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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado, AZ

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251 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > Havasu
Rated
4.9
4.9 of 5 by 9
 
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Statistics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 5.98 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,713 feet
Elevation Gain -842 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time One Way 6-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.98
Interest Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
7  2019-03-29 nathanbrisk
38  2017-09-23 chumley
45  2017-09-22
Havasu Canyon Trail
John9L
101  2017-05-12
Grand Canyon River Trip
tibber
13  2013-05-28
Havasu Canyon Trail
nonot
47  2008-04-06
Havasu Canyon Trail
nonot
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 667
Photos 13,162
Trips 1,416 map ( 10,534 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Havasupai Reservation
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Reservation Havasupai
Preferred   Jul, Jun, Aug, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Winter to Late Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:37pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Natural Havasupai
by chumley

Likely In-Season!
Overview
Many visitors to Havasupai never venture beyond the campground or Mooney Falls. This describes the six miles of primitive trail between Mooney Falls and the Colorado River.


Warning
Descending Mooney Falls is not for people with a fear of heights. The descent requires sure footing and hand holds on a waterfall mist soaked cliff while chains and slippery wooden ladders offer some protection. Farther downstream there are several instances of short climbs where the tribe has installed wooden ladders. These climbs are not for everybody! Note that this hike crosses the creek eight times. There are no dry crossings, but none are more than thigh deep during normal creek flow levels.

Hike
From the end of the campground, descend down to the base of Mooney Falls using the treacherous, but well-established route. This is the most difficult part of the hike, but many are not comfortable making this descent.

At the bottom of the falls, head downstream staying to the left of the creek. Follow the use path and climb the bank to the shelf above. There are a lot of paths in this area and there are no signs or indications of which one to take so you may have to explore a bit. Ultimately you will stay high and toward the cliff wall before crossing a small drainage where the trails mostly all come together into the single route to follow.

A little over a quarter mile below Mooney Falls the trail will reach the first crossing, going from the left bank to the right. Here the trail climbs steeply into the woods and away from the creek. Avoid the side trails that head back toward the creek and stay on the most "inland" route until it leads back down to Crossing 2 about a quarter mile after the first crossing.

The next mile stays on the left bank and meanders through a variety of flora including huge fields of Arizona Grape. The creek isn't always in view during this stretch and after about half a mile the trail crosses a deep side drainage that features a plywood bridge that probably wouldn't pass an engineering inspection. Another half mile leads you to Crossing 3 and features remnants of an old bridge that crossed a travertine dam, but it has been destroyed and you'll have to wade across the pool above the dam.

Now on the right bank, the trail is generally easy to follow and in under half a mile leads to the iconic huge palm tree that creats a tunnel of fronds for you to go under. Immediately past the palm, a ladder climbs up the adjacent cliff followed by a steep climb with steps and a couple of quick switchbacks. The next quarter of a mile traverses the cliff above Beaver Falls, featuring great views to the blue-green pools and cascades below.

For those going to Beaver Falls, follow the trail to the left, descending to the creek via a few sets of ladders and steep trail cuts. (Even if your goal is to get to the Colorado, I'd recommend dropping to the creek to see the falls either on your way down or on your hike back to camp). From Mooney, the hike to Beaver Falls is about 2.5 miles and took us about 90 minutes. It can be done in less time if you ignore the views along the way, and it can take longer if you stop often or take a lot of photos.

For those heading to the Colorado River, there's an unmarked trail junction above Beaver Falls. Stay high and right to get on the trail leading downstream. There's a small sign here that indicates you should not begin this route after 11am. Shortly after passing this sign you will leave the Havasupai Reservation and enter Grand Canyon National Park. This trail stays high above the creek for a quarter mile before dropping steeply to creek level just downstream of where Beaver Canyon enters on the opposite bank.

Once back in the creek, continue donwstream on the right bank for a quarter mile to Crossing 4. The trail is fairly obvious and easy to follow.

Hike a little more than a quarter mile on the left bank and you will reach Crossing 5 that takes you back to the right bank.

It's nearly half a mile of traveling on the right bank before reaching Crossing 6 where you head back to the left bank.

Travel on the left bank for a little bit more than a quarter of a mile and the trail will get pushed into the creek by a cliff on the left. Crossing 7 is the least obvious crossing as there doesn't seem to be a trail on the right or the left after the cliff. But in fact the trail is on the right and will stay there until just above the confluence. Just head over there and you'll find it soon enough!

About a mile downstream from Crossing 7 there's a boulder field and the route goes high above the creek to get above it before dropping back down to creek level. Three quarters of a mile after the high boulder bypass you will pass through a little tunnel and a short downclimb to get out of it. On the other side is an area where rafters seem to congregate after hiking up from the river, with some placid pools along the creek. (There was some rock construction to create pools and direct flow while we were there, but a good flood will take care of that, so I'd hesitate to tell anybody to look for it in the future).

It's a little more than a quarter mile farther before you see the narrows that make up the last couple hundred yards of creek draining into the Colorado. You may opt for Crossing 8 to the visible trail on the left side that climbs up above the narrows and drops you down to the Colorado just below the confluence, or you may simply choose to walk through the narrows in the creek, taking you out to the scenic grotto where rafters stop and tie up their boats. The creek here isn't deep, but in the narrowest spot it did reach chest high for us, and water marks on the rocks indicate that it may sometimes require swimming, but probably not for more than 10-15 feet of distance. That's it! You made it.

Mileage-Distance-Time
It should be a minimum of 6 miles from the campground to the river. It can be more depending on how many little side trips you take to check out the creek. The stats here only cover a one way trip, though obviously most will turn around and head back the way you came. So a round-trip from camp will be a minimum 12-13 mile day and take 6-8 hours or more depending on breaks and swimming time! 9-10 hours would not be unheard of. You are hiking in some unparalleled natural beauty. Make a day of it!

No Camping This is a day hike only. On the reservation, camping is limited to the campground above Mooney Falls, and in the National Park, all of Havasu Creek is restricted and camping is not permitted.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2017-09-27 chumley

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Clear day, average temps (high 80s, low 90s,) water was cold but swim-able. We started the hike as a party of three. The plan was to cook lunch and filter water at the confluence but we lucked out and hooked up with two trail veterans (3 years consecutive) and two other hikers so we stuck with them, out and back. My three liter bladder was just enough, including an hour playtime at Beaver Falls on the return trip. GPS was inaccurate so crossings did not agree with the track but thats o.k. as crossing choices were usually not critical.
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    The whole purpose of me returning to Havasupai was to hike to the river, which I had not previously done. Well, this is the absolute highlight of the whole thing. I mean, the waterfalls are cool, but let's face it, they're overplayed. There are so many photos and videos of them that you almost don't need to go for yourself. Not to mention, the photos always frame them in such a perfect view that once you see them surrounded by the rest of real life, it's a little bit anticlimactic.

    Downstream is a different story, and it actually has me pining to go back. Which is a definite surprise as I had sort of thought that this would be the last time I'd endure this whole tourist enterprise thing. Now I'm going to have to rethink that. The lack of helicopters or mules should keep a few miles of this creek relatively special, and for that I'm grateful.
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I’ve been to Havasupai several times before but never ventured all the way to the Colorado. Chumley and I talked about this over the past year or two and wanted to get down there at some point but didn’t want to deal with permits. Then about a month before this Chumley told me Jane has two extra permits and asked if I wanted to go. Naturally I said yes as long as we go for the confluence. Chumley was in agreement!

    I’m going to focus on the hike to the Colorado River on day two and will gloss over other details because there is so much information on Havasupai. To make a long story short we left after work on Thursday and met Jane and the rest of the group at the Bunk House at Grand Canyon Caverns. We spent the night and then headed in on Friday. The hike in went well and we met the group at the village where we got our bracelet and then picked out a sweet campsite on an island. The rest of the day was spent seeing the sights and we turned in later that evening.

    We woke on Saturday and took our time in camp. We topped off our water and packed up our day packs with a dry bag and gear. Our entire group of eight left camp around 8:30am and climbed down the Mooney Chains and took a variety of pics. We stayed with the group for a few minutes but had to get moving down canyon. Once we were on our own we made fast travel. There is a mix of good trail with several crossings and some obstacles to deal with. Nothing is overwhelming. We continued down and started seeing rafters making their way to Beaver Falls as we neared the confluence. We knew we were getting close.

    As you near the confluence the walls narrow and we entered the creek. You have the option of a dry route on the left but we wanted to approach from the water. For the most part the water is one to two feet deep but there is a short stretch that’s four feet deep. We waded through this stretch and found ourselves in the grotto which is absolutely spectacular! There were a few Dories and only a handful of people. We took our lunch and took a variety to pics as we explored the general area. We ended back in the grotto and scored two beers each from the rafters. We hung out for about an hour and then decided to head back up canyon. We could have spent all down at the confluence it was amazing!

    We started back up canyon around 1pm and made good time as we approached Beaver Falls. Once there we dropped down and took more pics and enjoyed the area. We planned on swimming but clouds moved in and the temps dropped a bit. The lack of sun made things chilly so we waded around the falls and then climbed back up and continued up canyon. The rest of the afternoon was spent taking our time and enjoying Havasu Canyon. We climbed back up the chains at Mooney and were back to camp around 5:30pm. I was exhausted after an amazing day down canyon! It was truly a memorable adventure!

    The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and I was in bed around 9pm. We woke on Sunday and packed up and made the hike out which was very uneventful. Once up top we packed up and started the drive back to Phoenix. Another trip in the books! I doubt I go back any time soon. Havasu Canyon is wonderful and the confluence is a magical place! But all the BS with all the people and trash is a big turnoff for me. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad we went. I just wish the area wasn’t overrun. Thanks Chumley for driving and thanks Jane for letting us tag along.
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Grand Canyon River Trip
    No, this was not on my bucket list. Well actually I don't really have a bucket list; just an idea of some of the things I'd like to do. The Grand Canyon, other than seeing it was good enough for me. Little did I know that Wendy thot I should hike down into it and Ambika thought I should raft through it. My first time seeing the Canyon was flying over it in 1980 in my brother's airplane from Montana and landing at Grand Canyon Airport. My second time was also with my brother on the train trip we took from Williams in 1996. This time, my brother had just passed so it was with mixed emotions that I took this ride.

    It was great to see the canyon from this angle. I have been on the South and North and Rainbow Rims so it was fun to be rafting where I had seen previously through mine and others photos.

    A Colleen Miniuk-Sperry Photography Workshop - Women's Retreat: Seven day motorized rafting trip from Lee's Ferry to Whitmore Wash on the Colorado River

    what I liked:
    being only one boat
    being all photographers so you never had to worry if you're holding anybody up
    temps were pretty much perfect for our trip
    blue waters
    green water of the Colorado
    great food
    wonderful boatman/cooks
    six days seemed just right for a first trip
    cowboy camping all but two nites

    what I didn't like:
    all that sand... in everything.
    no napkins :o
    midnite treks to the privy (one nite I was way off track :oops: and the First Mate fortunately spotted me and directed me)
    I packed just a tad too much and my travel bag was a tad too big for the pumpkin
    hectic schedule; seemed hardly any time to just soak it in
    not enough hikes
    would like to have seen more canyons

    And by the way, getting your big camera in and out of its dry bag was something we did all day long as well as getting up and down in lieu of what rapids were ahead.

    Our theme: "What time is it?" "It's river time :y: "

    Day 1 - Lee's Ferry to Sand Pile Camp (about 30 miles) 10:30-5:30 with a stop at Sheer Wall Rapids ledges for lunch
    Day 2 - Sand Pile Camp to Below Kwagunt Camp (about 24 miles) 8-5 by Vasey's Paradise with stops at Redwall Cavern, Nautiloid Ledge, lunch at Eminence Camp, Nankoweap Granaries hike (so glad I got here as I was so impressed from fellow HAZers 2013 trip and photos).
    Day 3 - Below Kwagunt Camp to Granite Rapid Camp (about 36 miles) 7:15AM - 5 with two hour stop at LCR, lunch at Papago Beach (fun to see another HAZer area I had heard and seen so much about). Hike up a bit of Monument Creek after setting up camp. Fun to be in another area fellow HAZers have been.
    Day 4 - Photoshoot at Granite Rapids to 119.8 Mile Camp (about 26 miles) 8-5:30 with lunch at Hotauta Canyon and stops at Shinumo Creek (running fast and high so couldn't get back to the Falls) and Elves Chasm (as pretty as all the pictures I've seen).
    Day 5 - Tres Burritos Camp to Below Kanab Creek (about 25 miles) 8:30-5 with hike to Stone Creek Falls, lunch at Owl Eyes (Dolly Parton), little hike to Deer Creek Falls
    Day 6 - below Kanab Creek to Whitmore Helipad 7:30-5 (about 42 miles) including stop at Havasu Canyon and Creek for hike (just incredible), lunch at Last Chance camp. Lava Falls was all that, just was over too quick but we got slammed hard and wanted to do it again anyway.
    Day 7 - fly out on helicopter to Bar 10 Ranch (about 15 minutes at 7ish o'clock), take deHavilland at 9:11AM for flight to Marble Canyon at 10:20AM (both were awesome). (160 miles if by road)

    My videos are done via mileage as well which is noted in the video title. In the descriptions below the videos I'll mention the highlights included in that video: PLAYLIST Grand Canyon Rafting Trip, Lee's Ferry to Whitmore Helipad Playlist Also in the videos I tried to label the rapids and as I got further along in the videos I tried to identify the landmarks.


    By the way, I have full details of the trip. The report includes photo references and the rapids and their rating as well as landmarks. So if you would like a more detailed description, let me know via PM and I can send it to you. I thot it would be way too much to put directly on a HAZ trip report.
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Fun trip, need to do HAZ writeups. The hilltop restrooms and the restroom facilities at the campgrounds are much improved than my last visit. The crowding and parking is worse however. There is also a ranger on duty. Good to see the tribe is improving the quality of the trip for visitors.
    Lower Havasu Canyon - Mooney Falls to Colorado
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This was an absolutely incredible trip.

    We arrived late Thursday night at the hilltop and crashed in the parking lot. The first night was cold. Some of us slept in the car, I crashed in the space between the cars.

    The next morning, our group assembled and we headed down into Haulapai Canyon. The way down is pretty easy, it's all downhill :). After about 6 miles of gravel streambed you reach Havasu Creek, which you follow through the village. I had read alot of bad things about the conditions there. I didn't spend that much time, but walking through it didn't seem to be that bad. I thought it was pretty interesting.

    Soon after the village, you rejoin the creek and the waterfalls begin to appear alongside the trail. First, fifty foot falls, then Navajo Falls, which is screened from view. Finally you reach Havasu Falls and your jaw hits the ground.

    A short distance past the falls you enter the campground area. Sites were in short supply when we went but I think we managed to snag a good one on the other side of the creek. I was worried about finding the spring, but it's marked with huge signs :) and is impossible to miss. It should be noted that there are porta-potties on both ends of the campground, which aren't really any better or worse than those elsewhere in the world.

    In the afternoon we did some swimming in the falls and explored an old mine, it was a blast.

    It only took me about 3.5 hours to do the 10 miles to the campgrounds (6 to creek, 2 to village, 2 to campground), but some in my group didn't show up until a few hours later in the afternoon.

    The second day I wanted to get an early start, but typical camp activities ensued and I didn't get moving until about 9 AM. I headed downstream, climbed down the chains of Mooney Falls, and proceeded at a pretty good pace. I stopped to get some pictures of Beaver Falls, but quickly was on my way again. I made it to the Colorado in about 3.5 hours and my GPS indicated the 7 mile distance was more like 9.5 with all the back and forth.

    I talked briefly with some of the rafters, had lunch, and spoke with someone else who had hiked down (he said it had taken him 6 hours and he was planning to return at night. I hope he made it out OK, I didn't run into him the next morning.) On the way back upstream, I snapped photos until my camera battery ran out (I forgot the spare, doh!) It took me 4 hours on the return.

    The only difficulties going to the Colorado and back are: within the first mile downstream from Mooney, there are lots of tourist trails, generally you want to stay high. Around Beaver falls, alot of side trails, you also want to stay high. Before Beaver is a steep climb using a log/board ladder. After Beaver Falls is an extremely steep downclimb (cliff). Around the Colorado there are lots of rafter trails. You want to stay on the North until the last slot canyon. Someone mentioned a knotted rope in the past logs, I don't think it is there anymore, at least I didn't see it???

    I made it back to camp in the late afternoon, ate dinner, and had a good time telling people about the trip. There were some folks the next campground over we met and everyone had a good time until it was time to hit the hay.

    The next day we took it easy on the way out and hiking out in the midday sun made it a little hot at times. I think it was about 4.5 hours, including several breaks.

    This was a fantastic trip, if you don't go all the way to the Colorado, I think you're missing alot. It's hard to find the words to describe this amazing natural wonder.

    Permit $$
    Please carry your own pack. The pack animals have been seriously abused.

    2016
    All permits reported taken for the entire year within hours of becoming available on Feb 1st. The old walk-in policy of paying double is no longer honored.

    2018
    Pricing for 2018 is as follows and includes all necessary permits, fees, and taxes:
    One Person, 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56
    One Person, 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.11
    One Person, 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67

    Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Holiday weekday nights (February 19, May 28, July 4, September 3, October 8), and Spring Break weekday nights (March 5-8 and 19-22) are an additional $18.33 per night.

    2019 Campground Reservation Pricing

    ALL campground reservations are 3 Nights / 4 Days.

    $100 per person per weekday night
    $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)

    These prices include all necessary permits, fees, and taxes.

    This means that a 3 Night / 4 Day stay will be a total of between $300 and $375 per person (depending upon how many weekend nights are included).

    Havasupai Reservation
    Havasupai Tribe Online


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    This can only be hiked from the Havasupai campground above Mooney Falls after hiking from the Hualapai Hilltop via the Havasu Canyon Trail. Alternately, rafters can hike this route in reverse to reach the falls from the river.
    page created by chumley on Sep 26 2017 11:15 pm
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