Havasupai Backpacking Information

Added 25 January 2004


I thought I would put this page together for folks interested in hiking down to Havasu Falls and parts beyond. I will focus on information that isn't likely to change (i.e. NOT fees). For the latest information on the fees for visiting Havasu Falls, as well as other useful information, go to Havasupai Tribe Website.

Another good page for information and photos is Mathew Haughey's hike description.

I found it difficult to to get in touch of the tribe using the phone numbers provided. Even the phone number on the registration form they sent me was incorrect! I feel sorry for the poor Supai woman whose phone number is on the form. At any rate, try these numbers: (928) 448-2121 and (928) 448-2237.

We found the travel time estimates from nearby major cities to Hualapai Hilltop to be conservative. I think it took us around seven hours (actual driving time) from Tucson to Hualapai Hilltop. When it's busy like it was when we got there, getting there after dark is tough. There was hardly any place for us to park. There are porta-potties at Hualapai Hilltop, but nothing else. No gas, and no water (that I saw). Though when we climbed back out, there were Supai tribal members selling cold drinks to weary hikers. I wouldn't necessarily count on this though.

On a busy day/weekend, I would highly recommend getting an early start, and keeping a good pace to try to get to camp before the throng. The tribe says they limit the number of people in the canyon, but on the holiday weekend we hiked on, I didn't see any evidence of that. Another good idea might be to have one or two of the stronger hikers in the group hike out ahead to get a good camp site. At any rate, camp sites are first-come first-served, BUT YOU SHOULD MAKE CAMPING RESERVATIONS WELL AHEAD OF YOUR PLANNED TRIP. I would not recommend just hiking down to Havasupai in hopes that there will be spots available.


As for the hike itself, it isn't especially difficult, but it can be wearying. Much of the hike is in the bottom of the wash, so the ground is soft sand, gravel and/or rock. The softness of the ground can really sap energy out of your legs, and stress ankles. Be prepared. TAKE WATER. If the weather is bad (rainy), keep an eye and ear out for flash floods. They move fast and can easily kill. I understand that about a half dozen hikers were killed about a decade ago in a flash flood. The first part of the hike is pretty open, but the canyon eventually closes in, so that there is patchy shade for much of the hike.

Watch out for the mule trains. The mules seem to pay humans no mind at all, and more than once nearly pushed us off the trail. When you see or hear them coming, find a nice place OFF THE TRAIL to let them go by. They move quickly, so you won't have to wait long.

DOGS: I talked to someone who took their dog down to Havasupai, but I'm not sure I would recommend it, especially if you plan on hiking past the overlook to Mooney Falls. Getting a dog down the cliff to the base of Mooney would be tough. The person I talked to did it, but had to use climbing gear and two people to lower the dog in a harness. I'd leave the pooch at home on this one.


There is a small convenience store, post office and restaurant in Supai Village. DON'T COUNT ON THEM BEING OPEN WHEN YOU NEED THEM TO BE. Bring enough food to last through your trip in case they run out (which, as we found out, they do, but we came prepared for that). Actually, the store was open and had food, but the restaurant closed early the day we tried to eat there because they had run out of food. As I said, we were planning to eat at the restaurant, but didn't rest our lives on being able to eat there.

There are other, private residents, who also serve food. They were all out of food when we were there too, so don't count on them either. Since they were out of food, I can't vouch for the tastiness or quality of any of it.


There is a spring at the campground. I think some people were drinking straight from the spring, but we filtered all of the water we got from it. No point in risking it, in my opinion. The trip probably wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable if you were sick as a dog on it.

I suppose I will digress into one 'rant' about camping. It's great to be down in Havasupai with a fun group of people, and to have fun, but please remember that not everyone wants to hear your drunken revelry, especially late at night. Please be courteous, and keep the fun to a dull roar.


For those proceeding beyond Havasu Falls, you will need to overcome any fears of heights you might have. The descent down to the base of Mooney Falls and parts beyond is steep and potentially trecherous. The trail down canyon from Mooney falls is not always easy to follow, and will require you to get wet. The deepest crossing we encountered was a little over waste deep (I'm six feet tall).

When we were still thinking of hiking all the way down to the Colorado River, one of my companions was talking to a Supai man about it, and he opened his eyes wide like we were in for one heck of a trek, and said he had only done it once, as a kid. Take that for what it's worth. We only made it as far as Beaver Falls, but we got a late start and weren't rushing on the trail. But as I said, the trail can be difficult to follow, and I suspect it gets more difficult to follow the further down you go. One of these days, I certainly hope to make that trek though.


The hike back up is potentially worse than the hike in, for obvious reasons. To begin with, it is basically all up hill. And the hardest part of the hike is during the warmest part of the day, in full sun. Plan accordingly and make sure you bring enough water.

The warning above about the mules applies just as much going up as coming down.

As stated above, there were some folks selling cold drinks at the top, BUT I WOULDN'T RELY ON THEM BEING THERE.

If you have done this trip and find any information above to be incorrect, please let me know so I can update it with the most accurate information possible.

Click the links below to go to the description of the hike.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3