Hiking to Supai and Havasu Falls

Supai is a small indigenous village in the middle of the Havasu Canyon.  The town itself, likely doesn’t have anything that will blow you away, but the sheer setting is unbelievable.  Just beyond the town of Supai sits the incredible Havasu Falls and a number of other falls such as Mooney and Navajo Falls.  The reason that Supai is significant is because you require the permission of the people here to visit their lands, which the falls flow through.  Moreover, this is your only outlet.  There are no roads to Supai, but there are mules that make the trek.  You will also be able to find food and drink at the local grocery store.  However, I would highly recommend that you pack everything in, and out, yourself.

The Trailhead

Things to Do

You wont be struggling to find things to see during the daytime.  This is one of the most beautiful places on earth and you will be rewarded by not only by great waterfalls but also some impressive canyon and if you’re lucky even some wildlife like great birds, snakes, and maybe some coyotes and roadrunners. The waterfalls are all found just below the the village of Supai.  The farthest fall is Beaver Falls although most people just stick to visiting the ones closer by which include the famous Havasu Falls, and the one I think is more impressive which is Mooney Falls.

The First Falls

Time to Visit

  • Water levels: Most people want to visit because of the falls and are obviously worried about the water levels. The good news is that these falls are spring fed so there will always be water.  The only thing that might mix up your plans is if these falls become murky due to spring runoff.
  • Temperature: The canyon swings wildly between hot and cold.  If you’re here in the summer months be prepared for temperatures around 40+ degrees (100F) in the day time.  It can be dangerous hiking in the daytime here that time of year.  On the other end of the spectrum, in the winter time the canyon can be downright freezing in the shade and at night.  The temperatures easily drop to about -7 degress (20F) in those months.  However, if you can bear the cold at night you’ll be better off going this time of year as the crowds are thinner and the temperatures for hiking are easier

Havasu Falls

Getting to Supai from the Trailhead

Although you can visit by helicopter if you have some serious cash, most people come here via the 16km trail to Supai.

  • Mule: You can hire someone from the trailhead to take you to Supai on the back of a mule, and a lot of people that visit in the hot summer months choose this option.  Don’t be surprised if you’re a part of a mule train delivering goods to town.  This is one of the last places in America where mail is still delivered by mule.
  • Hiking: The hike to Supai isn’t rigourous and anyone can do it.  After a steep decline into the canyon it is fairly flat the rest of the way.  What will get you is the heat.  If you’re around in the summer hike only in the early morning and in the evening.  Be sure to pack lots of water, you’ll need it.  Most people do this trip in two days, one in and one out, however some people do the circuit in a day.  I do think you’ll enjoy it much more if you take two days.

The creek next to the campground

Where to Sleep

There really are only two options: the lodge and camping.  The lodge’s price ranges greatly depending on the time of year, but it’s best to try and book online if you can (warning, my emails went unanswered).  I camped even though it was the dead of winter.  The campground is massive and although I was the only one there when I was in Supai, I’m sure that in the summer it gets really busy.  The campground only costs $25 to stay at but be prepared to be hit with daily “park” fees as well which are quite high.  I paid about $60 for my two days in the canyon.

Related Articles

Photos of Havasu Falls and Havasu Canyon

More Advice?

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  1. Brandon I was searching the web for hiking information that I am not use to seeing when I ran across your hiking blog. I run a community site and am always looking for different things to write about related to hiking etc. Reading up on your hike around Supai was interesting, Thanks

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    • Hi! I’m thinking of going this January. Did you have to cross any rivers? I’m worried it’ll be too cold if I have to get wet.

      Also, none of your pictures are displaying for this article (i’m on google chrome).

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Maggie,

        There are no rivers to cross that don’t have some sort of bridge. I did it in December and my feet didn’t touch water… you’ll have no problem. Yeah, working on the photos now, but if you’re looking for some teasers there’s some from me in this set in Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51937301@N03/sets/72157635787724765/

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  2. Hello Brendan.. My husband and I are planning to hike down to Havasu Falls during Christmas this year. We are novices, and are doing such a trip for the first time. I have a few concerns like, will there be snow and ice on the hike down? If so it will probably be more dangerous..? Do you see crowds there during Christmas time?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi,
      Shouldn’t have snow or ice. It’s hot as hell in the day and extremely cold at night so be prepared for the extremes. When I was there there was only 2 other tourists. There is, of course, the village. It’s not more dangerous. If anything it’s safer as the temperatures aren’t as hot. Just make sure you have more nigh clothing than you think you need.
      Have fun, Havasu Canyon is unreal!

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  3. I’m planning a trip there with some friends in early March, some websites say the water is 70 degrees year round. Would this time of year be too cold to go swimming? We can handle some brisk waters, but also don’t want hypothermia.

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    • You’ll be fine. The water is really warm! We were there in January and the water at Havasu Falls was warmer than the air. Just be sure to get out of the water and have a way to dry off. I don’t think there’s any danger of hypothermia unless you’re doing a night swim and don’t have any dry clothing.

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  4. Brendan,

    I am trying to call Havasupai for a camping permit for this month February 2016. However, I am having a difficult time getting through. I’ve been calling for 3 days straight since February 1st (the day they told me they would start selling camping permits). Do you know how busy it is during February? I really don’t want to show up without a permit because it is their policy. However, I have some hope that the crowds might be less and there might be a spot for me.

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    • They actually don’t need reservations in the wintertime, you just show up. I was there in January each time and both times I was the only one camping. You’ll have no problem getting a camping spot, none at all. Havasupai might be a bit more busy on weekends, but still, don’t expect more than 5-6 tourists down there in February.

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  5. Hi do you know if the lodge is open on Dec 25th? Also I was wondering how long it took you to hike out? We are not in extreme physical shape but enjoy hiking.
    Appreciate the blog.

    Post a Reply
    • I believe it is, but I can’t say for sure.
      I’m in decent shape and it took me about 4 hours. I was going fairly slow and stopping lots to photography things. I think even if you’re not in good shape, you can do it around that time.

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  6. Hi, I am planning a day trip in March, but I am traveling from South Carolina, will I have an issue getting entrance permits to hike? I already know that camping permits are all booked up

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    • How do you know camping permits are booked up? Generally, they don’t even let people book camping in advance those months, it’s just first come first serve. And, you can always get hiking permits, no matter how busy it is. You just buy them at the office in Supai when you arrive.

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  7. Hi Brendan, I’m researching about Supai and Havasu and came across your blog. Thank you and very helpful! I live overseas. I plan a 2-day trip there in late December 2016. Hike in, mule out. I don’t want to stay in a camp so would prefer the lodge. It seems like contacting the lodge is difficult? Should I just walk in? (December would be quiet right?) How nice is it?

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    • Please answer this, Brendan.

      I remember making reservations for the lodging back in 2014. I plan on camping there in early December 2016, and not sure if things changed since. I could purchases the visitors permit once I hit the town, correct

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      • If you’re just camping, yes. There’s a tourist office in Supai. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve just rocked up, paid my permit and camping and moved in. Easy.

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  8. Hey Brendan,

    Nice blog and photos from Havasu. I called them recently because I want to go in January, Like you did. However, they said it is closed until 3/1. Did you hear the same thing when you went? Did you just show up, and there was no issue? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, MAx

    Post a Reply
    • Maybe the lodge is closed? I’ve not heard that. Mid-winter, I just showed up each time and there was not a problem at all.

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    • Just called for Dec 5-6 and lady informed me is closed until 3/1 as well. Bummer

      Post a Reply

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