Backpack to Havasu Falls in the Havasupai Reservation

Arizona Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    -2000 Feet

River
Scenic
Waterfall
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Trek to an oasis of cool blue water and thundering falls deep in the Grand Canyon.

The Havasupai Reservation is a remote area just outside Grand Canyon National Park, full of blue-green water and dramatic waterfalls.  Despite being an extremely isolated location, camping in the canyon is overwhelmingly popular and reservations are required. On popular weekends you will be sharing the campgrounds with hundreds of others but shoulder seasons can bring some respite. 

The trail to Supai Village starts at Hualapai Hilltop and is downhill the entire way. There is little cover, so lots of water and an early start is recommended; the way back will be even tougher. Once you reach the village you will pick up your permits and maps, any items needed from the small market, and continue another 2 miles to the campgrounds.

After setting up camp, Havasu Falls is a short trip back up the trail and your best bet after a long day of hiking. The following day you can spend time exploring Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and the surrounding canyon down to the Colorado River; the full hike is 16 miles round-trip. After Mooney Falls the trail is much more rugged and includes multiple water crossings and some rock scrambling. If you have your camera with you I recommend waterproof protection while hiking in the deeper parts. 

Please be mindful on this trip and make sure you pack out whatever you pack in. Also please be cognizant of animal safety if you choose to use assistance on your hike in. 

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Tent
  • Water shoes or Sandles
  • Food & Water
  • Camera & Lens
  • Batteries & Memory Card
  • Sun Protection
  • Water filter
  • Headlamp
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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The animal abuse I witnessed there was horrific no waterfall is pretty enough to get rid of the terrible images that I saw. Whatever you do do not use the mules to pack your gear in. I think this place needs to stop being visited by tourists in general so that the animal abuse has no profit motive behind anymore. But if you do visit do not use the mules sto packing your gear if you can't carry your gear yourself and make the entire hike yourself do not go. The blood of these innocent horses is not worth a pretty waterfall. If you have any questions about how many hundreds of horses have died under this abuse just go to save Havasupai horses Facebook page and see for yourself.

4 months ago
4 months ago

This was an unforgettable trip for me, the whole thing from beginning to end. But you must be cautious about requesting the donkey service to bring up your belongings back to the hilltop, you run the risk of losing them. That's what happened to me and I flew home without my bag. It took 3 months of constant calling the front desk (2-3 times a week) for them to return my stuff. They did eventually with everything in tact. But I wonder what really happened that day... The ranger at the hilltop informed me that this regularly happens too. Please be aware and travel safe!

6 months ago
6 months ago

As others have said, it's really hard to articulate how mind blowing this place is. The hike in and out may be long, but it wasn't too bad. In the summer months, leave super early to avoid the head (think 3AM or so). Also, remember some cash, the tacos on town hit the spot when you get there after the hike in!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Overall the hike in and out isn't too rough, just boring until you get closer to Supai. I hiked it in the fall and the temps were reasonable in the 70s and low 80s, not so sure I would enjoy it in the summer. The campground can get pretty packed depending when you go so be prepared to share the amazing views with a few hundred other people.

10 months ago
10 months ago

Did this hike a couple years back with my family, and completely loved it. Sleeping right next to the river, and spending the hot days in the clear water made the very hot hike out at the end worth it.

11 months ago
11 months ago

One of my favorite backpacking trips to date! The hike can be difficult and hot but it's totally worth it once you arrive at the campsite. The amenities are great -- clean compost toilets, potable water source, and even a cafe and fry bread stand of you're too tired to cook every meal. The only issue now is trying to get back here again -- nearly impossible to get a cancellation / walk in permit -- you must book many months in advance!

12 months ago
12 months ago

If you're wanting to revisit Havasupai but don't have time on your calendar, pick up Edward Abby's "Desert Solitaire" and flip to his chapter on Havasu. It's an excellent read, and a great way to revisit this awesome patch of earth.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

If you're tired there's always the helicopter. ;)

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Im glad i got to experience this. It was all worth it. I do recommend staying atlas 2 days. I was only able to get one night. The water is amazing and clear.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I left a GoPro there on June 19th at hilltop trailhead. Please contact me if you find it! Also- Awesome hike! Well worth it. Definitely recommend having a mule pack your gear, at least on the way out. Also the store has a lot of food in the village if you don't want to pack it al in, and the burger place makes excellent burgers!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I really enjoyed hiking to the falls. Was well worth it.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

7 and 10 year olds with 10# packs got down in 4.5 hours and back out in 6 flat. This trip will leave lasting memories for my family, there is nothing like the water down in Supai. Rope swings at Mooney falls was a big hit too.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

We hiked the whole way in with our packs which was pretty tough. You could have your stuff brought in on a mule or just helicopter to the village but we wanted to accomplish the hike ourselves. It made every bit of the falls even more amazing. Blue water, amazing falls, and beautiful views. This is definitely a must do on your bucket list.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I just did this trip for a second time last week. The initial decent is fairly easy, and the longest part of the hike is flat. But if you backpack in, the last two miles of your hike back to the top are killer. One of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The landscape has changed a lot in the past few years, there are more falls and swimming areas than there used to be (due to flooding). The climb down to Mooney falls is exhilarating and so worth your effort!!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Get ready to park your car and head out on foot, there are no roads to the falls. It's a decent hike but there's a treasure at the end. The turquoise water and the red rock formations are so incredible. You do not want to miss an opportunity to see Havasu Falls, it's a memory that will last a lifetime.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a great hike, worthy of your bucket list. It's also fairly easy to attain. Hiking down is most definitely the best way to experience everything this adventure has to offer, but taking the 5 minute helicopter ride is ok too. There really isn't any combination of words that exist that can describe just how special this place is. It's unlike any other place in Arizona and very few places in the world can compare to the beauty that resides here. Havasupai is gaining more and more popularity, so I highly recommend planning your trip during the week, finding a free weekend to explore this area will be difficult and if you are able to get a permit, you will be with hundreds of other people. It's a completely different experience when you're sitting in the blue pools of water by yourself, hypnotized by the power of the waterfalls.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This place has it all! Open majestic desert, amazing scenery and powerful, awe-inspiring waterfalls (the Supai village is quite fun as well), and some of the best cliff jumping! I would strongly recommend the day hike, although I've personally only gone as far as Beaver Falls. Of all the backpacking adventures I've been on, this tops the list as the funnest!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

The most unexpected and breathtaking places I have ever been to. A true piece of paradise right in Arizona. Camping permits are tough to get so try to plan in advanced. About a mile and a half of switchbacks down then relatively flat the remaining 7 miles or so to the campgrounds - you pass through Havasupai Village where a tribe remains today. Spend some time at Navajo Falls and Havasu Falls, but make the journey down to Mooney Falls because it is truly unbeatable.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Hiking down to Mooney was breathtaking...partly because of the climb down the rickety, rusty ladder that twists and turns through caves and clings to the side of the canyon wall, but mostly because of it's sheer presence and magnitude. The waterfalls demands to be seen. It's both threatening and awe-inspiring. Continuing on down the canyon and you enter a world of lush green vegetation framing a calmer river of emerald and turquoise. It is a must see

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

It's a boring hike in but the reward is stunning.

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Damn that sounds fun...

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Jason HatfieldExplorer

Adventure and travel photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. I teach photography workshops and offer private guiding around the west. More at jasonjhatfield.com

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