A lot of you are saying you are dying to go to Havasupai, so I want to make sure you guys are setup for success before the trip of a lifetime!
There’s a lot of things you will want to know before you go,like what to pack (don’t forget your bathing suit ** cough, cough Bobby) how toget a reservation, and more. I’ll share all the basics with you, plus a few things I wish I had known before I took off, to make your adventure the best experience possible!
- Secure your reservation
As I mentioned in my original post detailing my experience in this desert oasis, it is difficult to get camping reservations here. Luckily for you, the tribe launched an online booking system in 2018, so this means you all have a good shot at getting a spot this year when they open reservations in February!
Subscribe for notifications from the official reservation site, here: https://www.havasupaireservations.com/
Tip: On the day that reservations open online, I would recommend trying to get through on both your phone and your computer at the same time. The site crashed in 2018 on my computer, and I heard the same thing happened for other people as well. Bobby had better luck on his phone and was the only one of us to get tickets, so it must be the magic of mobile!
- Pack lightly, with only the essentials
Less is truly more on a backpacking trip. You don’t needmultiple changes of clothes; I wore the same pants each day and just changed intoa fresh t-shirt and it was totally fine! You’ll be in the water most of your stay anyways (free shower!) and no one really cares what you’re wearing.
- Bathing suit
- Hiking clothes (wear layers as the weather can change quickly)
- Hiking boots – the hike in is very rocky, your ankles will thank you
- Sturdy water shoes – I love my Keens!
- Bandana for the dust – you’ll appreciate this tip!
- Down jacket, the mornings are chilly!
- Hammock and straps
- Dehydrated backpacking food – I really like Backpacker’s Pantry
- Small backpacking stove – Jet Boil is great!
- Camelback or water bottle – you only need to pack enough water for the hike in; there is a natural spring in the campsitefor you to fill up at throughout your stay
- Quick-dry towel – this one has been around the world with me!
- A lightweight backpacking tent, or you can pack even lighter and sleep in your hammock!
- Portable charger for your phone
- Camera gear and extra batteries!
- Socks – make sure you have a fresh pair for each day!
- Reservation confirmation (see below)
Tip: If you are trying to cut down on weight in your pack, you can easily forget the tent and sleep in your hammock! It’s absolutely worth it to pack your nice camera and gear though. It may be heavy, but there is a photo opportunity literally everywhere you look. Make sure to pack extra camera batteries as well! (My camera died on the first day… oops)
- Show up prepared
Make sure to have a screenshot or printed copy of your reservation confirmation on hand when you arrive at Hilltop. This wasn’texplained to us in our confirmation, nor did I read it on any other blog posts prior to our trip. Don’t make the same mistake we did and assume they have a list of confirmations for the day… we had an hour long delay trying to find cell-service in order to pull up our confirmation via email.
Tip: Double down with a printed copy of your confirmation and a screenshot on your phone. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step. We lost cell service for the entire last hour of the drive to Hilltop, and there is one tiny spot on the helipad once you’re there that you might be able get service at to download your confirmation… if you get on your buddie’s shoulders and wave your phone back and forth in the air… Be smart. Plan ahead.
- See it ALL
You read about Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls in my original Havasupai post, but did you know there are actually five main waterfalls in Havasupai? Most people spend their time in the canyon at those two falls, and some make the extra trek to Beaver Falls (do it), but all five are unique and all five are worth checking out.
Once you pick up your camping tags in the village of Supai (mile 8) you’ll continue on two more miles to the start of the campgrounds. Fifty Foot Falls is the closest to Supai village, which is full of travertine pools, making for the ideal cool-off and hang-out spot in the canyon. You probably will want to get straight to the campsite on your hike in, but Fifty Foot Falls is the perfect spot to come back to later to lay out in the river and catch the sunset.
Just below Fifty Foot Falls is Navajo Falls, which you can easily check out at the same time as Fifty Foot Falls. The canyon is much wider above these two falls, which allows so much more sunlight to come in. This is awesome if you are here early or late in the season when it’s only about 70 degrees during the day, as the sunlight helps distract you from how cold the water is. If you are visiting in the middle of summer, note that there is very little shade surrounding these two falls so plan accordingly!
Tip: Don’t get stuck at just Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. They are beautiful, but there is so much more to see if you are willing to do a little extra walking! Spend a day hiking back to Beaver Falls (6 miles roundtrip) and find some time to hang at Fifty Foot Falls and Navajo Falls, especially if you want some extra sunlight!
- Hiking Out
Most people begin their hike in or out of the canyon at the crack of dawn, due to extremely high temperatures in the summer, and to counteract the lack of shade on the trail. Originally, we had agreed to wake up super early on our last day and start the hike before it got too hot, but we had a change of plans and it turned out better than we had imagined! We hadn’t even hiked a mile out before we decided to stop and jump in the water at Havasu Falls one last time. By the time we got hiking again after our pit stop for Fry Bread (there is a stand selling this Native American treat at the top of Havasu Falls – do it) it was after 1:00 pm.
Since we were here in the beginning of November, the afternoon turned out to be a great time to start the hike out. We were in the shade for most of the hike since the sun was on its descent over the canyon walls. We also had the trail to ourselves for the most part, since everyone else had left so early in the day. This meant less awkwardness of trying to pass others on the rocky trail, and most importantly, less dust!
Tip: Take your time enjoying your last day at the falls and begin your hike out later in the afternoon in the fall or early evening in the summer. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to complete the hike before night falls; I would recommend adding an extra hour of time to the total hours it took you to hike in.
As much as I want all of you to experience the magic that you can only find in the middle of a Native American reservation in the middle of the Grand Canyon, don’t forget this requires at a minimum, a 20 mile roundtrip hike. You also will be hiking those 20 miles carrying everything you need (which isn’t much but it’s still going to be heavy) on your back. We packed light but our backpacks still weighed over 40 pounds each. You also need to respect the land, and carry out your trash!
Planning a trip to Havasupai? Don’t hesitate to reach out, I’d love to answer any questions you may have! Don’t hesitate to extend an invite either; I’m down to go back anytime (:
Happy trails and happy travels!