|2,995 ft AEG|
||no linked trail guides|
|Notes on my groups 3 day excursion to Havasupai Falls:
From Phoenix, I had read that it is a solid 6 hour drive. My group was able to make it in both directions in less than 5 hours by cutting through Prescott/Chino Valley. Indian Road 18 was made out to be rough based on what I read, but it was no problem and decently paved the entire way.
Like others, my group decided to spend the night in the parking lot, as the closest lodging is 70 miles away. As others noted, though it was nice waking up at the trailhead in the morning, it was a horrible night's sleep sleeping at the Hilltop. Hikers were arriving/leaving at all hours, and our neighbor car took seemingly 3 hours during the middle of the night to prep all of their gear for the trip. It's still worth it to stay at the Hilltop though, and it will surely make for a story to tell afterwards. The hilltop is quite exposed and if it is windy out it could be miserable.
Having hiked Rim to Rim in the main GC before, this hike was not difficult. As noted, the first mile or so was steep, but other than that this is a very gradual hike. Only after passing through Supai does the trail get a bit difficult as you descend into the campground. Also, the soft sand along the way at times gets annoying!
We saw several wild horses along the trail, as well as were passed by the pack horses. Speaking of the pack horses, make sure you are alert on the trail at all times! Some of those pack horses would come around the corner at a trot unexpectedly, so you must be aware and get out of the way. The 'cowboys' leading the horses don't seem to care much for running over hikers haha.
I had heard the hike wasn't scenic, but I think people who say that are crazy. The sunset view at the hilltop was epic, and the entire hike was beautiful.
It was pretty amazing hiking in the GC for 8 miles,and suddenly coming to a village. Supai unfortunately reminded me a bit of Rocky Point. The houses were almost all run down, there were dogs everywhere. Unfortunately they don't seem to take very good care of the dogs or horses.
Anyway, coming into town there is a cafe on the left (Sinyella Cafe I believe it was called). We hiked into town one day and had the Supai Burger (2 patties in fry bread). After a few active days it was delicious. This cafe also has a small store in the back where you can get a treat, soda, snack or coffee! This place is the best to get food/snacks, as the main 'store' is extremely expensive
After walking in town for a few minutes you come to the tourist office, where it's time to check in and pay your dues. It wasn't too busy when we went so this process only took 10 minutes.
We also checked out the lodge while we were there -- $145/night. Unless you are lazy or have physical limitations, don't stay in the lodge ($145/night) or take the helicopter ($85 each way) -- it really would take away from the entire experience (though seeing the canyon from above would be cool).
After leaving Supai, it is a 2 mile sandy/downhill trek to the campground. After about a mile and a half you pass new Najavo Falls/50 foot falls on your left. This area is where most of the 2008 flood damage occurred, but is still beautiful. Keep hiking downhill, and after another half mile Havasu Falls appears, which is truly amazing, and makes the entire trip immediately worthwhile. Another quarter mile and you are at the campground, finally!
The campground is huge! It is about 3/4 of a mile in length, with spots on either side of the creek that flows through it. It is pretty much a free for all the campground, there are no assigned spots. We found a great spot for our group past the second set of bathrooms on an 'island'. They have a natural spring near the front for water, but we just filtered all of our water from the creek (have a sawyer system which is quick and easy to filter). Also, surprisingly the bathrooms in the campground are great! They are composing vault toilets, but where very clean.
Just past the campground, the largest and most impressive waterfall appears -- Mooney Falls. The descent down to Mooney falls has been described as treacherous and not for those for fear of heights. As long as you don't have a severe aversion to heights, this part is no problem, just take it slow! Two people in my group checked out the descent the night before we did it and both said 'There is no way I'm doing that'. However, both ended up trying it and had no issues at all. It is easier to climb up and down when nobody else is going in the other direction -- so go early if you are there over the weekend.
Recently (within the past year), the bottom 30 feet of ladders on Mooney falls have been redone, and are extremely sturdy. They are wooden ladders firmly bolted into the rock. The old metal ladder is still there but is no longer used.
Apparently the pools at Mooney Falls shrunk after the flood as well -- there is not too much water in front of the falls. But these falls are huge and it is amazing standing in front of them.
Hike to Beaver Falls
This was the highlight of the trip. After descending to Mooney Falls, it is 2 miles along the creek in the narrow canyon to Beaver Falls. Because of all of the beautiful scenery, it took us over 2 hours to hike the 2 miles. You hike amongst fields of grape plants, with the sheer canyon face on either side. There are curious ladders built into the wall at some places that lead to high up caves (don't even try to use them, extremely dangerous), as well as a healthy population of bighorn sheep that we saw. There are also several water crossings, and if the weather is nice plenty of places to swim.
Right before Beaver Falls you have to climb up, over, and around, before getting to the falls. I had read that there was a rope ladder previously. As with Mooney Falls, this is now a sturdy wooden ladder bolted into the rock that looks new. This climb was no problem. Also in this area there is the only palm tree you will see in this area which seemed out of place!
Once at Beaver Falls, the first thing you notice is the lack of people -- the remote location and extra effort keeps most people away. We had the entire falls to ourselves for 15 minutes until a few others arrived. These falls are much smaller, but are fun to swim in and explore around. These were my favorite because of their remote location and serenity.
When leaving Beaver Falls you can go back a different way -- go to the back right of the falls, climb up a short rock face, and then use the guide rope to start taking you back up in the other direction. It was a lot of fun taking this route and kept things interesting not having to take the same way back.
After 3 days exploring all of the area, it was time to head home. The hike out was easy except for the last mile or so, where it gets steep. If you are in decent shape it is no big deal, but still harder as you don't reach the climb until you have been hiking for a few hours. We made the hike out in 4.5 hours.
Havasupai Falls should be on everyone's bucket list. With a little planning and effort, you will never forget this trip. I called the day they opened the phone lines in February, and had no issue reserving a spot for May.