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10 Tips for a Successful Havasupai Trip

You finally nabbed a highly coveted lottery ticket to Havasupai, a mystical, other-worldly mecca of turquoise waterfalls. Your reservation is secured, you’ve created a checklist, and laced your hiking boots. You’re nearly ready for an epic adventure of a lifetime, but first you want to ensure you’re fully prepared for what is yet to come. 

You’ve likely ended up here in hopes of gaining insider knowledge on how to best prepare for your upcoming Havasupai trip. Luckily, I’ve been to Havasupai a time or two and can confidently share with you my tricks and tips to making the most out of your time at this incredible destination.

  1. Make a Reservation – Unfortunately, the hike to the Havasupai Indian Reservation is not one you can do at your own leisure. The waterfalls of Havasupai are on tribal land outside of the Grand Canyon National Park’s jurisdiction, and therefore you must preselect the date you’d wish to hike well in advance. You can do so by calling the Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121.

  2. Be Open to Multiple Dates – Due to the increasing popularity of this destination, it is unlikely you will get to hike here on the exact day you desire. Instead, you must be open to multiple different days throughout the year. For better chances of obtaining your dates of choice, try to reserve your spot as soon as reservations open in the beginning of the year.

  3. Consider the Weather – The weather you’ll experience at Havasupai can be unpredictable. In summer, temperatures can soar as high as 80 degrees by 9am. In early September, you may be hit with torrential downpour during monsoon season. It’s best to check the weather prior to your trip and up until your trip to pack appropriately and plan your hike-in/hike-out times.

  4. Bring Waterproof Supplies – It’s no secret that the main draw to Havasupai is the other-worldly water that flows through the reservation. You’ll likely want to get in the water at some point. I’d advise bringing a waterproof camera case and waterproof shoes to ensure your technology and feet stay protected.

  5. Prepare for No Wi-Fi – Internet connectivity is spotty at best near the campgrounds, and nearly non-existent on your hike into the Supai Village. While there is Wi-Fi available once you reach the main village, you will quickly lose it as you hike the additional two miles to the campground. Prepare for a few days of limited cell phone service and let your loved ones know this in advance.

  6. Bring Garbage Bags – It’s important to remember that you are visiting protected land on your trip to Havasupai. The Havasupai people work diligently to keep the area clean, however it is your responsibility to pack out what you pack in. Bring garbage bags and clean up after yourself to keep this area well-preserved for future generations.

  7. Train Beforehand – While the hike to Havasupai isn’t incredibly long, it can be taxing from the heat as well as your pack weight. If you’ve never done an overnight backpacking trip, you likely aren’t used to carrying a heavy pack on your back while hiking. To avoid feeling unprepared, train for this hike beforehand. Wear a weighted pack on shorter trails, slowly working your way up in mileage to build your endurance.

  8. Bring Plenty of Water – A ten-mile hike, no matter how seasoned of a hiker you are, is no easy feat. Combine ten miles and hiking in the blistering hot sun and you have a recipe for potential disaster. Stay hydrated by bringing plenty of electrolyte drinks and water to get you eight miles to the village. There you can restock your supplies, but until then, stay safe.

  9. Get a Good Night of Sleep – Prior to hiking, make sure you get a good night of sleep. There are hotel options about an hour away from the Hualapai Hilltop, or you may also camp out at the Hualapai Hilltop the night before. Either way, make sure you’re well rested to fully enjoy your hike.

  10. Check Out All 5 Waterfalls – Most people are aware of the iconic Havasu Falls. However, the other four waterfalls found in the area deserve equal attention. Be sure to check out Lower and Upper Navajo Falls on your way to the campground as well as Mooney and Beaver Falls just past the campground area.

Now that you have enough knowledge under your belt to prepare for your upcoming trip, it’s time to get to planning! By following the aforementioned tips, hopefully your trip will be a safe and memorable one you can look back on with joy for years to come.

Chelsea Alves is the founder and creator of Sun Kissed Hiker, an outdoor adventure blog that features useful outdoor tips and highlights a new hiking destination each week. While she is based in San Diego, her adventures take her far beyond California, inspiring you to get out there and explore all the natural wonders this world has to offer.