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Note – the following information has been updated for the 2020 hiking season for Havasupai.
You have seen the photos of gorgeous blue waters and powerful waterfalls all over social media and the internet.
Thinking of packing a bag and visiting Havasupai?
Don’t…. not until you have read our guide to hiking Havasupai as accessing the canyon is not easy for the tourists who visit each year to obtain the coveted permit and can only enter by hiking or by helicopter.
Guide to Havasupai
Locals of Havasupai
There are approximately 600 Havasupai tribe members and approximately 100 tribal members live in the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the Havasu Canyon (also known as Cataract Canyon). (Note: I did find a reference that there are 450 tribal members living in the village but personally feel this number is too high based on what I have seen.)
Tourism is the main industry for their tribe through the sale of permits to visit their amazing land and through services offered to visitors.
Be respectful of their tribe and land by honoring the “no photo” request of the people, village, and work animals and by packing out what you take onto their land.
I asked one of the local vendors why the children don’t play in the water as I would be as a child when not in school. She explained how the land and waters are sacred to them for their spirituality and do not allow the children to play in the waters or near the falls.
Note that there is a cemetery on the reservation and there is a sign that is easy to miss that asks that you do not photograph their cemetery. My first visit there I was photographing the skyline and didn’t realize the cemetery was part of what I had in my lens.
As with other requests by the tribe, please respect their land and their people.
Havasupai Falls Permits
First, you cannot show up at the trailhead and expect to hike to the waterfalls as each hiker needs a permit.
In the past, hikers were able to day hike but day hikes are no longer allowed. To access the Havasupai waterfalls, you will need either a camping permit or a reservation at the Havasupai Lodge, which is located in the village.
Also, outfitters are no longer allowed so if you are wanting to go as part of a tour, you are out of luck.
Permits and lodge reservations are not easy to get and I know people who have tried for years without success. With the new online system for the campground permits, the process is easier AND you can look to see if permits have been turned back in from hikers who cannot use them.
The key dates for permits are February 1st at 8:00 AM Arizona time to try to get campground permits through the online reservation system which you must pre-register for an account through their website and June 1st to try to get lodge permits by phone.
The price for permits normally increases each year due to the cost to keep the place clean (meaning packing out the CRAP that people leave behind).
For 2020, the permits to use the campground are $375 with full payment due when you book your online reservations for the campground.
The permits for the campground are for 3 nights and 4 days. If you want to go fewer days and nights, you still pay for the fixed-length they offer.
You can find more detailed information on how to get Havasupai Falls Permits.
Details for 2020 from the official site:
ALL visits to Havasupai and Havasu Falls require a reservation made PRIOR to arrival.
There is only ONE name on a Campground Reservation – and a reservation is only valid if the person named on the reservation (the “Trip Leader”) is present at the Tourist Check-in Office in the Village of Supai (on the way to the Campground) with valid photo ID – otherwise, the reservation is NOT valid and will NOT be honored.
ALL visitors (even if they are not a Trip Leader) must have an account here on HavasupaiReservations.com made PRIOR to arrival so that they have confirmed their understanding of, and agreement with, Havasupai Rules and Laws.
ALL visitors must have proof of their account (a printout or screenshot of their Account Information Page), proof of their Campground Reservation (a printout or screenshot of the Campground Reservation that they are visiting under), and their photo ID available at all times while on Havasupai lands.
If camping isn’t your thing then consider reserving a room at the Havasupai Lodge, which has 24 rooms and is $440 a night for up to four people per room. In addition to the $440 per night fee to stay at the lodge, each person will need to pay $110 entrance / environmental fee payable at the hotel.
At this time, lodge reservations can only be made by telephone by calling one of the following numbers: (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201.
The reservations open on June 1st for April to December of the FOLLOWING year.
You will need to secure your reservation with a deposit of $100 per room per night to hold the reservation.
If anything happens and you cannot keep your reservation, a reservation canceled less than 2 weeks in advance is non-refundable.
Havasupai Security Checkpoints
There are multiple checkpoints to ensure that only valid permit holders or hikers with reservations at the Havasupai Lodge are allowed on the reservation.
On your drive on Indian Road 18 towards the trailhead, you will encounter your first “real” checkpoint manned by a private security firm.
Their purpose is to verify each person to assigned permits and to do random checks of automobiles and packs to look for contraband such as weapons, alcohol, and drugs.
They will ask you if you have these items and then they will search your vehicle and backpacks. The thoroughness of their search is random. We had a group of 14 people and everyone was searched differently and the mini-van in front of us took a LONG time as they went through the car and backpacks very carefully.
THIS IS NO JOKE! DO NOT TRY TO BRING ANYTHING ON THE PROHIBITED LIST!
If you are caught with a prohibited item the best-case scenario is that it is confiscated and you are allowed to enter the Havasupai reservation.
The worst-case scenario is that your items will be confiscated and your permits will be voided with no refund. It is also possible that you will be banned for life to enter the reservation. Now, here’s a kicker… supposedly (I have not verified this) that if you are banned, the ban may carry to other nations such as Hualapai, Navajo (Antelope Canyon), etc.
Once you are on the reservation and start your hike into the canyon, you may be stopped by rangers on horseback asking you for your name, permit holder, and ID.
The last time you will be asked for your name and ID is when you check-in at the tourist office for your wristband and backpack tags.
Prohibited Items at Havasupai
As stated above, there is a checkpoint to search for prohibited items and I cannot stress enough, DO NOT bring these items!
There are rangers that roam the campground throughout the day and night looking for people who are in violation of bringing prohibited items onto the reservation.
BTW, if you are with a group, make sure you trust the people you are hiking with as one person will ruin it for everyone on the permit. Even if you are not camping next to each other but are on the same permit, everyone will have their permits immediately voided with no refund and be asked to leave. (And… possibly banned for life.)
My friend Kelly talked to a hiker who received a $1,500 fine for being in an area that is considered “off-trail” while they were hiking around Beaver Falls.
The following items and activities are not allowed on the Havasupai Reservation:
Diving into water
Photos of the Havasupai people, village, or working animals
Weapons or firearms
Fines for violating the rules of Havasupai:
$1,000 fine for cliff diving or jumping
$1,000 fine for littering and/or leaving trash at your campsite
$1,000 fine for possession of alcohol and/or drugs
Review the Havasupai Tribe Law and Order Code
Just like other parts of the Grand Canyon, it can get HOT there during the high for the day.
June through September can be dangerously hot if you are not prepared to hike in the heat. If the temperature reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit, the trails will be closed for hiking.
As you can see above “monsoon season” is typically in July and August. The few days that it rains it brings heavy thunderstorms and the chance of flash floods. July 2018 the area saw a flood that closed the reservation for tourism for about 6 weeks.
If you are trying to figure out the weather for your trip, you can use Supai, Arizona and then use the “rule of thumb” is that temperatures drop 5 degrees for every 1,000 feet in elevation gain so with the Hualapai Hilltop at approximately 5,200′ and the canyon floor at 2,800′, there could be a difference of 10 degrees between the two areas, e.g., if it is 80 degrees at the parking lot, the canyon could be 90 degrees.
My friend hiked on the first weekend of October 2018 and there was snow at the trailhead but once they were off of the switchbacks they were peeling off layers.
RELATED ARTICLE >>> Hiking in the Heat
Flooding at Havasupai
A flash flood in a canyon is incredibly dangerous and you should always check the weather before you head into the canyon so you are prepared for inclement weather and know if there is a possibility of flash flooding.
In July 2018, the reservation experienced a flash flood that led to the evacuation of over 200 tourists by the locals using ATVs and helicopters. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured during the evacuation.
I followed the closing as we were not sure if we would be able to go the dates we selected and were fortunate that the reservation opened a few days before we were supposed to hike. During the six week period, I read the stories of the people who were evacuated and was shocked to learn that many had to leave behind their belonging, which included car keys for some! Because of this, we have a “flash flood” plan for whenever we hike and camp in canyons.
The sign above can be found above Havasu Falls.
If you would like an interest read, check out these documents that have photos of the waterfalls dating back to 1899 that show them over the years and how they have changed due to flooding.
Best Time of Year to Hike
Visiting Havasupai will be enjoyed any day of the year but note that reservations are not taken for the months of December and January as the night temperatures can dip below freezing.
The spring and fall months are ideal because the weather is mild for hiking during the day when there is no shade and the nights are cooler.
The summer months (May-August) are the most crowded months but also the most desirable if you’re hoping to swim in one of the five waterfalls. The downside is that the nights do not cool down as much as the spring so sleeping may be a bit uncomfortable. We went the beginning of September and it was so hot at night we laid on top of our sleeping bags. The biggest downside for the summer months are that the days are VERY hot and the hike in and out could be dangerous if you are not prepared.
The water temperature is consistent year-round at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monsoon season in Arizona begins in mid- July and extends through August. In 2018 Havasupai was closed for about six weeks due to severe flooding. The hikers that were in the canyon had to be immediately evacuated. We were on the edge of our seat waiting to see if our dates would fall when they reopened or if we would have to reschedule. Fortunately, we were able to hike in a few days after they opened after the repairs.
How to Get to Havasupai
If you are flying as part of your trip to Havasupai, you may choose to fly into either Las Vegas or Phoenix as your top options. ADD HOTELS AND AIRPORTS AND GEAR RENTAL
When driving to the trailhead, be aware of the wildlife. It doesn’t matter if it is day or night when you drive this 60-mile stretch, the wildlife is dangerous on this road and had caused too many wrecks. In one of the Facebook groups, I saw a MANGLED automobile that hit either a cow or elk.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you download your maps and directions prior to leaving as there is no service in the area leaving Hualapai Hilltop.
Directions to Havasupai from the following major cities:
From Las Vegas, Nevada, the drive is approximately 223 miles and 4 hours (starting from McCarran Airport)
Directions from Las Vegas to Hualapai Hilltop:
- Take I-11 S and US-93 S to AZ-66 E/E Andy Devine Ave/B-I 40/W Historic Rte 66 in Kingman. Take exit 53 from I-40 E/US-93 S – 1 h 37 min (106 mi)
- Merge onto I-215 E – 8.4 mi
- Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 1 for I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S toward Boulder City – 0.7 mi
- Merge onto I-11 S/US-93 S/US-95 S – 8.5 mi
- Keep left to continue on I-11 S – 12.3 mi
- Continue onto US-93 S E
- Entering Arizona – 71.6 mi
- Use the left 2 lanes to turn left to merge onto I-40 E/US-93 S toward Flagstaff/Phoenix – 4.0 mi
- Take exit 53 for State Route 66 E/Andy Devine Ave toward Kingman Airport
- Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto AZ-66 E/E Andy Devine Ave/B-I 40/W Historic Rte 66
- Continue to follow AZ-66 E/W Historic Rte 66 – 53.9 mi
- Turn left onto Indian Rd 18
From Phoenix, Arizona, the drive is approximately 264 miles and approximately 4.45 hours.
Directions from Phoenix, Arizona to Hualapai Hilltop:
- Get on AZ-202 Loop W from E Madison St and S 40th St – 7 min (2.0 mi)
- Head east toward E Madison St – 0.2 mi
- Slight right onto E Madison St – 161 ft
- At the traffic circle, continue straight to stay on E Madison St – 0.4 mi
- Turn right onto S 40th St – 0.9 mi
- Use the left 2 lanes to turn left to merge onto AZ-202 Loop W toward I-10/Los Angeles
- Take I-17 N, AZ-69 N, AZ-89 N, I-40 W and AZ-66 W/W Historic Rte 66 to Indian Rd 18 in Coconino County – 3 h 12 min (202 mi)
- Merge onto AZ-202 Loop W – 1.7 mi
- Use the left 3 lanes to merge onto I-10 W toward Los Angeles – 3.9 mi
- Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 143A-143B to merge onto I-17 N toward Flagstaff – 61.6 mi
- Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 262 for AZ-69 N toward Cordes Lake Rd/Prescott – 1.3 mi
- Continue onto AZ-69 N – 20.2 mi
- Turn right onto Fain Rd – 7.2 mi
- Use the middle 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-89A S – 6.3 mi
- Take exit 317 for AZ-89 toward Prescott/Chino Valley – 0.4 mi
- Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Ash Fork and merge onto AZ-89 N – 1.4 mi
- At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on AZ-89 N – 3.8 mi
- At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on AZ-89 N – 0.8 mi
- At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on AZ-89 N – Pass by Dollar General (on the right in 3.0 mi) – 3.8 mi
- At the traffic circle, continue straight to stay on AZ-89 N
- Pass by McDonald’s (on the left in 0.2 mi) – 1.3 mi
- At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on AZ-89 N – 32.5 mi
- Turn left to merge onto I-40 W – 24.9 mi
- Take exit 121 for Interstate 40 Business Loop toward AZ-66/Seligman/Peach Springs – 0.2 mi
- Turn right onto I-40BL E – 1.1 mi
- Turn right onto AZ-66 W/W Historic Rte 66 (signs for Peach Springs) – 29.4 mi
- Turn right onto Indian Rd 18
Parking at Hualapai Hilltop
There is a “long” parking lot at the Hualapai Hilltop to park your car during your hike.
At the end of the road are the bag drop for the mule and the trail entrance.
Depending on the time you arrive, you may be able to grab a cold bottle of water and a delicious frybread breakfast burrito before you hit the trail from the locals who are selling them. When we were there in September 2019, the prices were $2 for a bottle of water and $6 for a breakfast burrito (cash only).
RELATED ARTICLE >>> Guide to Parking at the Hualapai Hilltop
Gas Near Havasupai
Depending on which way you are approaching the Hualapai Parking Lot, Peach Springs, Arizona (67 miles) and Grand Canyon Caverns, Arizona (65 miles) are the nearest places to the trailhead with basic services like gas, food, and water.
What to Take to Havasupai
The key for an enjoyable hike in and out of Havasupai is to NOT OVERPACK, especially if you are visiting during the hotter months of the year.
Alternatives to getting your gear to your campground or lodge room are to hire a mule or helicopter. (More information down below on each.)
The recommendations of what to take is a large list so we created a special article for you to read about our recommendations on What to Pack for Havasupai
RELATED ARTICLE >>> Havasupai Water
Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to Supai Lodge in the village: 8 miles / 13 kilometers
Supai Lodge in the village to Havasupai Falls Campground: 2 miles / 3 kilometers
Hualapai Hilltop Parking Lot to Havasupai Falls Campground: 10 miles / 16 kilometers
Havasupai Falls Campground to Mooney Falls: 0.5 miles / 0.8 kilometers
Mooney Falls to the Colorado River (also known as the Confluence): 8 miles / 13 kilometers
NOTE: The distances are one way
RELATED ARTICLE >>> What is a Switchback
View the Havasupai Trail Map
Fifty Foot Falls
Fifty Foot Falls is the first waterfall as you hike towards the campground and it approximately one mile past the village.
I enjoyed our time there as there were very few people in the area.
The feel of this waterfall is different than the others as it reminded me of waterfalls you would see in Asia or Hawaii with the lush green growing on the walls behind the waterfall.
Little Navajo Falls
Little Navajo Falls, also referred to as Rock Falls and New Navajo Falls, is the second waterfall you will encounter as you head towards the campground.
One of the most photographed and the most famous of the Havasupai waterfalls, Havasu Falls is a welcomed sight to tired hikers as it’s the sign that you are almost to the campground.
Havasu Falls is the third waterfall you will see on your journey towards the campground.
Click here to read our article on What to Expect at Havasu Falls.
The highest waterfall at 200′, Mooney Falls is located at the end of the campground.
Hikers can choose to enjoy Mooney Falls from the top or climb down the side of the cliff using the tunnels, ladders, and chains that take visitors to the bottom.
For those that choose to climb to the bottom, they may continue on to visit Beaver Falls or The Confluence.
Click here to read more What to Expect at Mooney Falls at Havasupai.
Some argue that Beaver Falls should not be considered since it is made up of lots of “little falls” instead of larger waterfalls.
It is the last of the “Big 5” at Havasupai, located approximately 3.5 miles from Mooney Falls.
To access Beaver Falls you need to descend the wall at Mooney Falls, hike through a field of vines, and have possible creek crossings depending on which route you take. Also, there are places where you are climbing smaller ladders and scrambling on rocks.
Camping at Havasupai
The campgrounds start at the fence line near the ranger station and run along the Havasu Creek to the last restroom near Mooney Falls spanning almost a mile in between these “landmarks.”
There are approximately 300 campsites, which are subject to availability on a first-come-first-served basis. If you arrive later in the day and can’t find a “good” spot, talk to people to find out when they are leaving and if you can have their spot the next day.
I know some people are okay with people setting up there tent on the trail but I personally wish people would respect others and do not do this. For those who are visiting the restrooms during the night, it makes it more difficult to navigate.
When selecting a camping spot, consider the following:
Are you going to filter your water or walk to the natural spring?
There are restrooms along the trail that runs through the campground. Are you okay with a small walk in the middle of the night or should you be closer? AND, do you want to be crossing the creek in the middle of the night to go to the restroom?
Are you tent camping or sleeping in hammocks? This will determine if you need a flatter spot to set up your tent or more trees for your hammock.
Where are you going to spending most of your time? You may want to set up closer to Havasu Falls if you plan on hanging around this area vs. Mooney Falls that you need to cross through to access Beaver Falls and the Confluence.
The campground may include the following “amenities” but vary from space to space: area to set up your tent, shovel, rake, wheelbarrows (to use to move bags for the mules), picnic table, and a nearby pit toilet. If you stop by the ranger station you MAY find buckets for food storage and partially used fuel containers (some are empty). Some campsites may have lines from tree to tree that is leftover from earlier campers.
RELATED ARTICLE >>> Havasupai Camping – Hammock vs. Tent
Places to Eat
Our favorite place is Sinyella, which is the first “store” you will see when you are close to the village. It is a “mom and pop” place where they run the grocery store from the back of their home and the “kitchen cafe” from the front of their home.
They have an area that has covered picnic tables for visitors to use to enjoy the snacks purchased.
The sign says they at 7:00 am but when we hiked out and craving breakfast, they didn’t open until 7:30 am. This delayed us by an hour getting out but her frybread breakfast burritos are delicious and were worth the wait. (Note: They will feed 2 – 3 hungry hikers.) Normally, they stop serving at 5:00 PM.
The store accepts cards with a $20 minimum and the “kitchen cafe” is cash only.
Supai Village Cafe
The cafe in the village has been closed for 2019 and am not sure when they will open for business. I asked a local and was told there was a plumbing issue and they “had to start over” with the renovation to fix it.
When it is open, they have a nice menu with everything from a traditional breakfast to burgers.
There is a Wi-Fi connection that is strong in this area so if you want to post a few pics, this will be the time to do it.
They accept cash and credit cards.
Supai Village Grocery Store
The grocery store in the village we normally bypass unless we really don’t want to go to Sinyella, as I stated above we prefer to go there.
One thing they have for sale that Sinyella doesn’t is ice by the 10-pound bag or by the cup.
They open at 6 AM and close at 6:30 PM and I haven’t been there when they haven’t been open so not sure if they are sometimes late to open for business.
Note: Visit on your way in if you think you want to visit later during your trip as they close for a half a day for inventory and you don’t want to hike up there only to find out that the day you pick is inventory day.
You will find the frybread stands are near Havasu Falls but they are hit and miss on which days they open, when they open, and if they have fry bread to serve.
The first big “tent” you will see when hiking to the campground is a lady who only sells drinks and “tourist” items.
All of these stands are cash only.
Tip: If you are with a few people, order together as they make a certain number of orders and then put up a sign that says there is a 20-minute wait. I ordered for myself, my sister, my son, and a friend and our order was the last before the sign went up which meant the rest of my group didn’t get to order and decided not to wait.
There are many animals that you may see during the day and at night. Most of the animals in the area should be the same that can be found within the Grand Canyon National Park.
Others have reported seeing bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.
From talking to others, the raccoons seem to be more prominent closer to Mooney Falls.
RELATED ARTICLE >>> Securing Food at Havasu Falls Campsite
Restrooms at Havasupai
There is a restroom at the trailhead that is a hit and miss with having toilet paper so you may want to take some if you want to use it before hitting the trail.
In the village, there is a nice restroom beside the village grocery store.
There are a few composting pit toilets as you get closer to the campground and several along the trail throughout the campground.
While I took my kids all over the world to experience travel with us as a family, I am not sure I would have taken them to Havasupai until they were at least teenagers.
The main things I would personally research before taking smaller children is the length of the hikes, the terrain, and the climb down to Mooney Falls if you want to go to Beaver Falls and beyond.
Because my children are now adults, it is hard for me to judge their capability at a particular age. Because of this, I recommend that you join one of the Facebook groups listed below and “talk” to other parents who have taken their kids and get feedback on their experience.
Pets at Havasupai
I have always heard that dogs are not allowed at Havasupai but on my last trip, I saw hikers with dogs hiking out and one group camping beside us had one too.
At this time I do not know the definitive answer and will try to find out and update as soon I can.
Havasupai Post Office and Mail
Supai has been referred to as “the most remote community” in the contiguous United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is accessible only by helicopter, on foot or by mule.
It is the only place in the United States where mules still carry the mail, most of which is food.
Bring your own postcards or buy some at the grocery store in the village and take to the post office to get your postcards stamped with “delivered by mule.” Note: You have to request the special stamp be used or they will use the “normal” one.
Everywhere you look there are signs and warnings for you to pack out what you pack in, meaning your trash.
Leaving your trash behind puts an expensive burden on the locals to fly it out or mule it out, which may increase permit prices each year. Also, leaving your trash behind is asking for trouble with the local trifecta of trash fiends to scatter the trash all over the campground.
On our last trip, we were in the village and a local thanked us for packing out our trash and offered to take our bag of trash that was hanging on a backpack from us. (Of course, we agreed to let him do it!)
If you are caught littering or leaving your trash behind, you may incur a fine.
Pack Mules at Havasupai
I know there is a lot of controversy regarding the pack mules at Havasupai. This is not a place that will be discussing either side but I will state that each time I have visited Havasupai, the horses and mules running the bags and items for the village looked very healthy and were sore-free from what we could see. The mule drivers were very friendly and one even tossed us a bottle of water on the switchbacks as he passed by. New for 2019 are the water troughs at the Hualapai Hilltop for the mules and horses to refresh before their trek back into the village.
When on the trail, be sure to listen for the mules coming your way as you will want to hit the higher ground off of the trail as they may be running fast and they don’t care about your personal space. Also, don’t stand too close to the trail as there could be a bag swing your way and knock you down if you are in their space. NOTE: if you are listening to music, you may want to keep it low and only with one earbud so you can hear them coming down the trail.
If you choose to use a mule for your hike in and out of Havasupai, you need to join the waitlist through the online reservation system after you purchase your permits. Once a mule has been assigned you will receive an email with the information to prep your bags for the bag drop and charged $400 round-trip.
You are allowed to pack 4 bags that are 32 pounds or less. The maximum bag size is 36″ x 19″ x 19″.
Be sure to check your email that has the mule information as you will need to create a tag that has your name, confirmation number, date in, and date out for each bag that will be going on the mule.
The bag drop at the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot is by 10 AM and the bags should arrive at the drop zone at 2 PM. (For some reason, our bags didn’t arrive until about 6 PM.)
The bag drop at the ranger station is at 7 AM and the bags should arrive at the parking lot drop zone at Noon.
Cell Phone Service at Havasupai
Depending on your service carrier, you may be able to connect at the Hualapai Hilltop, Sinyella, and the village. When in the village it appeared to be best for AT&T around the grocery store area.
My sister had service at the frybread stand near Havasu Falls with Verizon but I had no service in the area with AT&T.
Airwest Helicopter Service
There is an option to fly into and out of the Havasupai Village using the third-party helicopter service offered by Airwest, which has a schedule that varies based on the time of the year and on the weather for the day.
The helipad is located approximately 200 yards from the trailhead on the left as you are driving towards the trailhead and the helicopter will land in the Supai village, which is approximately 2 miles from the campground.
The cost is $85 each way and it is best to pay by cash instead of a credit card since sometimes the card reader may not be working (I do not know if they do manual credit card transactions) and it is cheaper by $10 to avoid the credit card fee.
You cannot make a reservation for a seat on the helicopter and have to put your name on a waitlist to be called in the order of sign up. I know many people who get up very early to get their names on the list. When we flew out we arrived around 9 AM to the village and flew out around Noon. We were okay with this as it gave us time to take off our packs, grab a “real” breakfast, and relax a little before hitting the road for our drive back to Las Vegas.
We took the helicopter out our first time visiting Havasupai and the short flight (about 5 minutes) is beautiful.
I was able to fly my son’s backpack out for an additional fee but I have heard that the option is no longer available. Once I verify this, I will update the article.
The helicopter runs on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from March 15 through October 15 and the schedule changes from October 16 through March 14, by running on Sundays and Fridays.
The helicopters start running at 10:00 AM and continue until everyone has been accommodated, normally until around 1 PM.
For more information, call Airwest Helicopters (623) 516- 2790.
Note: Tribal members receive priority boarding before tourists, so even if you are the first person the list, it may be a while before your name is called.
Swimming at Havasupai
Swimming is great at each of the waterfalls with pools of various depths.
Thinking about climbing up the cliff to dive into those gorgeous blue waters? Don’t. It could lead to a hefty fine.
Fifty Foot Falls and Little Navajo are less crowded and offer deeper pools to relax and for water play.
One thing we never skimp on when considering the weight we back in, is our first aid kit. On our big treks, we take a larger kit and then have a smaller one for our day hikes.
The key items for this trip I would recommend is a lot of moleskin and Ibuprofen than your normal stockpile.
If something major happens, it may be a while before help can get to you as you are miles (and hours) away from phone service and medical help. We always take a Garmin with us, no matter how short or long our hikes because sometimes, minutes may matter.
RELATED ARTICLE >>> First Aid Kits for Hiking
Drones at Havasupai
I would LOVE to be able to take my drone to Havasupai but keep them at home as they are not allowed on the Havasupai reservation.
Understandable as drone owners would be all over the place in slot canyons with loud buzzing above ruining the peaceful experience for everyone.
If you are caught with a drone, you may incur a $250 fine and have your drone confiscated.
From the Havasupai Tribe Law and Order Code
Out of concern for the safety of aircraft, the village, and the village’s residents, and for privacy, all drone usage is strictly prohibited within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation, unless granted written advance permission by the Tribal Chairperson or the Tribal Council. Persons found in violation of this Section shall have their drones confiscated by the Tribe and if they wish to have them returned, shall pay shipping postage. Persons found in violation of this Section shall also be liable for a civil fine of $250.00.
Other Notes About Havasupai
Below are notes of observations from my friends who have experienced Havasupai:
Notes from my friend Kelly H. (September 2019):
- If the cafe is closed, sometimes there is a guy with a cooler that sits in front of the store. His wife makes food from scratch. Her breakfasts with biscuits are amazing, and apparently her burritos too, but they sell out fast.
- Talk to a local if you get a chance. They have interesting stories to tell.
- The bottom of the canyon gets windy when the temperature changes. Make sure to have your tent set up by then, and secure all lightweight items, or they’ll wind up blowing into the creek.
- If you don’t have much upper body strength or practice with backpacking, try to practice carrying your loaded backpack around before the trip, to get your shoulder muscles accustomed to the weight.
- Coffee is like gold there. You can use it to barter for different stuff
- You don’t have to leave super early on the last day if it’s not in the summer. I’m not a strong hiker, and I did it. This way, you can take your time in the town, the rodeo/farm/store where everybody shares their stories, and on the hike itself. You just have to make sure you have a lot of water (more like 3L rather than 2L) and think like a desert animal. Don’t push yourself hard in the open areas, when the sun is high. Use the shaded outcroppings on the side of the canyon to cool down and regulate your heart rate/breathing. Protect your skin. Enjoy the views during your breaks. If you take you time that last day, however, make sure you are prepared to sleep in the car, cause the Peach Springs hotel is expensive & usually booked, and the drive to Kingman is long when you’re tired.
- If you want to use the rest area, across from the Peach Springs hotel to sleep, be warned… It is right across the street from the train tracks. However, they sometimes have earplugs at the gas station and always at the hotel.
- Don’t forget pain meds/anti-inflammatories… You will probably want them at some point.
- The locals say that hikers can fill up their water containers at the Sinyella Store and Frybread Stand. The hose that they are referring to is dropped into a horse trough at one end. I would not recommend drinking from this. Either be prepared to filter your water, or buy some fairly expensive bottled water from that store.
- If you want to have a relaxing stay, get pretty pics and have time to spend at all the waterfalls: helicopter in and stay at the lodge. If you want to push yourself and get that feeling of accomplishment and self-reliance then hiking/camp. It’s difficult to do both.
There are several Facebook groups on Facebook that are very informative.
Also, they have groups based on the month you are visiting so you can ask questions about that particular month. (March vs. September, for example, will have different info for temperatures, current propane bottle status, etc.)
Below are the Facebook groups that I know about, if I missed one of your favorites, please let us know and we will update this article.
Facebook groups by the month you are visiting:
Related Facebook groups
I am an outdoor enthusiast who would rather be on a backcountry backpacking trip than a stroll on the beach (although I do love the beach!).
Living in Las Vegas has afforded me the opportunity to easily explore the Southwest region of the United States.
A nature lover, I am often found at the end of the pack taking photos and videos of the wildlife found on the trails. Colorful flowers, desert animals, and unusual geological rock formations are often the majority of my photos.