Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Havasu Canyon Trail

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Weezerbot
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Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Weezerbot » Jan 05 2012 3:42 pm

Hey everyone, some of you may have seen my post on the group page on Facebook but I thought I'd try here as well. I'm looking for current info/opinions on hiking down to the falls this spring. I've made the mistake of stepping up to be the group organizer, so I'm working on scheduling this trip between the lives of 6 other people. What was I thinking? :scared:

A lot of the info I'm finding seems to be from pre-2010. About the only times that work for everyone this year would be a Friday-Sunday in mid-March, or a Friday-Sunday in mid-May. We'd drive up from the valley late Thursday night, hike down Friday, rest and explore Saturday, and hike back out Sunday. Is this enough time to explore around the area, play in the water and relax before turning around and climbing out Sunday?

Also, we have a couple experienced backpackers, a couple intermediate and a few noobies. Looks like its about 3-4 hours down and 4-5 hours out? Does this sound correct from you experienced folks?

Weather is also a concern, we originally planned this for March but some are worried about it being too cold. A few of us are concerned about it being too hot in May. It would be great if we could spend a lazy Sunday morning around camp, maybe with more swimming before making the trek out without needing to get up at 7am. Anyone with weather experience during these two times?

Finally, I'm concerned about camping and the crowds. I've read a report that there is some great camping if you are willing to make the additional trek to Beaver Falls, but then I've also read here that they assign you where you are camping and you don't get to choose? Can anyone confirm or deny? And does anyone have any advice on good camping spots away from people? I'm assuming March will be less crowded than May?

Thanks for all the help!
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 05 2012 4:41 pm

Weezerbot wrote:Hey everyone, some of you may have seen my post on the group page on Facebook but I thought I'd try here as well.
What's Facebook? Why in the sam hill would you do a durn fool thing like posting there first?

1
Weezerbot wrote:A lot of the info I'm finding seems to be from pre-2010. About the only times that work for everyone this year would be a Friday-Sunday in mid-March, or a Friday-Sunday in mid-May. We'd drive up from the valley late Thursday night, hike down Friday, rest and explore Saturday, and hike back out Sunday. Is this enough time to explore around the area, play in the water and relax before turning around and climbing out Sunday?
Yes. 3 days & 2 nights is adequate. If you wanted to actually hike past Beaver Falls to the Colorado River and back you might want an extra day and night.

2
Weezerbot wrote:Also, we have a couple experienced backpackers, a couple intermediate and a few noobies. Looks like its about 3-4 hours down and 4-5 hours out? Does this sound correct from you experienced folks?
Yes. You could lose some time in the Village with check in at the Tourist Office and a snack at the Cafe. Could be a little longer with photographs. Could be a little longer if the weather is hot. I might add an extra hour both ways for a "margin of error" cushion. In all due respect, from the description of your group you will definitely not be quicker than this.

3
Weezerbot wrote:Weather is also a concern, we originally planned this for March but some are worried about it being too cold. A few of us are concerned about it being too hot in May. It would be great if we could spend a lazy Sunday morning around camp, maybe with more swimming before making the trek out without needing to get up at 7am. Anyone with weather experience during these two times?
The water seems to be about the same temperature. The difference will be the air temperature. The weather can change in a week or even mid-trip. I might consider early May, I would be nervous about late May. I remember a Grand Canyon Corridor trip in mid-May where it was 110degrees at Phantom Ranch then a cold front blew through and it was 34degrees at the Rim the next day. And I remember a March 26 when it hit 100degrees in Phoenix. There are no guarantees. Choose the best date for everybody. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If it's hot you hike in the real early morning (0darkhundred could mean hitting the trail at 0400 on Sunday if it's real hot)

4
Weezerbot wrote:Finally, I'm concerned about camping and the crowds. I've read a report that there is some great camping if you are willing to make the additional trek to Beaver Falls, but then I've also read here that they assign you where you are camping and you don't get to choose? Can anyone confirm or deny? And does anyone have any advice on good camping spots away from people? I'm assuming March will be less crowded than May?
My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that if you are camping on the Reservation you have to camp in the huge campground between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. They don't actually "assign" you a campsite in the campground. It looks like there are a hundred or so campsites in an area of about 1 mile long and a quarter mile wide. It's a first come, first served arrangement. Some campsites in the campground are a lot better than others. If you go down past Beaver Falls and get off the Reservation and into the National Park, there might be a National Park Service Use Area. But I would doubt it. You would need to coordinate that with the Backcountry Office - not the Tribe.

5 I highly recommend Exploring Havasupai http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Havasup ... ikearizona Written by Greg Witt with awesome photos by HAZ member Dabreeze.
6 You know I'm being real serious when I don't use smilies :)
One summer I started off to visit for the first time the city of Los Angeles. I was riding with some friends from the University of New Mexico. On the way we stopped off briefly to roll an old tire into the Grand Canyon. While watching the tire bounce over tall pine trees, tear hell out of a mule train and disappear with a final grand leap into the inner gorge, I overheard the park ranger standing nearby say a few words about a place called Havasu, or Havasupai. A branch, it seemed, of the Grand Canyon.

What I heard made me think that I should see Havasu immediately, before something went wrong somewhere. My friends said they would wait. So I went down into Havasu—fourteen miles by trail—and looked things over. When I returned five weeks later I discovered that the others had gone on to Los Angeles without me.

That was fifteen years ago. And still I have not seen the fabulous city on the Pacific shore. Perhaps I never will. …

But Havasu. Once down in there it’s hard to get out. … I bought a slab of bacon and six cans of beans at the village post office, rented a large comfortable horse and proceeded farther down the canyon… to the ruins of an old mining camp five miles below the village. There I lived, mostly alone except for the ghosts, for the next thirty-five days.

There was nothing wrong with the Indians. The Supai are a charming cheerful completely relaxed and easygoing bunch, all one hundred or so of them. But I had no desire to live among them unless clearly invited to do so, and I wasn’t. Even if invited I might not have accepted. I’m not sure that I care for the idea of strangers examining my daily habits and folkways, studying my language, inspecting my costume, questioning me about my religion, classifying my artifacts, investigating my sexual rites and evaluating my chances for cultural survival.

So I lived alone.
Edward Abbey Desert Solitaire [196-7]
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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Weezerbot
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Weezerbot » Jan 08 2012 5:18 pm

Thank you AL for the detailed information, thats exactly what I'm looking for!

I think I'm leaning towards March rather than May....I'd rather deal with it being a little cold and too hot. Of course now I've gone and thrown a total wrench into things by applying for a new job, so we will see how this actually plays out.
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 08 2012 6:49 pm

Weezerbot wrote:I think I'm leaning towards March rather than May....I'd rather deal with it being a little cold and too hot.
That is what I would do. Late March. And take a couple extra MSR Packtowels to dry off quickly when you get out of the water. They are lightweight and dry quickly. I'm not a big one for playing in that calcium/lime water. I think the hike, seeing the Falls and getting down past Beaver Creek are the highlights. OK maybe swinging out on the rope into the creek would be way cool. But if you look at the triplogs, I go down when it is sub-freezing so that I can get away from the crowds. I do know this, I'm a crazy Desert Dog - I know how to handle 115degree heat - and I would not want to be hiking out through that canyon in +100degree+ heat. I would be carrying a couple of extra liters to help the Noobies. They would not enjoy it and I would not enjoy it. Late March - sleeping in a little on Sunday and enjoying that hike out is worth far more than 20-30 extra minutes in the creek.

Good luck with your job.

Now don't try that poking stuff on FB cause I have no idea how that works. :) On HAZ I can edit your topic and edit my response (a couple of times if necessary) until I say what I mean to say. That thing on FB where once you hit the comment button everything is locked in drives me craxy (oops edit that craZy)
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Boscoaz » Jan 08 2012 10:05 pm

I was just down there in late September/early October and it was almost to cold to swim except for the middle of the day. I would suggest three nights so you really can explore. Also cache some water on the way down about a mile and half in (just past the switchbacks) this will help you and the noobs on the way out. Any time you can carry less weight that is a good thing. PM me if you need any specific info. Have fun!!
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Dave1
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Dave1 » Jun 15 2013 1:38 pm

Does anyone know if you need to get permits for a day hike in advance or can you just show up at the ranger station in Supai and pay there? I called yesterday and they said no permits available until September but I forgot to specify for a day hike and not overnight at the campground. Wonder if they meant all permits?

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big_load
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by big_load » Jun 15 2013 2:13 pm

I would call in advance. The ranger station is often unattended.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Tortoise_Hiker » Jun 15 2013 2:18 pm

Hey Dave,the person I talked to said they don't recommend that so they don't take a reservation for it.He said if I did it at my own risk it would be 44.00.Sounds high but that is what he said?
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Dave1 » Jun 15 2013 2:42 pm

big_load wrote:I would call in advance. The ranger station is often unattended.
I tried but no one is answering the phones today.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by big_load » Jun 15 2013 2:57 pm

Dave1 wrote:
big_load wrote:I would call in advance. The ranger station is often unattended.
I tried but no one is answering the phones today.
The last time I got permits, it took weeks of trying to finally get through. I had to call 30-40 times. I tried the full span of normal waking hours and different days days of the week.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by chumley » Jun 15 2013 3:21 pm

The worst case scenario would be that they charge you double. They don't actually turn anybody without a permit away, but they do double the fee. If you aren't spending the night however, you should only have to pay the access fee, and I can't imagine they would double that, or require a reservation at all. But they operate in their own little world down there, so be prepared for anything!
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Dave1 » Jun 15 2013 3:21 pm

@Tortoise Hiker
@big_load
Thanks, I finally got someone to answer. Denny was right, $44 per person, no need to make a reservation ahead of time. :y: I may go on Monday...

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 16 2013 4:08 pm

Basically, if you show up down there, they'll be happy to relieve you of some cash. At least, that is what I've always heard.
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by base871 » Jun 17 2013 12:15 am

What she said. They will take your money and make an "exception". ;)

Budweiser helps too.
"The Edge. There really is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jun 21 2013 11:31 am

base871 wrote:Budweiser helps too.
I would not even try that with Tribal officials. Tribal officials will probably exhibit a zero tolerance for alcohol. If you have alcohol, keep it hidden. They will confiscate it and you and may have additional punishment. You might do better with herbal inducements - but I personally wouldn't offer that to Tribal Officials either.
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Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by Dave1 » Jun 21 2013 12:50 pm

Thanks everyone! Everything worked out just fine. We got to the tourist office at 7:30am and promptly received 2 dayhiker permits for $88. No extra charges, no shenanigans, tomfoolery, etc... We got a receipt, 2 maps, and 2 dayhiker tags for our packs. The woman at the office was polite and professional. In fact, all the residents we encountered were very friendly.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 21 2013 4:02 pm

Glad to hear it. I have encountered that type of service, most trips.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Current info of the trail - Havasupai

Post by base871 » Jun 23 2013 12:54 am

Well, it worked in Canyon De Chelly. :y:
"The Edge. There really is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

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