HAVASU FALLS DAY TRIP UPDATE!!! As of recently, I have been informed that you can NO LONGER DO DAY TRIPS to Havasu Falls without a reservation and permit! Reservations are extremely hard to get so call Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121 really far in advance to make one! Sorry guys! You can still use this post for info on the waterfall portion of the hike 🙂
LATEST HAVASU FALLS DAY TRIP UPDATE: Previously I heard that someone got in contact with the Havasupai Tourism Office (I still, to this day, have NOT heard back from them) and they said no more day hike passes. BUT, in the comments below, and in emails, I’ve had a couple people say they did the hike or helicopter in, and still were able to get passes at the office. I’m not 100% sure that they WON’T turn you away, but I’m just going to leave it at they will “definitely maybe” let you buy one…bring cash!
Location: Supai, Arizona
Time: FULL DAY
Cost: $48 – $210+
Difficulty: Hard as F*ck
Any thoughts or images you have in your head about a nice easy hike to a pretty waterfall should be extracted and squashed immediately if you’re thinking of going to Havasu Falls. There is a very good reason why not that many people have been there.
For starters, day hikes to Havasu Falls are extremely discouraged (UPDATE NOW THEY’RE NOT EVEN ALLOWED), not to mention difficult, and potentially expensive, however it’s pretty much your only option if you really want to see the falls. It’s also potentially dangerous…for instance I almost got trapped there due to a flash flood.
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The option to camp there or stay at the lodge on the Indian reservation is pretty much nonexistent, unless you book it a year or more in advance.
Why is it so difficult to get to, you ask? Well, because Havasu Falls is located in Havasupai, an Indian reservation that happens to be in the middle of a freaking canyon that you can only get to by horse, helicopter, or an 8 mile hike. Oh, and that’s 8 miles each way, which takes about 4 hours, plus another 2 miles each way to get to the actual falls.
So unless you want to attempt a 20 mile hike, consider these other options, and make sure you’re prepared before you go hike to Havasu Falls.
I still don’t know whether I’m supposed to call it Havasu or Havasupai, or Supai, or whatever other Indian name they have for that area, but I know it’s pretty much impossible to GPS this place so you’ll actually need to follow these directions. So here’s a quick reference for the rest of the article so you actually know what the hell I’m talking about:
Havasu Falls: The main, most popular waterfall IN
Havasupai: The Indian reservation….just think of it as the little village you need to get inside
Supai: The actual city/town and what you’ll see on the map/what you should aim for when you’re driving there
Hualapai Hilltop: Just the name of the top of the hill where the trailhead is…
Trailhead: Where the trail begins to hike/ride/fly to Havasupai in order to hike to Havasu Falls
– If you want to camp, you HAVE to call in advance and reserve a spot (Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121). They’re booked almost year-round though so you might be shit out of luck anyway.
– You have to pay an Indian reservation fee or something that’s $8 and a day-hike pass for $40 (UPDATE: NO MORE DAY PASSES, OVERNIGHT ONLY), PLUS additional fees if you take the helicopter or horses, so bring cash and credit card.
– When I say “FULL DAY” I’m serious…it’s a minimum 3 hour drive from the closest towns, then an additional 6 – 12 hours of hiking.
– Bring a lot of water and snacks, obviously.
– Stop in Seligman or Peach Springs for gas, bathrooms, food, water, etc. before you head up to the trailhead because there’s NOTHING until you get to the actual reservation.
– Check the weather, if it’s supposed to rain, DON’T GO! I almost got stuck there because of a flash flood!
– There are 5 waterfalls total, so don’t just spend all of your time at Havasu Falls!
– Havasu Falls has absolutely nothing to do with Lake Havasu nor is it located there.
You’ll need to drive to get to the Havasupai trailhead, and don’t be surprised that there’s no short cut from the Grand Canyon…even though it’s fairly close to it in physical proximity.
FROM THE GRAND CANYON: 4 hours, lame, I know. Anyway, drive South on I180 towards the town called Williams. Take a right (west) on I40 and drive about 1.5 hours until you get to the Historic Route 66 turnoff in Seligman. Once you start getting closer to Peach Springs, start looking for Indian 18, it’ll be a little road right before it which you’ll turn right (north) on. Keep driving for an hour or so until you see the parking lot, then park depending on where/how you plan on getting to Havasupai.
FROM VEGAS/ANYWHERE WEST: Head Southeast on I95 then keep left for I93 South towards Kingman (you can probably GPS this part). Immediately after Kingman, turn left for Historic Route 66, and follow it towards Peach Springs. Right after Peach Springs, look for Indian 18 on the left (north) and follow it until you get to the parking lot.
Parking is free but there’s three lots depending on who you are and how you want to get there. The first lot you drive through is where you park if you want to take the helicopter or if there’s no more parking left in the main lot. There’s a lot below it to the left, closer to the edge of the cliff, but that is reserved for the Indians only.
The furthest lot is where you check in for the horse/mule rides, and also where you start the hike by foot, so park there if that’s how you’re getting there.
After you park, get your gear together and get ready for 4 hours of walking! The trailhead starts at the top of the parking lot and gradually descends down into the canyon, where you’ll continue walking for the majority of the time.
Make sure you time your day correctly; get there early AF to avoid heat and actually have enough time to see the falls, and if you’re planning on hiking back, allow enough time to leave before the sun starts to set. You do not want to be hiking for 8 miles in the dark.
This might sound funny, but for people who don’t want to walk for 8 miles or have a fear of heights, it’s a pretty good option. You can pay $70 for one way or $120 round trip to get from the trailhead to the reservation, and you HAVE to call and make reservations in advance (Lodge Office: 1-928-448-2111 or 1-928-448-2201).
If you want to save money but also save time, you can hike to the reservation one way and take the horse/mule the other. (I.e. hike in and then ride a horse out).
This might sound fancy and expensive, but it’s only $15 more than the one way horse ticket. One way from the hilltop to the reservation is $85 and it only takes about 10 minutes to get there, plus you get a sick ass view of the canyon.
BUT they don’t take reservations, which means it’s a first come first serve deal EXCEPT priority goes to the Indians (many of them live or work there and this is their way of commuting) and any goods that need to be flown into the town. They start taking reservations at 10am, so try to get there at 9:30am.
ALSO, the helicopter goes back and forth non-stop, so there’s a flight every 20 minutes or so, BUT it stops around 1pm!!! That means you CAN’T plan on hiking IN and flying OUT because there’s no way you’ll have enough time unless you start at the crack of dawn!
ONE WAY RIDE: If you want to save some money and only pay for a one way flight, I’d highly suggest flying in as early as possible, that way you have some time to hike to all of the falls, eat, take selfies, etc., then hiking out. But make sure if you plan on hiking out that you leave by about 2-3pm or else it’ll get dark on you!
ROUNDTRIP RIDE: This is obviously the easiest way to get in and out of Havasupai without having to walk for four hours or ride an animal for 3. It’s about $170 and the only thing you have to worry about is getting a spot in line, and making it back in time for the last flight.
A few more things…check the weather, because they only fly when it’s good, if you use a card to pay for the flight, it’s an additional $16 and they DO NOT take cards AT the actual reservation.
OH and check the flight schedule because during Summer (March 15 – October 15) they fly Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday, and during Winter (October 16 – March 14) they only fly on Saturday and Sunday.
**UPDATE: NO MORE DAY PASSES (WOMP) YOU MUST CALL AND GET A RESERVATION FOR OVER NIGHT STAYS
Unfortunately, you can’t just sneakily start hiking to the waterfalls once you make it to the reservation/lodge. They require campers and hikers to wear neon colored tags that says they’ve paid for the pass to be there, and if you don’t have one, you get fined.
Once you’re in the main area of the village, walk to your right past a massive tree where you’ll see a little building with a bulletin board out front. Buy your day hike pass there. It’s $40 plus the Indian reservation fee of $8, plus tax.
Once you have your day pass, you can stop in the little town to use the restroom, grab a bite to eat, or get more water. They have a little convenience store plus a little cafe, but it closes early so don’t plan on going to it after the waterfall hike.
The person you get your day pass from will give you a map and point you in the right direction, but basically you’ll walk back through town, pass the little shops, and keep to your left, until you see a cute little, slightly creepy church, then a sign for Havasu Falls pointing to the right.
Take the trail, and keep right the entire way. Sometimes there will be forks, and some of those forks lead down to the creek and some little falls, but if you don’t want to get lost, just stay right.
Like I said before, there are 5 waterfalls in Havasupai, not just Havasu Falls. Your map will show you where they are, but you’ll pass them as you go regardless, and they’ll be in this order:
(4.5 mi *you can only hike here if you stay more than one day)
Two of my readers actually followed my exact Havasu Falls Day Trip post and made it to Havasu Falls in a day AND when there was way better weather! They sent me the photos on Instagram, so thanks @brittanydagostino!!!