am MST and often after that if your call is not answered.
More info: havasupai-nsn.gov/tourism.html
This moderately difficult 19-mile round-trip hike takes place entirely on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, weaving through the southern side of the Grand Canyon, into the remote village of Supai, and concluding at 100-foot-tall Havasu Falls. It takes 4-7 hours each way, and is significantly more difficult on the way out than on the way in. Plan ahead, drink enough water, and wear a lot of sunscreen to ensure that everyone has a good time.
Need to Know
-Permits are absolutely mandatory to be on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. These permits are incredibly difficult to acquire, and often need to be reserved months in advance.
-If interested, visitors can purchase helicopter rides both in and out of the canyon through Airwest Helicopters.
-Many visitors pay for horses and pack mules to carry their belongings in and out of the canyon. These services can be reserved ahead of time through the Havasupai Tourist Office.
-The village of Supai has plenty of supplies, including food and water, that can be found at two different stores: Sinyella Store and Havasupai Grocery Store. Try to support both stores, as they rely heavily on tourism.
-The only alternative to camping on the reservation is staying at the Havasupai Lodge. Reservations can be made through the Havasupai Lodge Office.
-The journey into the canyon is significantly easier than the journey out, so plan ahead and give yourself extra time.
Starting at the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot, the Havasupai Trail kicks off with a mile of switchbacks descending into the Grand Canyon. The trail is well-maintained, made of packed dirt and rock, and about 10 feet wide with small rock walls on its sides.
About a mile and a half in, the trail completely flattens out and you’ll find yourself on the canyon floor, weaving along a 20-foot wide riverbed for the next 4 miles or so.
By the time you reach mile 5, the canyon narrows a bit more. The trail is about 10 feet wide again with some shade for the first time, thanks to the canyon walls. The walls are also much taller by now, standing well over 100 feet.
Once you’re closing in on the 6-mile mark, the scenery changes vastly, and becomes more representative of what’s to come in Supai and the various waterfalls ahead. Some packed sand comes into play, trees start to appear in the distance, and you can hear Havasu Creek flowing if you listen closely enough. The trail also descends into the canyon a little bit more dramatically at this point, signifying that you’re only a couple of miles from Supai.
Seven miles in, you’ll find yourself under lush Gambel Oak trees in more sand. The walls are even taller now, ranging up to a good 300 feet, and Havasu Creek will soon appear on your right. A half-mile later, about 7.5 miles in, you’ll cross a bridge over to the right side of the creek, move away from the water a bit, and finally descend into Supai.
Once you reach the bottom of this descent, about 8 miles in, the canyon opens way up and you’ll see Supai. Upon reaching the village’s main area, the Havasupai Tourist Office will show up on your left, where you need to check in and pay for permits.
You’ll then make your way through the village and descend 2 miles further into the canyon, with the exception of a couple short uphill sections (the first real uphills of the trip in). Navajo Falls appears below the left side of the trail, a little over 9 miles in, and after crossing another bridge, Havasu Falls will soon appear below the trail on your right.
After one more mile of descending, you’ll finally reach the Havasupai Campground, and you can start planning your trip for the way back. Make sure to check out Mooney Falls
and Beaver Falls, too, which are located 0.5 and 3.5 miles past the campground, respectively.
Flora & Fauna
Gambel Oak, Scrub Oak, Prickly Pear Cactus, Yucca
Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Rams, Mule Deer, Common Kingsnakes, Rattlesnakes, Wild Horses, Domesticated Horses, Pack Mules
History & Background
The Havasupai Indian Tribe has lived on this land for about eight centuries, long before the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park in 1919. Very little is known about the tribe prior to the creation of the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the 1880s.
The reservation was officially created in 1880 on just 518 acres. But in 1975, through the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act, the reservation was expanded to 188,077 acres, allowing the Havasupai people to build a new economy around tourism.
This tourism economy has its downfalls, though. Managing such a large piece of land is a lot of work, and visitors often leave their trash behind, degrading the environment in the process. It’s also expensive to manage this land, and it doesn’t appear that the tribe has the resources it needs. For obvious reasons, visitors must treat this sacred land with the utmost respect.