Havasu Falls is by far the most popular waterfall on the Havasupai Reservation. For those unfamiliar, Havasu Falls is a 100+ foot turquoise waterfall that flows just north of the Havasupai Reservation in western Arizona. Havasu Falls dumps into a large, blue-green pool of water at the bottom of the falls. But you can’t just stroll from your car to get there- it’s quite a hike to get there!
How long is the hike to Havasu Falls?
Depending on your fitness, the pace of your backpacking/hiking crew, and the weight of your pack, the hike to Havasu Falls can take anywhere from 4-6 hours. The hike itself is just over 10 miles from the “Hilltop” parking lot down to the base of the falls. As you’re hiking to Havasu Falls, you will hike through the main village at the center of the Havasupai Reservation: known as Supai. The 4-6 hour, 10-mile trip is one-way. Round-trip, you’re looking at 8-12 hours over 20 miles.
What to expect on the hike to Havasu Falls
The hike itself can be strenuous, especially if you’ve never backpacked 10 miles in a single day before. By far, the worst stretch on the trail to Havasu Falls from the “Hilltop” parking lot is the first 2-3 miles. You will descent into a huge canyon system and onto the canyon’s floor. From there, the hike is relatively flat in comparison- across the dry river beds. With the exception of the weight on your back, the heat, and the sun beating down on your neck, the rest of the hike to Havasu Falls is quite nice (in my opinion). Even if you’re having a miserable time, you’ll be at beautiful Havasu Falls soon enough!
Once you get to the village of Supai, take a breather, fill up your water, and get mentally prepared for the last mile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been excited to see the buildings in Supai but then bummed that I still have another mile to go to Havasu Falls.
Things to consider when hiking to Havasu Falls
When getting prepared for your hike to Havasu Falls and staying at Havasupai, it’s important to remember to bring the right supplies. While you can purchase food and water in Supai, there is literally nothing between the “Hilltop” parking lot and the village of Supai- no water, no food, no taco shop, nothing. Make sure you bring everything you need to get you to Supai- including good hiking shoes and plenty of water and snacks.
If you can start your hike to Havasu Falls early, do it!
During spring and summer, the trail can heat up to over 100 degrees which can make the hike feel more strenuous than it really is. It’s important to start your hike as early as possible. I’ve personally started a summer hike to Havasu Falls at 5 am.
You cannot hike or visit Havasu Falls without a permit!
The “Hilltop” parking lot houses a station where people can hire mules and ask questions about the subsequent hike. You cannot hike or visit Havasu Falls without a permit, so don’t even try and don’t even ask about it! Go through the proper permitting process, unless you feel like serving jail time and paying a fine for trespassing.
Hiking to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Reservation is around a 4-6 hour trip each way. The 10 miles from the “Hilltop” parking lot down to the base of the falls will take you down into a huge canyon system, along dry river beds, and past the town center of Supai. While the hike may be strenuous, your misery will be well worth the reward: seeing and spending time at Havasu Falls!