I’m an explorer photographer seeking landscapes to shoot. This blog page I dedicate as a platform to share visual stories where I’ve been going to photograph, and life lessons I’ve learned along the way. Havasu was my first backpacking trip last year so thats the reason I came back now in April 2017 to make this material.
I hope you find this guide useful and that it helps you create a memorable Havasupai Falls an Active Lifestyle Experience.
Just a short history, Havasu Canyon is home to the Havasupai Indian Tribe of Arizona, whose name is translated to “people of the blue green water”.
You begin the trip down the trail by parking your car at the top the canyon. Be prepare to bring everything you will need on your back and begin to go downhill. If you arrive during the sunset you can appreciate the view below.
Remember the best time to hike specialy for long distances is morning so try to go downhill and come back to the top of canyon leaving early between 4 – 6am to escape the noon sun!
When you arrive in the village after 7 miles of hiking you need to go to check in at the tourist office to get your permit and pay your fees.
For your information you can get down to the Supai Village in few different ways:
- Hire mules to carry your equipment downhill;
- Pay helicopter ride for you and your equipment;
Inside the village there is a restaurant and market store.
After almost 2 miles of hiking you will reach the Little Navajo Falls following the trail on the left side after you first see the Navajo Falls. The trail is little bit tricky, but certaitly worth it.
The photo above is of the Little Navajo Falls
The photo above is of the top of the Navajo Falls and below the bottom of the same beautful waterfall.
This is a perfect spot for take some beautiful photos of the Navajo Falls.
Havasu Falls is just down the hill from the trail of the Navajo Falls. The falls drop over 100 feet into the pool such as can be seen below. Explore the area spending time swimming in the pools and also the cascades into another pool.
I took this photo with my camera from the top of Havasu Falls (drone’s are prohibited and also not allowed diving or jumping from the top of fall).
I took this photo below from the top of left side of the canyon.
Here is a view from the bottom of the Havasu Falls, best destination ever. There are several picnic tables where you can sit, have a snack, or stash your stuff while you go for a swim.
Look how nice the cascades below conecting into different pool that is great for swim. For your information nighttime photography at the Havasu Falls is breathtaking. It’s the closest and easiest way to get back to the campground in the dark.
When you arrive in the campground, set up your tent, drop your pack and replenish your water. Yes, you are now free to came back to explorer and hike your surroundings!
I like to set up my tent closer to the creek but you have free spots, all over the campground including closer to the restrooms (two) in the campground.
For your information:
- no campfires;
- no showers;
- bring your own trash bags to dispose of when you go back to the village;
- there is a faucet for fresh spring water on the west side of the canyon (don’t contaminate washing prohibited);
- That is something important and funny, yes watch out for MARMOTS. They are sneaky and will get into your food if left out where they can get to it. When you leave your camp to go for a swim or a hike, make sure to hang or stash your food away. Last time I left a bag of nuts inside of my tent, guess what? Yes it was ripped with his teeth.
Backpacking to Havasupai could be challenging for most people specialy in the summer, so keep your backpack as light as possible, packing your bag being conscious of how much weight each item is adding.
I would recommend the essential items below:
- backpack of 60-70 liter to carry everything;
- lightweight tent / hammock;
- light sleeping bag (very important);
- flash light (a spare set of batteries or mobile charger);
- first aid kit (bands-aids, blister bandages, alcohol wipes);
- hiking shoes;
- hiking socks / extra pairs (important to keep away moisture to help prevent blisters from forming);
- aqua shoes;
- sun screen;
- MREs (Meals Ready to Eat);
- lightweight cookware;
- lightweight backpacking stove with propane;
- water (remember its recommend to drink at least 8 ounce glasses (2 liters/half gallon) per day;
- quick dry towel;
- insect repellent spray (depend of the season);
Mooney Falls is the largest waterfall in Havasupai, it will require some exercises, caution and taking time to go down the cliff. Its a perfect spot to spend time picnicking, hanging out or even taking some photos of the waterfall into the stunning blue pool.
Good tip wear a small daypack if you want to bring a camera and leave your trekking poles at camp (I really don’t want to hear about your trekking poles going down thru the river).
Look the picture below how is so amazing the way downhill. Rock climbing isn’t allowed.
Mooney Falls requires you to enter and climb down 2 rock tunnels, followed by chains, a few wooden ladders and metal handles that allow you to descend.
When you reach the base you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Mooney Falls.
The access to Beaver Falls start’s by following the trail 3 miles down the river. Are you looking to admire and spend time in this amazing waterfall? Keep reading the guide.
The view above I took from the top of the canyon and yes they trail to the Beaver Falls has 2 ways to access from the bottom and top.
Continue following down the trail from Mooney Falls for almost 3 miles to reach the Beaver Falls. The hike can be interesting if you are wearing water shoes, because you must need to cross the river 3 times.
The river has many interesting spots to shoot such as you can see on my photos. It’s a great opportunity to spend time trying to peek at the butterflies, lizards or even during the spring at different types of flowers. The trail is very dynamic, alive with some ups and downs, river crossings, and amazing views always looking for wildlife.
You will get wet on the trail but will be fun.
Beaver Falls is a great place to go for a swim, but during the trail you can see many spots perfect for shoting or just hang out such as you can see above.
After you cross the cave above you must need to choose to go on the left side to access the Beaver Falls from the bottom or keep climbing the stairs with ropes to access the top.
I just went during the spring as you can see the flowers are bloomming and making the trail more beatiful.
If you choose go to the top you will see two small stairs on the left side and finally to see the Beaver Falls. Here is the result of shooting the amazing Falls at night.
Havasu Creek across Colorado River
Move your phone or mouse in your computer to see the panoramic below.
If you are looking to access the trail to see Havasu River and Colorado River, make sure to ask the ranger about the conditions of trail and bring plenty of water and have time, because you will need to cross the river 4 times yet and the way can be trick.
After you climbing downhill you will see the cascade above coming from Beaver Falls, so be careful because definitely this pool look much deeper than they actually are.
The first cascade after restart the path.
If any point you think you have lost the trail, just keep following the river until you meet back up with the path.
When you arrive to this point cross the cave and keep following the path on the right side. Yes, you are almost there.
Look at the photo above how amazing the view is from the bottom of the Canyon of bottom the Havasu River and the photo bellow of the Colorado River.
Now it’s your time, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat some snacks for returning to the campground.
How to get a Havasu Falls Permit:
- Yes, it’s harder to planning a backpacking trip to Havasu Falls is getting the permit. You must have reservations, and generally permits sell out for the entire year within the first couple of months of the year (February). Your best chance of getting a permit will be to call at the beginning of the year as soon as the reservation lines open. If you get a busy signal, keep trying until you call get answered.
- Reservations also can made by phone through the camping office or on line here. Make sure to write down your reservation number.
If you want more informations about the trail, camping, permits, directions, and other logistics please send me direct message by Instagram @imageale.