While Day 1 of our trip into Havasupai continued on its stressful trend and resulted in some miscommunication, yelling, and tears (as no family vacation would be complete without), the rest of our trip was a tiptoe through paradise. Of course there were scary parts like our hike to Mooney Falls, and treacherous parts like hiking back out of the canyon, but mostly it was filled with sunshine, crystal clear blue water, and happiness.
Pro tip: Bring walkie-talkies!! This is the #1 thing I wish we would have had while in the canyon.
Your phone will be roaming, so having a way to communicate – especially if you have never been to Havasupai before – is highly beneficial! Our first day in the canyon was uber stressful partly due to miscommunication. My husband had said he was going on to the “next” falls while the rest of us went to the upper Navajo falls. By “next” falls, I thought he had meant Havasu Falls (and for some reason, I thought Havasu Falls was closer than it actually is), but he actually just meant the lower Navajo Falls. When I took off solo down the trail to join him, I ended up walking at least a half mile downhill before realizing that he probably hadn’t gone that far, and since I didn’t have any water on me (another rookie mistake), I turned around and climbed back up the hill. I was not pleased especially since my legs were already exhausted from the hike in! Next time: walkie-talkies and clear communication about where each of us is going at any given time! Even paradise is hard to enjoy when you’re pissed off.
There was a lot of cliff jumping going on while we were in Havasupai. I certainly didn’t do any jumping, but if you’re going to jump just make sure to check the depth of the water and look for rocks – and let someone else jump first.
This video below shows a couple of professional jumpers (who I’m guessing are on YouTube since they were videotaping their jumps) at Havasu Falls. They also had a dog that traveled with them and was trained to swim towards them as soon as they jumped in case they needed to be rescued. How cool is that?! You can see the dog swimming towards them from the left.
We spent 3 nights in Havasu Canyon, which was the perfect amount of time for us, though many people only spend 2 nights. We stayed at Supai lodge rather than camping since we were concerned about the heat being too much. Still, our trip (split between 4 people) only cost a total of $900. This was our itinerary:
Day 1: Hiked in early in the morning to beat the heat (6:30am at the trailhead). Then we relaxed and made our way to Navajo Falls which is the closest falls to town and only took us about 30 minutes to get to from the lodge. Click here to read about our hike in and our rocky start to the trip!
Day 2: Hiked to Mooney Falls (read the full review of Mooney here). On our way back from Mooney, we stopped at Havasu Falls (near the campground) and Navajo Falls.
Day 3: Relaxed at Havasu Falls and Navajo Falls. This was a great recuperation day for us, although the hike from the lodge to Havasu and back definitely still involves a lot of hill climbing. And our legs were still shot from all of the hiking and climbing we had already done. I definitely recommend stretching at the end of each day to try to keep your muscles loose. If you’re planning a relaxation day, bring a hammock or a towel as well as something to read (I would recommend having it on your phone or tablet rather than having the weight of a book in your pack). Havasu Falls has a little beach and is a great place to kick back and read.
Day 4: Hiked out of the canyon starting at 4am (from the lodge) – reached the hilltop at 8am. If you are having the pack horses bring out your packs, expect to wait at the top. The packs from the campground arrived around 10am; our packs from the lodge arrived at 11am. However, I still think it’s worth it to start hiking early to avoid the heat of the day. There were some people at the hilltop selling snacks and gatorade if you find yourself in need.
Tip: If you are planning to bring any alcohol, be forewarned that you actually aren’t allowed to have alcohol on the reservation and it might be confiscated. However, we brought in some tequila and vodka with no problems. Just be careful, though, because the alcohol will have a heightened effect since you likely aren’t drinking enough water or getting enough food!
Watch out for the squirrels! This little fucker (below) tried to tear into my pack while we were at Havasu Falls. I think he wanted my PB&J. Leave your packs away from the trees and near people!
On our last night before hiking out of the canyon, my dad and I found our way out to stand under the falls at Upper Navajo Falls. It was AMAZING. And really not too difficult to get out there. You can see us in the above picture – look how tiny we are! Feeling the power of the water rushing over the falls was intense and invigorating. I highly recommend it.
Before going on the trip, I read several reviews where people expressed concern for the pack horses and mules, reporting that they had open sores and were sometimes left for dead by the side of the trail. I certainly don’t want to support any sort of animal cruelty, but the horses seemed to be in good shape to us while we were there. We even saw pack horses just roaming free while they weren’t working – see the colt below!
Where have you found paradise? Have you been to Havasupai? Any recommendations or tips for readers who may be planning a trip? Please leave your feedback in the comments below! And remember: if you are planning a trip to Havasupai, make your reservations now!