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How to Hike to Havasupai Falls: A Guide For 2024

The Havasupai Indian reservation in the Grand Canyon is home to a collection of exquisite turquoise-blue waterfalls.  This guide will give you a complete run-down of how to hike to Havasupai Falls, including how to reserve permits and all campsite reservation rules. 

This oasis used to be somewhat of a hidden gem, and I had the opportunity to hike to the falls when permits were slightly easier to obtain. 

Even though getting permits is now much more difficult, it is definitely doable, especially if you are flexible with your travel plans.  We hope you can use this guide to plan a fantastic excursion to this amazing place.

Swimmers in the pool underneath Havasu Falls, the most famous photo stop after a hike to havasupai falls
Havasu Falls

Best Time Hike to Havasupai Falls

The Havasupai trail is open from February through November, and getting a permit is difficult enough that the short answer is: go whenever you can. 

However, there are a few additional things to keep in mind.  July and August in the Grand Canyon are HOT, and actually, the trail into Supai is often closed if the temperature gets above 115 degrees F. 

The reservation does not offer any type of refund or opportunity to reschedule.  Also, July and August typically see more rainfall than the other months of the year.  Be sure to check the National Weather Service website for flashflood risks before starting your hike. 

That being said, my family hiked in August and had a great time.  We made sure to hike in the cooler morning hours, and then we spent the heat of the afternoon hanging out in the shade or swimming in the falls.

How to Get a Permit

All hikers MUST have an overnight permit to visit the Havasupai reservation falls.  NO day hiking is allowed.  You must either have a campground reservation or a reservation at the Lodge in the small town of Supai (2 miles from the falls).  I will discuss each of these options in more detail.  All reservations are for 4 days/3 nights.

Campsite Reservation

The Havasupai campsite is located near Havasu Falls, about a 10-mile hike from the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead, and 2 miles past the town of Supai. 

All campsite permits open on February 1st at 8:00 a.m. Arizona Time, and are reserved with your account at havasupaireservations.com.  The tribe no longer accepts phone reservations, so please do not clog their phone lines by calling. 

Typically, all permits for non-winter months get claimed within the first few hours, so be logged in and ready to book your dates right at 8 a.m.  For 2023, campground reservations are $395 per person (for the 3-night stay).

a tent with green trees in the background at the Havasupai Falls campground
Our camping area

Havasupai Lodge Reservation

The Havasupai Lodge is located in the town of Supai.  Reservations for the lodge also open in February for the upcoming year, and are reserved at havasupailodge.com.  The price per person is $1,980 for 4 days/3 nights.  Each room has 2 queen beds and can sleep up to 4 adults.  The rooms have showers, towels, a couch, and charcoal grills available in the courtyard.

LEARN MORE: visit Havasupai’s official tourism Facebook page for updates

Tips for Landing a Permit to Hike to Havasupai Falls

The best way to ensure that you will get a permit is to be flexible with your trip dates and to have multiple people apply as trip leaders.  If you are unable to get a permit in February, frequently check the campground cancellation/transfers page, where any cancellations are posted each day.

Things to Keep in Mind When Making a Reservation

  1. The ‘Trip Leader’ must be the person to check in at the Tourist Check-in office (located on the way to the campground).  The only exception is if the trip leader had officially designated a Potential Alternate Trip Leader (PATL) BEFORE the reservation was made online.  If the Trip Leader would like to transfer the reservation to their alternate, they must use the official transfer system at HavasupaiReservations.com before beginning the hike.  
  2. The trip leader must have a photo ID with them to check in and obtain wristbands for all group members at the Tourist office in Supai.
  3. You may edit the PATL until the reservation is completed online.  No other changes are allowed after that point.
  4. Each reservation may include up to 12 people.  All prices are per person.
  5. All members of a reservation party (even if they aren’t the trip leader) must have an account with havasupaireservations.com BEFORE arriving.  This is so they can verify that they have read and understood the reservation rules.  Havasupai requires each member to show proof of their account (like a screenshot of their account information page) on arrival.
  6. All vehicles parked on Havasupai lands must have their campsite reservation displayed on the front windshield of the car.
a small farm with corn plants at Supai Village in the Grand Canyon.
This is the beginning of Supai village

Rules for Visiting Havasupai

If you have scored a permit and are planning your trip to Havasupai Falls, congratulations!  Please remember that this incredible area is part of tribal land and they take the following rules VERY seriously.  Anyone found in violation can have their reservation canceled for the entire group, and pay large fines.

  1. EACH member must have an animal-proof container to store all food and trash at all times.  The tribe recommends bringing a few small bear canisters.  There are no bears in the Grand Canyon, but these canisters are one of the better ways to protect food from other animals.  Additionally, the Havasupai reservation recommends organizing food in odor-proof plastic bags within your bear canisters.
  2. You must pack out everything that you bring in. This is an important point to remember when putting together your Havasupai Falls packing list.
  3. Quiet hours are from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and loud music is not permitted at any time. 
  4. The following are NOT permitted while visiting the falls
    1. ANY Alcohol or drugs
    2. Dogs or other pets
    3. Drones
    4. Campfires (gas canister cooking stoves are okay)
    5. Diving or jumping from any of the falls
    6. Taking photos of Havasupai people or property.  Please be respectful.
  5. Mules and horses have the right of way on the trail.  Please pay attention while hiking.  If on a switchback section of the trail, step to the inside (wall side) of the trail to let horses/mules pass.
  6. Night hiking is not permitted due to the increased risk of injury or getting lost.  The Havasupai Tribe closes the section of trail from Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead to the village of Supai each night between sunset and 4 a.m.
  7. Each person must carry a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person for the hike in and (especially) the hike out.  There is NO water along the trail or at Hualapai Hilltop.
  8. There are a few old mineshafts down near Havasu Falls.  Do NOT explore these as they are very dangerous, and medical assistance is not readily available.
  9. Travel Insurance is highly recommended 
a row of mules walking along the trail near Havasupai Falls
One of the many mule trains that passed us on our hike to the falls

How Difficult is the Hike to Havasupai Falls?

The Havasupai Trail from Hualapai Hilltop to the campsite near Havasu Falls is about 10 miles with 2200 feet of descent into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

Additionally, because the Havasupai reservation does not allow day hikes, you must be able to complete the route carrying all your backpacking gear (tent, sleeping bag, food, etc).  Please also keep in mind the temperature.   

a row of hikers descending a switchback on the Havasupai Falls trail
Descending the southern side of the Grand Canyon from Hualapai Hilltop trailhead

Getting to the Trailhead

The trailhead begins at Hualapai Hilltop, which is about 4 hours away from both Phoenix Arizona (if driving from the south), and Las Vegas (if coming from the west or the north). 

To get to Hualapai Hilltop you will drive to the end of Indian Road 18 which is about 60 miles from where you turn off Route 66.  The closest gas stations are quite far away from the trailhead. 

If coming from Las Vegas, the last station is in Peach Springs, or if coming from Phoenix the last station is at Grand Canyon Caverns. 

However, these small gas stations may be closed at times, so it is recommended to have enough gas to drive 200 miles before even starting down Indian Road. 

‘Havasupai Trailhead, Supai, AZ’ on Google Maps will lead you right to it.  Just make sure you have a backup marked map or reliable GPS as cell reception is spotty.

a map showing directions to the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead
This is the driving map from the Havasupai Tribe website

What’s the Deal with Water?

There are NO water sources along the trail from Hualapai Hilltop to the village of Supai, so each person must pack at least a gallon of water for the hike in and the hike out. 

Once in the village of Supai, water is available for purchase at the Cafe, Store, and Lodge.  Once at the campsite area near the falls, each group will need to have at least a few water filters to obtain water from the nearby Fern Spring.

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