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Backpacking and Exploring the Waterfalls of Havasupai

Updated on September 7, 2014

Adventures in Havasupai!

A few years ago I saw a picture of spectacular Mooney Falls. I was amazed at the color of the water, and I immediately began researching to learn more. Mooney Falls and other nearby falls are all located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the state of Arizona. Supai Village is within Havasu Canyon, and the Havasupai Indian Tribe has jurisdiction over the land. The land is right outside the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. In January I was stuck at home with a bad cold, and I saw a picture of Havasu Falls. I researched online for hours and planned my trip to finally see the majestic waterfalls of Havasu Canyon. I made reservations for my husband and myself to camp May 22, 2012 to May 24, 2012. When the big day arrived we backpacked over 8 miles to the village of Supai and then continued 2 miles to the campground. Not far from the campground were the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen. Pictures are gorgeous, but seeing this in person is out of this world! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Photos by: Kevin and Mandy Stradley

Photos may only be used if linked back to this page. Please comment or message stating where you used them.

Backpacking In

The night before our big hike we stayed in Seligman, Arizona. In the morning we drove 1.5 hours to Hualapai Hilltop where we parked our car and got ready to start our descent into the canyon. Hualapai Hilltop is at the end of Indian Road 18, 65 miles north of Route 66. There are bathrooms to use and sometimes you can buy food or drinks. From the hilltop you can either hike, ride a mule/horse or take the helicopter. If you hike you can backpack everything in or you can pay to have a mule bring your gear. If you plan on taking a helicopter please note that the helicopter does not run every day.

My husband and I decided to backpack everything in to save money. When we started our hike we went down steep switchbacks for almost 2 miles.

The trail led us between towering cliffs which began to narrow. After hiking for a few hours we heard a stream. The color of the stream was unlike anything I have ever seen, and the water was at least 70 degrees.

We continued our hike and eventually made it to the village of Supai. As you head into the village you will see the tourism office on the left side of the trail. There are bathrooms inside and picnic tables right outside for those that would like to take a break. After resting we checked in and then continued to the campground.

Havasupai means People of the

Blue-Green Waters

Along the trail to Supai!

Along the trail to Supai!
Along the trail to Supai!

The Campground

As you head towards the campground you will pass Upper Navajo Falls and Lower Navajo Falls on your left. Farther down the path you will see Havasu Falls on your right. A couple of minutes beyond Havasu Falls is the entrance to the campground.

Most campsites have picnic tables and there are bathrooms as well. I recommend continuing farther down the path to look for a more private spot because the campground is actually quite long.

As you continue down the path you will see "Fern Spring" against the cliff to your left. This is where you can fill up water bottles, etc. I drank the water straight from the spring, but you can purify it if you would like.

There are campsites on either side of the stream. We ended up camping next to the second set of bathrooms on the left.

After we set up our tent and organized our belongings my husband took a nap on top of the picnic table. While he was resting he got quite the surprise when a squirrel climbed on top of him looking for food!

I was exhausted from backpacking, but I wanted to explore! I grabbed our camera and headed down the trail to see the rest of the campground.

On my left I saw a wooden sign pointing towards Mooney Falls. I continued down the trail and soon realized that I was standing on top of Mooney Falls!

Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls plummets 190'. To get to the base you have to be very careful! The trail is narrow and goes through tunnels to a section where you have to hold onto chains. The last section has a ladder to climb down. You can enjoy swimming at Mooney Falls and even trek a further 3 miles to get to Beaver Falls, yet another spectacular waterfall.

Upper Navajo Falls

After our first night of camping we hiked back up the trail to spend time at Navajo Falls. Upper Navajo Falls is beautiful and Lower Navajo Falls has an outstanding swimming hole!

Lower Navajo Falls

We spent hours basking in the sun at Lower Navajo Falls. I loved the 30 foot jump from the top of the falls. We also enjoyed climbing on the ledge behind the waterfall and jumping through the water and into the pool.

30' Jump!

Havasu Falls

We spent a lot of time at Havasu Falls. There is a trail from the campground that goes along the stream right to the waterfall. Havasu Falls is particularly spectacular because of its beauty. The falls plunge 100' into a pool surrounded by a larger pool that is about knee deep and then drops down into yet another pool. We stayed at Havasu Falls for hours and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the sand like beach of the waterfall. There are also large rocks in the water that you can sit on to enjoy the view.

Enjoying Havasu Falls

Helpful Tips!

We were traveling at the end of May and it was very hot! Make sure to leave as early as possible when you start your hike. The first day we did not leave until 8:30 am and by the time we reached the campground it was 105 degrees! On the way back we left at 5 am and arrived at the hilltop at 11:30 am.

Weigh your options. You can hike, ride a mule/horse, or helicopter to Supai. If you are hiking you also have the option to have a mule carry your pack. You can stay in the campground or the lodge.

Camp Suds Biodegradable Cleaner

If you want to wash anything in the stream you are required to use biodegradable soap.

Bring plenty of water for the hike! We each had about 1 gallon of water mixed with Gatorade powder. In the campground you can refill your water bottles/bladders at Fern Spring. We also brought tablets to purify the water from the stream.

The village has a general store with drinks, food, and supplies. Additionally, Native Americans sometimes sell food or drinks by the entrance to the campground. On our second night we bought Navajo Tacos which consisted of fried bread topped with beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and onion.

Bring strong rope! Most campers had everything tied up on a clothesline or hanging from a tree. Squirrels would love to eat all of your food like they ate ours! We had our food tied up in a tree with a shoelace and they bit right through it!

No alcohol is allowed and keep yours animals at home!

Gatorade Powdered Drink Mix

This was great for our hike!

Keep your valuables with you at all times. My husband's wallet was stolen right from our tent.

Try to go earlier in the season to avoid the heat. The end of May was uncomfortably hot. During the first night I put my towel in the stream and had it on me while I was sleeping to stay cool. The second day it cooled off a bit and I was fine, especially since I was swimming all day.

Backpacking Essentials

Backpack, day pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad (or hammock)

Food, water, stove, fuel, cooking pot, can opener, water purification system (we brought tablets) biodegradable soap (camp suds) meals that only require adding hot water (ramen, oatmeal), Gatorade powder

Clothing, hiking boots, water shoes, hiking poles, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, hat, insect repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste, watch, toilet paper (fold and put in plastic bag)

Map, camera, compass, flashlight, pocketknife, first aid kit, moleskin, rope, plastic bag to pack out trash

Exploring Havasupai Guide

A Guide to the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Deep in the Grand Canyon lies a place of unmatched beauty; a place where blue-green water cascades over fern-clad cliffs into travertine pools, where great blue heron skim canyon streams, and where giant cottonwoods and graceful willows thrive in the shade of majestic sandstone cliffs. Havasupai is a paradise enveloped in one of the earth's most rugged and parched landscapes. Exploring Havasupai is the essential destination guide for those visiting the area. The guidebook is filled with insider tips, fascinating background, and essential information. Details on canyon geology, weather patterns, and the unique flora and fauna add depth to a hiker's experience. Exploring Havasupai includes detailed maps, trail descriptions, stunning full-color photographs, and intriguing historical insights. This is the must-have guide for canyon visitors, whether arriving by helicopter, on horseback, or on foot. (as described on amazon) Photo from Amazon.

Havasupai Tribe's Website

Additional information, including phone numbers to make reservations can be found at this website:

Majestic Arizona

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I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour!

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    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      You had me at waterfalls! I'd love to plan a trip like this someday.

    • profile image

      Namsak 4 years ago

      Great trip. It would make a big change for me to go backpacking somewhere as dry and sunny as this!

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 4 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      A fantastic lens! Great! I enjoyed it and did not know that is place exist.... looking forward to visit it soon :)

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 4 years ago

      I enjoyed the photos very much, thanks for uploading!

      If I ever go to the States, I'll certainly try to visit the Grand Canyon -- and, why not, backpacking too.

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed the tour, beautiful pictures. I hope I could go there someday. Great lens.

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed the tour, beautiful pictures. I hope I could go there someday. Great lens.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      You sue know hot to make an adventure! Photos are spectacular, I particularly enjoyed the falls. Thanks:)

    • profile image

      LUMOSE 4 years ago

      Great lens and great pictures.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Yes I have enjoyed the virtual tour but honestly I would be happy to explore this beautiful place someday. I guess Arizona has many beautiful places to visit, thanks for the stunning photos, I like them :)

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 5 years ago from Diamondhead

      What a beautiful place. I've been to Arizona many time, but never here.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      I was stationed next door in New Mexico for a year and a half. I regret never having visited Arizona!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Liked it previously; SquidAngel blessed, today! ;-) Keep up the great work! ;-)

    • profile image

      TheGardenGuys 5 years ago

      Wow - some fantastic photos there !!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I was just in the canyon a few days ago, actually on a Search and Rescue mission looking for a woman who'd been following the creek on the way back out, never crossed the bridge, and missed the turn up Hualapai Canyon to the Hilltop. She ended up WAY down Cataract Canyon. Anyway, it was gorgeous down there ... and I didn't even get to the see waterfalls. It was my first time down there (I've hiked in Grand Canyon National Park a lot, though), so I was excited to see it ... even though we were looking for someone. She turned out to be physically okay, just shaken up and very thirsty. Anyway, I hope to get back down there SOON ... as "just a hiker" and see those amazing falls.

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 5 years ago

      Looks out of this world. The colour of the water is amazing! What a stunning place.

    • profile image

      RaniaCalvenea 5 years ago

      I've never been to the Grand Canyon but want to go there sometime!

    • profile image

      IndigoJanson 5 years ago

      I'd love to see those falls, the scenery is so lovely. What an amazing place to enjoy nature's beauty.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Remarkable, beautiful photos! I particularly like the one of you making the 30' jump.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The pictures look so pretty that they look like they can't be real. I haven't been to the Grand Canyon but want to go there sometime.

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @anonymous: My husband and I split the tent in our packs. We did not use our regular camping tent. We used a pretty tiny one so that helped with the weight. Depending on when you are traveling you may want to think about having mules carry your packs. I would recommend this if it is going to be very hot while you are hiking. Have fun!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, I'm planning a trip in May...thanks for the info! How did you carry your tent in? Wasn't it really heavy?

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @anonymous: We split some food items and the tent. Our backpacks were full size, yet we fit everything inside of them (some people had sleeping bags/pads tied up under or above their packs. We tried to pack as light as possible and used smaller backpacking pads and sleeping bags, not our normal camping sleeping bags/pads. When I go back I think I will bring more comfortable items and have a mule carry them down!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @anonymous: We brought backpacks, a day pack, a tent, sleeping bags and pads. I noticed quite a few people just using hammocks, and my husband didnât even go in the tent because he was too hot. Bring plenty of easy food to make, but there are some food items in town too (think gas station), bring enough water for the hike, stove, fuel, cooking pot, can opener, water purification system (we brought tablets) biodegradable soap (camp suds) meals that only require adding hot water (ramen, oatmeal). We loved having gatorade powder on the hike! When you get to the campground there is a place to get water, and it is your choice whether or not you will purify it. You will also want clothing and swimwear, hiking boots, water shoes (I used Tevas), hiking poles (we used 1 each), sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, hat, insect repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste, a watch, and toilet paper (fold and put in plastic bag) if necessary for the hike. We also brought a camera, compass, flashlight, pocketknife, first aid kit, moleskin, rope, and plastic bags to pack out trash. The most important thing is to leave EARLY if it is going to be a hot day. You are going about a month before I did, so it should be a little better. The hike to camp is not very difficult (pretty much downhill), but it is the heat that can get to you! You may want to consider having them carry your gear down on a mule when you get to the hilltop (have cash on hand if you want to do this or sign up early). Enjoy!! It is seriously awesome!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 5 years ago

      Awesome pictures!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for so much information! My husband and I are planning a trip April 11 - 13, 2013. We are very excited and found your article to be very informative. We do have one question though, regarding backpacks. Like you, we are planning on taking everything in. Can you tell me the size of your backpacks? Did you and your husband split the load? Thanks for your help!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My wife and I are planning to backpack to the falls April 12-13 we already have our reservation. Would love your advice on what we need to have as far as gear ( backpacks etc.) and any help you could give us. We hike alot of the mountains around the phoenix area so we hope that will help us. Hope to hear back. and thank you.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      *** Blessed by a SquidAngel ***

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I still have to go there.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      I'm pinning it on travel board. Beautiful photos! I'm envious.

    • Mami Design profile image

      Mami Design 5 years ago

      Simply amazing lens! Blessed!!

    • profile image

      achivevery 5 years ago

      Is this an animated scene or CGI from movies. Astonishing!!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      Wish I was there. Great pics.

    • attraction 42 profile image

      attraction 42 5 years ago

      It is so beautiful. :)

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      This place looks beautiful. I'd love to go there.

    • profile image

      MyBabyBoo 5 years ago

      Awesome lens, great job!

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

      SquidAngel blessings.

    • TaraWojt profile image

      Tara Wojtaszek 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tour, looks like a fabulous place to visit.

    • Im Horse Crazy profile image

      Im Horse Crazy 5 years ago

      I just wanted to say thankyou for comenting on my lens and great pics by the way!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You can rent equipment at most sporting good stores, but it ends up costing almost as much as just buying new equipment. Where will you be flying in from? I might not be able to respond until Monday because I am camping in Yosemite this weekend!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We were hoping to do this hike in October but the lodge is booked and we have NO experience with camping. Do you know about renting camping equipment? We would be flying to Arizona and would not be able to bring camping stuff with us. Any suggestion?

    • msalada lm profile image

      msalada lm 5 years ago

      Beautiful pictures! I looks like I need to add this place to my list.

    • profile image

      Matt_Lowe 5 years ago

      Very cool. I'd love to go hiking there one day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wow amazing, great place

    • profile image

      msseiboi 5 years ago

      Great and cool places

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful images that make my mind relax and peaceful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Gorgeous photos.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Thanks for sharing your experience - I'd heard of the beautiful Havasupai Falls but don't expect to visit myself. Angel blessed

    • Monica Ranstrom profile image

      Monica Ranstrom 5 years ago

      Amazing beauty! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    • Michelle Hogan profile image

      Michelle Hogan 5 years ago

      Great lens. I wish I lived closer.

    • TheMinuteIdea LM profile image

      TheMinuteIdea LM 5 years ago

      Amazing, esspecially the waterfall jumping. Seeing you do it has made me want to do it :). Thanks allot for sharing this great lens and useful information

    • bwet profile image

      bwet 5 years ago

      fantastic looking pictures! great lens btw

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great picture, tips thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      I love your pictures - especially the one where you jump! Cool!

    • spikeyflower profile image

      spikeyflower 5 years ago

      Great pictures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow great place to visit.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Wow, your photos and descriptions make me want to go there. Beautiful.

    • peachplanet profile image

      peachplanet 5 years ago

      I love AZ! I've been to Sedona and GC and can't wait to go back and visit again.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 5 years ago

      What a great adventure you had! I love the pictures, I wish we could do this as family. Great job on your lens. Thanks!

    • Mark Shirbroun profile image

      Mark Shirbroun 5 years ago

      Awesome pictures - what a cool trip!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How I wish, I could do with a break. The water of the Havasupai falls are so clean and fresh, I love the blue it reflects the colour of the sky.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      Great photos!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @bobbie_drake: Thanks for the facebook like and squidlike!

    • profile image

      bobbie_drake 5 years ago

      Thank you for posting this very informative lens. Love all your pictures! :)

    • Diva2Mom profile image

      Diva2Mom 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! Thanks for sharing this amazing scenery! Love it! God bless.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Stunning waterfalls!

      Looks like you decided to take the plunge

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      Wow these are amazing photos. I would love to go there some day. Great lens@

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      So great. You made me HaPpY!! *** Blessed by a SquidAngel ***

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      We've hiked in Havasupai several times, but not for several years since the big flood. Great photos and thanks for the happy memories! We also lived in Sedona for 15 years and our daughter is still there, so it's our favorite visiting place in Arizona.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Me and my family just got back yesterday. We had a BLAST! I totally recomend this trip for people with older kids. The hike down to Mooney and the Hike to Beaver Falls was So amazing. My kids loved it. ( They are 15, 17, and 18)

    • InSearchOf LM profile image

      InSearchOf LM 5 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful. I had never heard of seen of this place. Thank you for sharing it. You are so brave to take that 30 foot jump and it looks like fun!

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Wow. That place is incredible! I am pretty certain that I have seen some video footage from a friend's visit there or read about it in a book many years ago as it is very familiar to me. As soon as I saw the photo at the top and read the name, I knew where it was. If only I had come across this page six months ago. I was just at the Grand Canyon last March and would have loved to have visited here as well. Maybe next time.

    • vegetablegardenh profile image

      vegetablegardenh 5 years ago

      Those pictures are gorgeous, I really want to go there now. Wonderful lens!

    • jmchaconne profile image

      jmchaconne 5 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens with stunning images. In 1998 I rode a bicycle from Santa Barbara, to Boston. My trek through Native American country in Arizona, was one of the highlights. Thanks for the lens, and the visit!

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      visual treat!

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Beautiful and enticing!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      What a wonderful and educational lens! Thank you for sharing! I've lived in Arizona twice, heard a lot about it, but never got there. Thanks, again! ;-)

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      Growing up I spent a lot of time climbing the falls near the lake house. So give me a change to see some other water falls and I am there. Thanks.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      My parents have a time share in Sedona, so I've driven there from Los Angeles a couple of times. I had no idea I was passing up such beauty. Your photos make it very tempting. Perhaps we'll fit this in when we go back to the Grand Canyon.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, beautiful pictures! I would love to see Mooney Falls. It is surprising to me that there is blue-green water in the Grand Canyon - not what I would expect. Terrific lens!

    • profile image

      BestItems 5 years ago

      Very nice lens, thanks for showing your beautiful pictures and giving all the tips about making reservations, and camping. I have driven past when visiting the Grand Canyon, and would definitely like to do the trip down to the falls you wrote about. Swimming there and jumping off that waterfall looks like a blast!

    • mary-humphrey profile image

      mary-humphrey 5 years ago

      I can say nothing but WOW..what beautiful pictures..great job on capturing the beauty of this magnificent place.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've been to Sedona and the grand canyon, but never made it to the Waterfalls of Havasupai, so I appreciate the virtual trip there. Maybe I'll get there in person some day. Thanks.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      A trip to Havasu Falls has been high on my wish list for the past couple of years. I was supposed to go there for my birthday last fall. The trip fell through, but I am sure I will get there before too long. I had thought about going this May, but I want to go when the weather is cooler. I'm thinking an autumn hike into the canyon will be spectacular. Thanks for sharing your adventure, tips, and gorgeous photos. Appreciated!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      @clouda9 lm: Sedona is fabulous! Thank you for blessing this lens!!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 5 years ago

      Thank you for the virtual trip to Havasupai Waterfalls. I have yet to travel to Arizona...Sedona is on my bucket list though :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      This place looks stunning.

    • AgingIntoDisabi profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 5 years ago

      Visually stunning lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens. Wow! What beauty! Thanks for sharing your fabulous trip.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for letting me know about your site! Great photos and information!I know we will have a great time!

    • SharpLee profile image

      SharpLee 5 years ago

      Wow, incredible colors and photos. What a place to visit! Thank you for the great information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Super awesome, although I'd probably want to go in fall or early spring. Amazing color combination with the turquoise and green waters and the reddish rocks. Cool as heck.

    • howdoyouspellst profile image

      howdoyouspellst 5 years ago

      Great lens!! Wow!! I love all the tips, and your photographs are fantastic!!

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      OMGosh -- look at you jumping! Why am I at all surprised? You are awesome! What fabulous photos. Now I see why it is worth the hike. Fantastic! I will find a some lenses of mine to share all your great work. SquidLiked by a Giant Squid!


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