Havasu Falls is incredibly famous. Most people have heard that it is in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but don’t know much more about it. Many people want to visit the waterfalls every year and don’t know where to start planning their trip. Start here. This is a basic outline of everything you need to know to see Havasu Falls, with links to helpful planning resources.
Havasu Falls is not in Grand Canyon National Park, it is on an Indian reservation near the National Park. This means you cannot expect to add a visit to the waterfalls onto your trip at the last minute. You must plan in advance.
There are no roads to the waterfalls only a difficult 10 mile hike in each direction.
The hike begins on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, a 4-5 hour drive from either Phoenix or Las Vegas.
The Havasupai tribe control access to Havasu Falls and the other nearby waterfalls. They require that you stay overnight in the canyon on your visit. You must reserve a permit to hike into the canyon. The permits are very difficult to get and sell out months in advance (Read more in #3).
This is the Grand Canyon. It is very remote wilderness. You must have the proper hiking and camping equipment to visit this place safely. Summers are very very hot, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (38 C). In July and August monsoon storms and flash floods are common. Check the weather well in advance.
Read our blog about the trail to Havasupai.
The hike to Havasu Falls Havasupai is 10 miles in each direction. It is rocky and sandy with very little shade. The hike to the falls is all downhill, which means that the hike back out to your car will be all uphill and is quite difficult.
Train in advance. If you are not prepared for the hike, you will be sore and tired while you are at the falls and you will not enjoy exploring the area. Before going to Havasupai, you should feel certain that you are capable of hiking at least 20 miles during your trip.
Havasu Falls is on tribal land that belongs to the Havasupai Indian Tribe. The Havasupai Indians require that all visitors reserve a permit in advance.
Permits are in high demand because the waterfalls are so popular. You must reserve your permits on February 1 when the permit reservation period opens up or they will all be sold out for the entire year. You can reserve online.
The Havasupai Tribe require that all visitors stay overnight in the canyon and as of 2019 they are requiring a minimum stay of 3 nights on each reservation. This is for your own safety due to the nature of the challenging 10 mile hike each direction. No day hiking is allowed.
It is easy to spend 3 or more nights at Havasu Falls and exploring Havasu Canyon. There is a lot to see and do in the canyon. If you visit for only one night you will not have the chance to see much. You will take most of the day hiking to the waterfalls and will be too tired to explore when you arrive, then the next day you will have to leave.
Most people camp in the Havasu Falls campground. You will need to bring all of your own equipment to stay here and you will need to carry that equipment with you while hiking. The tribe does offer the option to hire a pack horse to carry some equipment for an added fee, but it is best to prepare to carry your own equipment and food.
There is a Lodge/hotel that some people stay at in the canyon. It is in the village of Supai, Arizona which is about 2 miles away from Havasu Falls. You will pass through Supai on your hike to the waterfalls. The lodge is very basic, does not have many rooms, and offers no food.
The Havasupai Indian Reservation is a very remote wilderness area. Be prepared that during your visit you will not have access to flushing toilets, running water, shops, hospitals, or other things you depend on in day to day life. Carry first aid with you and know what to do in the event of an emergency.
You will need to carry all of your food into the canyon and carry all of your trash out of the canyon.
The Havasupai tribe that lives in the canyon is isolated from the rest of the world but they are very proud of their canyon home. Take some time to learn about the Havasupai people.
Outfitted self-guided trips are one way to visit Havasu Falls. You will need to get your own permits then you can rent all of the gear and food you need and receive a detailed guidebook explaining the ins and outs of the canyon.