Havasupai Falls is one of those places that you must see in your lifetime. It takes a bit of time and planning to get there, but it’s SO worth it! Here’s an ultimate list of do’s and don’ts for planning your trip to Havasupai Falls Arizona!
Let me introduce you to my brother and sister-in-law, Jeff and Jess! They live in Arizona and have 6 kids between them. They work hard and play hard—usually with the beautiful state of Arizona as their playground! You can find them on the 4-wheeling trails of Munds Park, running the ultimate marathon across the Grand Canyon, boating all over the state, or at Havasupai Falls!
Jeff and Jess recently hiked to Havasupai Falls and are sharing all of their tips and Do’s and Don’ts with FFF today. Be on the lookout for more posts from Jeff and Jess in the future!
Havasupai Falls Arizona
“This Isn’t Even Real!
These were the words of our 12-year-old son as we turned the corner and saw Havasu Falls for the first time. My wife and I were a few feet behind him and couldn’t see the falls yet. But after a long 10-mile hike to that point, we knew this trip was a “Once in a Lifetime” trip and was going to be totally worth all the work that got us to this point.
In this day and age of kids being plugged in all the time, our hope and dream were to get our 13 & 12-year-old sons, 10-year-old daughter, and 15-year-old nephew to disconnect and build lasting family bonds in one of the most amazing places on this beautiful planet…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! And so much more.
We compiled a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” to help anyone tackling a similar venture.
Havasupai Falls, Arizona – The Do’s:
- Do – make reservations on the day…no make that, the exact minute they open up for the following year. You make your reservation and get your Havasupai Falls permit through the Havasupai Tribe website. This year the reservations opened on February 1, 2018, at 8:00 AM. I got on the website at exactly 8:00 AM but was unable to get through until about 8:05 AM. I went directly to reservations and looked for my first-choice dates. They were already sold out! I searched my second dates and they were open, and I was done with the entire process by 8:15 AM. Later, I heard rumors that they sold out for the entire year in the first 30 minutes. I cannot confirm this, however, I do not doubt it either.
- Do – Train for the hike. Make sure your body and minds are ready for the hike. We got the kids out on the trails and looked for hikes with hills to get them ready. We didn’t get out there as much as we wanted to but it is important to prepare as much as possible.
- Do – Stop for ice cream or a cold drink in the village on the hike down into the valley. It was a refreshing treat and will be the last cold thing you have for a few days!
- Do – Try to make your reservations for the max time allowed—3 nights and 4 days. You will need that time in order to experience all Havasupai has to offer.
- Do – Go to church if you are there on Sunday. There are two buildings in a beautiful location that make worship a great experience.
- Do – Plan ahead as much as possible. We found the “Havasupai and Havasu Falls” Facebook Page very helpful for what to expect while you are down in the canyon.
- Do – Buy all your food, supplies, and gadgets well beforehand and test them out or be very familiar with them. Especially things like camp burners, GoPro cameras, solar chargers, etc.
- Do – If going in the summer months, hike at the coolest times possible. That means start early and try to reach the campground before lunchtime. It gets hot and you want to be able to play in the water rather than spend the afternoon on a hot dusty trail.
- Do – Check the weather for temperatures and monsoons while you will be there. We found the weather app to be a few degrees off. It said it would be warmer than it was. We have also heard of flash flooding which can be very dangerous. We were glad our reservations were in mid-June before the monsoon season started because just a few weeks after our trip the campground had to be evacuated because of flash flooding.
- Do – Stash water at the bottom of the switchbacks after the first 2 miles down so you don’t have to carry ALL of your water on the entire 10-mile hike down and 10-mile hike back up. We found a crevice in the rocks, stashed the water and then covered it up with more rocks. Also, you should figure to carry at least 3 liters per person for the hikes.
- Do – Consider using the Mules to take your large packs down and up. With the kids and especially a 10-year-old daughter, my number one concern was water on the trail. On the way down, the first 8 miles of the hike there is no water, only what you bring with you. Same on the last 8 miles out…no water. The mules were about $66 dollars per bag on a round trip. Well worth it for my peace of mind since all we had to carry was water, snacks, and our bathing suits.
- D0 – Bring biodegradable toilet paper for the hike down.
- Do – Try to pick a campsite closer to the creek. It feels a few degrees cooler.
- Do – Take some sort of energy chews, gu’s or bars for the hike. A nice “pick me up” is all you need sometimes. Even some candy went a long way with the kids.
- Do – Watch out for scorpions. Our campsite neighbors had one in their tent and got stung. The last night we slept on the ground, wanting to pack up the tents and head out early and having slept mostly out of the tents because they were too hot. Unfortunately, my son got stung. On the plus side, Arizona scorpions are not too dangerous, “just” painful. We gave him ibuprofen for the pain and an antihistamine in case he was allergic. Then he just had to deal with the pain for the next few hours (which he did like a champ) and then he was fine.
- Do – Take precautions against the squirrels. They will chew through your bags to get to your food. Use zip lock bags and keep everything put away and cleaned up.
- Do – Take a GoPro camera with you. Our kids loved filming and we have loved seeing their footage in the past few days. They got really creative with what they could film and how they could film it.
Havasupai Falls, Arizona – The Don’ts:
- Don’t – Hit any animals driving on the road to the trailhead. There are lots of cows, deer, elk and even javelina.
- Don’t – Park right next to a cliff. You can see many fallen rocks. How bad would it be to come up from the long hike and have a smashed windshield? We parked a little further away from the trailhead but it was worth the peace of mind.
- Don’t – Leave without testing your gear first. Make sure it fits in the right places and the weight is where you want it to be.
- Don’t – Miss the opportunity to send a postcard from the village to your loved ones as soon as you come into the village. Remember the campground is a 2-mile hike downhill from the village. You most likely will not want to walk that 2 miles uphill to mail those postcards. On your way out it will be too early and the post office will not be open.
- Don’t – Bring a sleeping bag or a tent. You read that right. If you are going down in the summer months you won’t need them. We found a hammock and a blanket and sheet to be all the comfort we needed.
- Don’t – Miss an opportunity to meet new people from all around the country and world. There are so many interesting people and stories to hear.
- Don’t – Pack too much propane for cooking. We used 1 and a half medium cans of propane for 6 people for 3 ½ days…and we packed 4 canisters. Learn from our mistake and save some room in your packs!
- Don’t – Worry about the descent on the hike to Mooney Falls. It is a bit un-nerving however very doable and well worth it to see Mooney and eventually 2-3 miles down, Beaver Falls. If heights aren’t your thing, just take it slow and you will make it down. Again it is well worth it.
- Don’t – Miss the turn off on the trail to Beaver Falls. We almost missed it and continued on the trail that goes another 6 miles or so to where Havasu Creek and the Colorado River meet. I hear it’s a cool sight but we were not ready to hike that much more.
- Don’t – Pass on the Indian Fry bread. It’s delicious and worth the somewhat inflated prices. The fry bread stands are not always open, but when you pass by and they are, we recommend taking advantage of them.
- Don’t – Underestimate blisters. They will slow you down. Use what works best for you but we like thick socks maybe even wool socks and moleskin.
- Don’t – Miss out on all the natural springs. If collected at its exit point, water coming right out of the rocks is filtered through the rock and clean and delicious to drink. There is one spring on the road from the village to the campground, one in a small cave next to Havasu Falls, and one in the campground.
- Don’t – Forget to bring flip-flops for around camp. It’s nice to give your feet a break from water shoes and hiking boots.
- Don’t – Pack too much clothing, you will be in your bathing suits most of the time.
- Don’t miss out on using the environmentally friendly composting toilets equipped with hand sanitizer.
Well, that pretty much covers it! If you have any questions, please post them below and Jeff and Jess will answer them for you.