Havasu Falls is a remarkable waterfall in the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona USA, within the Grand Canyon National Park. Vibrant blue water, contrasted with striking red rocks provides the canyon with an aura of ethereal beauty. A wide sandy beach and a plethora of shady cottonwood trees create the perfect spot for relaxation. The Havasupai tribe, who look after the reservation, have an intimate connection with both the water and land. The water is said to flow not only over the land, but through every member of the tribe.
History of Havasu Falls
The Havasu Falls have been in a constant state of change for the past hundred or so years. Rewind 100 years and the falls were totally unrecognisable. Water tumbled down the cliff in a 200ft (61m) curtain, rather than the single spout we are familiar with today. The most recent change came with the 2008 flood, where part of the current veil detached, resulting in the water now flowing out of only one side of the notch.
Interesting facts about Havasu Falls
‘Havasupai’ means people of the blue-green waters.
The stunning turquoise blue water at Havasu Falls is a result of dissolved calcium carbonate and magnesium that naturally occurs in Havasu Creek.
It’s possible to swim behind Havasu Falls, where you can enter a small rock shelter.
Havasu Falls was originally known as Bridal Veil Falls, before a flash flood roared through the canyon, changing the Falls appearance forever.
How to get to Havasu Falls
There are a number of ways to get to Havasu Falls. For active bodies, hiking is an option. The path to Supai starts at Hualapai Hilltop, and leads you 10 miles down a trail that can be considered moderate in difficulty. Note that there are no services at Hualapai Hilltop – in fact, the nearest services are 106km (66mi) away in Peach Springs. All visitors entering the Havasupai Indian Reservation must pay a non-negotiable entrance fee of $35 per person (before tax).
A popular alternative to hiking is to take a guided horseback ride into the canyon from Hualapai Hilltop. This is clearly a more expensive option in comparison to hiking, but it takes far less effort and can allow you to truly experience the canyon like a native. Finally, for the extravagant among us, Supai is serviced by Airwest Helicopters of Arizona. Once in Supai, it’s only a short, easy hike to the falls.
Top safety tips
Stay hydrated. There’s no drinking water along the trail, so be sure to bring plenty of water. A minimum of 2 litres is advisable.
Do not wear headphones. You definitely don’t want to be ignorant to the possibility of a mule pack train coming up on your rear.
Avoid hiking in the middle of the day. The midday heat during summer can become unbearable – you do not want to be caught hiking in temperatures topping 100 degrees.
Where to stay near Havasu Falls
If you’re looking to stay overnight at Havasu Falls, there are a few options available to you. For those looking for budget accommodation, there is a campground 16 km (10mi) from the trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop, and 3.2km (2mi) from Supai, which caters for up to 250 people. Thankfully, drinking water is available when you reach the campsite.
However, if you’re looking for more luxurious lodgings, then you could opt to stay at the Havasupai Lodge in Supai, 13km (8mi) from the trailhead. With only 24 double rooms, be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Guided Tours of Havasu Falls
If you enjoy guided tours, there are a number of companies offering trips to Havasu Falls. We recommend Wildland Trekking, who are highly rated on TripAdvisor, and take care of everything from meals to pack mules that will transport all of your gear in and out of the Canyon. Tours are often a good idea for those who are interested in learning more about the history of the region.
Best time to visit Havasu Falls
The best time to visit Havasu Falls depends on your priorities. If you want to swim in the stunning turquoise waters of Havasu Falls, then you should visit during either May/June or September/October, when the water is at a pleasant temperature. If you are looking to hike, then conditions are best in the earlier spring and later fall, though the water at this time of year will be cold enough to send a shiver down your spine. Finally, in the midst of summer, the hot temperature will heat the water to provide fantastic bathing opportunities, but also results in hiking conditions that are far from ideal.