This hike is one for the books. The memories you make from here will last a lifetime! Make sure to do a lot of research before traveling here, it is an intense hike that requires a lot of prepping! All the work put into arriving at this location is worth it. I will cover my entire experience of hiking to Havasu Falls, Navajo Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls.
To start off, there is not a lot of technology in the area. You will literally be at a small village inside the Grand Canyon. To get a hold of the park’s service (as of 2016,) there is only one telephone. My travel group was made up of 7 people. We all called to reserve a spot a month before the trip, and it took us a few days before getting an answer! After finally getting through, we made a reservation for our three nights in the desert.
We decided to go for three nights to have more time exploring the area. There are many waterfalls and gorgeous areas to visit other than the famous Havasu Falls. I definitely suggest not to do it in one day, and stay at least two nights in the canyon!
The trailhead is at the top of the canyon, and Supai is about 10 miles away down the grade and through the desert. Supai is the town you will check in to, and get a tag for your campsite. There are water refill stations and restrooms here. The hike is gorgeous on the way, but can get pretty hot in the sun. We started driving to the trail head before the sun came up, and began hiking very early in the morning. This made the hike much more tolerable.
For the first 10 miles; the Grand Canyon walls tower above you, and offer surreal views. We stumbled upon an old horse on our way, and it was very sad to see. The locals offer horses and mules to carry bags for tourists down the canyon. DO NOT DO THIS. The horses are abused and left to die when their services are not longer acceptable. There is no need to carry that much down on this hike. Take some time to condition before the adventure. Hike steep inclines and long distances to be properly prepared. The hike to the falls does not feel bad as it is downhill mostly the entire way. Coming back up is more difficult. (To say the least) For the hike in I wore hiking boots, tall socks, and layers. I started with a sweatshirt on, and ended up in just my tank top by the end of the hike.
After you’ve arrived and checked in at Supai, the hidden oasis views begin! First you will pass a waterfall area called Navajo Falls. We decided to hike back to the area the day after we arrived. We continued on to Havasu Falls to set up our camp. Another mile down the trail will get you to the top view point of Havasu Falls. Steeply continue descending to the campground and pick an open spot. The campground is quite large, and we picked the spot that kept us closest to the front as possible. There are bathrooms and water refills near the front of the camp. This will wrap up your first 12 miles of the trip!
We set up our hammocks and tents and were sure to place our camping pass in a visible spot. There are locals that check the sites to assure you paid to stay here. Be prepare with warm clothes for camping. We stayed down in the canyon for three nights, and they all got very cold. I made the mistake of sleeping in my hammock, and it was not warm enough! It is difficult to pack a large tent/sleeping bag, especially since you’re hiking 24 miles with it, but I do advise doing so. My pack weighed probably around 40lbs and it got heavy on my shoulders about halfway through. It included clothes, food, a towel, and my hammock with straps.
At the beginning of the campsite is an Indian Taco stand (as of 2016.) We were sure to purchase from the local booth, and it was delicious! The first night we stayed here, we decided to go check out the falls under the night sky. There were many photographers around with lights on the falls to illuminate it for photos. It helped me with my little GoPro Hero 4 to capture the photo below.
Ps… watch your feet when walking the trail through the night, I can remember absolutely falling on my face tripping over a tree stump!
The next day we ventured to Navajo Falls to swim and cliff jump. There are a couple waterfall areas, and depending on the water levels most for the pools are safe to cliff jump off. We waited to see another group jump before we did because the water was low, and we had no clue what waited at the base of the waterfall. I suggest wearing Tevas or Chacos to step over the slippery surface above the cliffs and waterfalls. It is like walking on squish moss. The water feels great on a warm day, and jumping off the cliff totally made our experience amazing! We sat under the waterfall after plummeting off the 20-30 waterfall, and enjoyed midst cooling us off.
Our next day entailed an 8 mile round trip hike to see Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls. Mooney Falls is about 2 miles from Havasu, and was possibly my favorite waterfall of them all! It is the tallest in the area, and requires coordination to maneuver down to. Walk through a cave, decent down a makeshift latter, and climb over rocks to get to the base of the 98 foot waterfall. I wore my Chacos to do this, but would recommend wearing hiking boots instead. I’m not sure there is a more instagramable location than Mooney Falls!
Continuing on after Mooney Falls will have you walk through the beautiful blue waters, through desert terrain, and through lush greenery! We ended our hike at Beaver Falls – four miles from Havasu Falls. This is another great area to go cliff jumping and swim in the blue pools. There is only a few hours of sunlight here a day, so be sure to plan times accordingly! When we went in March we aimed to be there around 12 to be in the sun.
Hiking out of the area is not for the weak. The trek is all uphill, and will test your limits. We started before sunrise to assure we weren’t caught in the dead heat of the day. The last mile of the hike is straight up the Grand Canyon’s wall, chasing switch back after switch back to the top. Be sure to fill all water bottles full, and spare enough food to energize you for the trek. At the top of the trailhead there are vendors with apples and other goods for purchase.
Getting even a space for this hike is tough, and requires lots of preparation. As I said, be sure to research plenty before partaking. I will never forget this incredible experience, and treasure the memories from it. Remember to pack out what you pack in to keep this area clean and preserve the beauty hidden within.