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).

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      • 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?

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    • 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

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    • 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

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      • I called about a week or two ago and let the phone ring about 20 times until they answered. I am staying December 28&29th and they didn’t say anything about being closed. I will be staying in the lodge. Maybe try again? I should also call again and verify because I’m not planning on bringing camping gear. I hope it’s not closed!!

        Thanks for all the info Brendan. Do you know if there are any Hot Springs in Supai?

        Post a Reply
        • Good luck Jen, I might be in at the same time. But, I’ll be camping. Good luck!
          I don’t know of any, but the water at Havasu Falls is so warm you can swim even if it’s cold out. It’s pretty amazing!

          Post a Reply
      • I have mine booked from January 27-29. When I saw the comment you posted, I quickly called the Lodge Office and inquired if they are closed. I’ve also read some reviews that the Havasu Falls trails are closed from December to February.

        Just to make sure, I called the Lodge to confirm but said that seems to be unlikely. She even mentioned the fact I was able to reserve rooms, it is open.

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        • Yup, I called the lodge last week. She said everything is always open, all the time. These rumours are strange.

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  9. Hi there. I have a little trouble hiking on sheer rock because of the height and no ground beside it (Angel’s Landing, Utah for example). Would you say the first mile of Havasu is similar? Thanks.

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    • Nope, it’s not scary at all. The switch backs at the start of the trail have a bit of height to them, but nothing at all compared to Angel’s Landing. I think you’d be fine.

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  10. So this Thursday, if I wanted to rock up to the trail head with my backpack and my gear and hike into Supai, set up camp at the campsite and sleep, take a day hike the next day, sleep another night, and then hike back out to my car at the trail head do I just pay for my hiking permit and camping when I arrive in Supai on day 1? Do I need to book anything ahead? Also, what are the conditions on the trail? Is there snow on the ground? Is there water along the trail, I brought my water filter. Appreciate your post! I’m from out of town and trying to plan this has been an odd struggle.

    Post a Reply
    • You are correct. That’s it. There might be snow on the ground in the shadows, and the trail can be muddy if it’s been rainy. It’s a slot canyon, so all the rain gathers there. If it’s been rainy, you also need to check flash flood warnings.

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  11. I am planning a trip januaray 7th aND I called to make reservations and they said that they are closed for the winter. Are you not allowed to hike in and camp during these times? I’ve read a bunch of people that say they did it during the winter but the website says closed and I would like to know before I make the journey from oregon.

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    • They aren’t closed. I’m not sure who is spreading this misinformation. Even the lodge is taking bookings. It’s open, hike in. It’s not like there’s a gate or anything even if they’re closed.

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  12. Hi Brandon. My friend and I are planning to go to Havasu Falls may be late of March. Do u think this time is good to go there? We r planning to stay for three nights.
    Looking for to hear from u.

    Post a Reply
    • Yup, great time. Although, as long as it’s not on a long weekend. I’m not sure there’s a bad time to go to Havasu 😀

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  13. Hi Brendan! I’m planning to go to Havasupai falls on August.
    I’m thinking to hike from Hilltop to the falls early in the morning, visit falls and then stay one night at Havasupai Lodge. The next day I’m coming back to Hilltop.
    Do you know the price for riding on horses/mules (one way)?
    And at what time is there the last run from Supai Village to Hilltop?
    Does it need to book mule/horse?
    Does it need to pay the entrance permit fee and the environmental care fee before the trip (where?) or at Supai Village?
    Can you tell me the average temperatures during the day in August, so I can plan if it is better hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon?
    Thank you very much!

    Does it need to get a special permit for this trip?
    Thank you very much!

    Post a Reply
  14. I am hiking in late Sunday night around 9pm, and I am starting alone and meeting my group at the campground. What are the odds I find a random group to hike with at night? Also, how does the checkin for the campground work? can my group check in for me? they will get there early sunday morning…

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  15. Hi Brendan,
    I was looking for informations about Havasupai and found your website, your pictures are so beautiful!! 🙂
    I’m considering going there on the winter time as you, avoiding the summer heat and crowd, and spend two nights there. You were there in december/january earlier this year, right? Was it necessary to call them to reserve ahead or did you just hike and show up with your camping gear? What about the lodge, do you think it can get full booked at that time of the year?
    Thank you very much in advance for your reply, best wishes

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  16. Hi Brendan,

    I just called the lodge to book a room for the beginning of January 2018. She told me they were closed, I asked why, and she replied “is there a law or something”. Should I continue to call the lodge and try to book? You mentioned there’s no gate, so can we still make it to the Falls? We will get stopped by anyone? Also, what permits will I need? A hiking permit? Do I need a permit from the Reservation or is this the hiking permit? Can I camp at the Falls without making a reservation?

    Thank you!!

    Post a Reply
    • Haha, customer service isn’t there forte. Even if the lodge is closed, you can get there. Just walk into Supai, stop at the office to pay your visitor’s fee, and then keep going. It’s dead quiet that time of year. You can camp without an issue.

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  17. Hey we are thinking about going at the end of this month. I just ran across this blog. I’m wondering how much you had to pay to get in? I saw something that said 10 and something that said 50. We are going with 4 of us that are all pretty experienced hikers. We were planning to do the whole thing in one day. Do you think it’s possible? Do you still have to pay a camping fee if you’re just doing one day?

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  18. Hello Brendan, do you think I can hike in and out at the same day without paying any fees on January 2018? Thank you for your help!

    Post a Reply

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