Hiking To Havasu Falls
Havasu means "blue-green water", and pai means "people". The people of Supai, part of the Havasupai tribe, which is an American Indian tribe that has lived in the area of the canyon for the past 800 years! This turquoise paradise in the middle of the desert is not your average hike and will take lots of preparation but I can assure you the hard work will pay off
You should generally be fit to do this hike. The only steep part of the Havasupai trail is the first 1.5 miles, everything else is mostly flat with rocky like gravel and sand. I would suggest bringing hiking poles because they really helped for this stretch of the hike both in and out! The trail is a long and hot 10 mile hike with little shade so I highly recommend starting your trek no later than 4am to escape the heat of the blistering sun. Even the shaded areas can reach temps of 105F so pack plenty of water as there is NO water source until you reach the campgrounds or lodge. I would say a minimum of 2 liters but 3 is better. I had a friend who got a small leak in her pack and this can become dangerous in the harsh desert elements, luckily the leak was at the top and we used superglue which seemed to do the trick.
Along your hike you might see stray dogs that may follow you from time to time but they eventually run off back to wherever it is they came from. Keep in mind pack mules also use this trail every day so if you see them just move aside for them to pass. If you think this hike will be difficult or if you have any health concerns, you may want to use a mule as an option to get your pack to camp. You can also look into horse of helicopters to the village as well.
When you reach your camp site make sure you hang your packs or else the squirrels will get to it! Rope, carabiners and paracord are all great things to pack to ensure these guys don't chew threw your gear. There are restrooms at the camp site but no showers so can take a dip in the water to refresh yourself or you might consider packing body wipes.
You MUST HAVE A HAVASUPAI PERMIT in order to hike the Havasu Trail and stay in the campground or lodge. Many people think they can hike down to the office to get a permit and this is NOT the case! Let me save you from getting a fine because the trails are checked daily. Our group was checked for permits every day we were there. No day hiking is allowed, and dogs are not allowed either. I know you see photos of @Pennidog but rules have unfortunately changed.
Distance: 10 Mile hike to the campgrounds
Time: 4-6 hours. I recommend beginning your hike no later than 4am
Elevation gain: About 2,500 ft descent. Keep in mind your last 1.5 miles out will be most challenging due to elevation gain
Permit: MUST HAVE A HAVASUPAI PERMIT to hike the trail or stay in the campgrounds or lodge
(You must have a permit to DAY hike)
Dog Friendly: Dogs are not allowed (we were lucky @Pennidog was with us but rules have changed)
What did you do to prepare?
I trained about two weeks prior just to be prepared and glad I did. This was my first real backpacking trip and my pack weighed in at 38lbs. I used everything I packed however I could have made my pack much lighter. (You can read related havasupai and pack blogs to learn more) To help prepare for the hike my girlfriend Marie and I trained at Exploration Peak Park in Las Vegas adding weights in our packs to simulate the weight we'd be carrying. Then we hiked up that hill several times!! This will strengthen your back and help you from being sore.
Where do you stay before the hike begins? (Two options)
Option 1: Get a hotel in Kingman, AZ
Option 2: Save money on a hotel and sleep at the trailhead parking lot. You can either fold your seats down and sleep in the car or use your mats and lay them next to your car. If you do this I suggest bringing ear plugs!! It can get pretty noisy if you're trying sleep.There will be people walking right by your head and cars driving up to find a place to park.
How early should you start hiking?
This trail can get so hot that it's a good idea to start hiking around 3am.
How long did it take to hike?
I was with a group of 18 and some of the faster hikers broke off and got there first in about 3.5 hours but for the most part it took us about 4 hrs to hike.
Can you bring kids?
We did see a few kids on the trail. I would plan for extra time on the trail for extra breaks if your kids aren't used to hiking. Hiring a mule to carry their packs in may be a good family choice but they should carry day packs so they have enough water and snacks
How much water should you pack?
2-3 liters. (3 is better)
My gear and suggested packing list....
I've read tons of reviews and done lots of research to ensure I have the best products to hike with. Hopefully my research will make your shopping easier. (click links to get to the gear I use and simply add to cart)
-headlight: black diamond storm headlamp
(350 lumens, dust and water proof. Red, green and blue LED light)
-good hiking shoes
-water shoes/sandals to relax when you're down at camp
-socks: darn tough socks
(Super durable and made for hiking)
-clothes to keep you warm as you kine down early in the morning
-clothes for when it starts to get more hot
-hammock: bear butt hammock
-gas for pocket rocket or jet boil
-mountain house packs, protein bars, food to last duration of trip
-quick dry pack towel: youphoria multipurpose dry towel
-aquaphore (it's like a chapstick but way better)
-body wipes (non scented, antibacterial hand face and body wipes)
-mole skin (for sensitive spots or blisters on your feet)
-blister bandaids (made for blisters and super soft)
camera/gopro (drones are not allowed)
floaty to chill and hang out at the water