Going to Havasupai was a goal of mine for over 4 years. Learn how to get permits and what to expect when you go here with my Havasupai Guide!
Obtaining a Permit
Permits are never fun, but they are very necessary as more and more people become interested in enjoying and hopefully preserving the beauty of the world.
The permits used to be available by calling into the office and crossing your fingers that someone would answer. The Havasupai tribe has now put all permit obtaining online: HERE at www.havasupaireservations.com and become available on February 1st at 8:00 am.
You’ll want to log on the second it goes live. My internet browser did not like whatever reservation program they were using, so I was a minute late to the game when I was finally able to pull it up on my phone…. and all permits appeared to be taken for the weekend already at this point. In disbelief, I kept scrolling through and refreshing the page. Turns out you can only have the reservations in your cart for a certain amount of time and when people didn’t commit, they would become available again in the calendar.
Be flexible with the dates. Figure out ahead of time what dates are off limits within your group. This is easier in a smaller group.
2019 Campground Reservation Pricing
ALL campground reservations are 3 Nights / 4 Days.
$100 per person per weekday night
$125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)
Planning Your Trip
Alright, so you survived the permit process – now you have to figure out how to get there and the logistics.
The two airports closest/cheapest to the trail-head are the Las Vegas Airport (4 hour drive) and the Phoenix Airport (4.5 hour drive). I suggest going with whatever is cheaper. We rented an SUV from the airport to haul our backpacks to the trail-head.
The road to the trail-head is a long dirt road. AWD/high clearance is not necessary to get to the trail-head. We just wanted a decent sized car since there were 4 of us and 4 large backpacks.
I would suggest flying in earlier in the morning/afternoon the day before you hike in. For departure, I recommend booking your flight out for either late night on the day you hike out or booking for the next morning.
I recommend sleeping at the trail-head. There is a large parking lot with bathrooms and spots along the road if the parking lot is full. We were able to pitch our tents in a small space next to our car.
The Hike In
Our alarms went off at 4:00 am. We packed up our stuff and hit the trail around 5:00 am to try to beat some of the heat and to have first dibs of some of the camp spots opening up. We were definitely not the only ones with this idea.
The hike in, according to AllTrails, is 14.5 miles to the village of Supai, and then another 2 miles to the campground. Luckily, on the way in – it’s all down hill (2,155 ft). Only the first 2 miles or so have elevation change, then it remains flat for the remaining trail into the village.
Once you make it to the village, stop and check in at the permit office. (If you are leaving really early to get in, check out the hours of the office to make sure they will be open when you arrive). I believe it opened up at 7 or 8 while we were there in May.
There is spotty cell service at the village, along with a small grocery store. There is a cafe/lunch spot a mile before you get into the village (we went back here for tacos since we did not have any cash to go to the closer vendors near the campground)
We weren’t sure what to expect. When we walked in to the campground it just seemed like chaos and that there weren’t any spots. The campground spreads across about a mile with the Havasu creek on one side and the canyon wall on the other side. We were some of the first people to get into the campground on Friday. Some people were packing up to leave and others were packing up to find a better camping spot. It’s aggressive.
We were eventually told that there is no personal space while camping here and you just have to decide what neighbors to move in on and that it will only get worse as the day goes on.Eventually, we found a rather secluded spot on an “island” on the river that had one other tent. We felt bad for intruding on this other camper’s space, but we watched as all the empty space filled in by the end of the day.
There were trees scattered around that provide shade and a decent hammock hang. There are 3 sets of pit toilets throughout the campground and a water spout for drinking water near the beginning of the campground. We were positioned right in the middle of the campground and stayed at the same spot all 3 nights.
We decided to “see it all” and really wore ourselves out with this itinerary. I’m not sure I necessarily recommend this, but this is what we did:
- Hike in (5am-9:30)
- Set up Camp
- Hike to Mooney Falls (hung out in the water, read, snacked)
- Relaxed at Havasu Falls
- Slept in until 8-9
- Havasu Falls
- 50 ft falls
- Old Navajo Falls (hung out in shallow pools near a waterfall)
- Tacos on fry bread outside of village (3 miles there and 3 miles back to campground – just bring cash so you can get tacos from the vendors instead)
- Mooney Falls (again, because it’s so stunning)
- 5am wake up for hiking to the Confluence (where the Havasu Creek and Colorado River meet)
- 11.7 miles there, 11.7 back, 2700 ft elevation, multiple (12) river crossings, lots of sun (bring a water filter)
- The terrain changed so many times and had some fun obstacles (ladders, ropes, bouldering)
- Beaver Falls on the way back (you can jump in the water from a cliff!)
- Dead in bed
- 4 am wake up
- Packed up
- Hiked out
** There is a helicopter option (we originally intended to do this) – some things you should know about this option:
- $85 per person
- 10-12 people per ride
- less than 10 minute flight
- ** Flights do not begin until 10 am and priority is given to Havasupai tribe. People begin lining up at 5 am for the first come first serve rides.
- Ultimately we decided to save the money and hike out. We ended up getting to our cars before the first helicopter ride started.
*** Pack Mule Option: I’m always a little cautious of animal services as often the animals are overworked, but I’m not here to tell anyone what you should and shouldn’t do. We did not use this service, but I know others that have and they had a good experience!
Rates: (**Check website to make sure on the rates)
Round Trip: Hilltop to Camp & Back is $187
One Way – to Camp or from Camp $95
One Way Out: Arrangements can be made in person through the office at least a day prior to your departure date.
Havasu Fall Day Tour – from Lodge to Falls $60
Round Trip – Hilltop to Lodge $120
One Way – Hilltop to Lodge $70
- Swimsuit (2) – Was nice to have another swimsuit to put on if the other was still wet
- Puffy Jacket or warm fleece for evenings/mornings
- Trail Runners/Hiking boots (I decided to go with trail runners because of the temperatures and river crossings. I left my runners on when crossing rivers and water was able to escape, where boots would trap the water)
- Tent, sleeping bag, pillow, hammock
- Jetboil or backpacking stove
- Enough food for the trip (I eat oatmeal for breakfast, snack for lunch and then a dehydrated meal for dinner)
- Water filter (for confluence hike)
- Small flash backpack for day hikes
- Head lamp
- 1 pair of long hiking pants for cool mornings/evenings
- 2 pairs of shorts
- I did not need bug spray
- Camp shoes/sandals
- First Aid kit! (Blisters were a theme for us)
** make sure you pack out your trash
Let me know if you have any questions!!