Years ago, I came across a photo of a breath taking, aqua blue waterfall. I put it on my bucket list of places I NEEDED to go. This was Havasuapi Falls.
It’s located in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The falls are on the Havasupai Indian reservation, so they only allow so much foot traffic during the season.
On Feb 1st of each year, they open up the reservations page to reserve the time you’d like to have there. Max time spent there is 4 days, 3 nights. Set an alarm, because the whole season was booked within an hour of opening last year! They open at 7 am (MST) So you have to be on it to get the dates you’d like! Here is a chart for pricing:
When you make your reservation, only the names of the people listed are who can go. There are NO refunds, and NO name changes. So plan accordingly and don’t go breaking up with your significant other right before. 😉
I wanna talk about directions getting there, because GPS does not get you right to the trailhead.
I flew in from LA to Las Vegas. Rented a car and drove to the trail head. I think it was about a 5 hour drive there. Anywhere online will tell you it’s 3.5. I drove during the night, which required slower driving because of impaired vision, so that probably plays into it. Once you hit Indian Road 18, it’s PITCH black, no lights whatsoever, no cell phone service, and TONS of wild animals in the road. (Deer, elk, raccoons, foxes, wild boar, etc). Here are the instructions from Las Vegas:
-Take US-93 South from Las Vegas and follow that for 102 miles.
– At Kingman, merge onto I-40 E/ US-93 S towards Flagstaff/ Phoenix and stay on that for 4 miles.
– Exit on Andy Devine Ave. (Exit 53) towards AZ-66 E/ Kingman Airport.
– Turn left onto US-93 Bus S (E Andy Devine Ave) and continue to follow E Andy Devine Ave.
– E Andy Devine Ave eventually becomes E highway 66/ AZ-66. Follow this for approx 50 miles. Watch for Indian Road 18 on your left. If you reach Grand Canyon Caverns Inn (on your right) You’ve driven past Indian Road 18. It’s recommended if you require a roof over your head, that you stay at Grand Canyon Cavern, as it’s the closest lodging to the trail head (60 miles).
– Follow Indian Road 18 for 60 miles. The road will end at Hilltop. (the trailhead).
I trusted my GPS to get there, but it ended me about 40 miles in on the highway. Luckily I had remembered reading somewhere that it was 60 miles in. I can’t stress it enough to drive slow on the way in if you’re driving at night.
I drove in at night and slept in my car at trailhead. This makes it so much easier to descend right before the sun comes up.
The sleep in the car was brutally cold. I went in the middle of April. It felt like no amount of layers were enough. But what made it all worth it? It’s eerily quiet out there, and you can see every single star in the sky. I’ve never seen/ heard? anything like it. Complete peace with the universe.
I descended down about 5:30 am. I have terrible knees, so I used hiking poles on the way down. I can’t express how much this saved my knees. I think my pack weighed out to about 45 lbs? Having that pole stability with that extra weight was key.
It was freezing cold until about 10 am. I kept all of my layers on until reaching the Havasu village. (8 miles in). The village is where you can grab Food/ snacks and water. You will also check in here and get your bracelets and tent tag for the time you’ll be staying there. Each member of your party must be present with ID.
The campgrounds are 2 miles further than the village. (You can get cell phone service in the village FYI).
The last 2 miles we’re in my opinion the longest/ most strenuous. It was a lot of loose sand, and a lot of mud. I took my pack off for a bit in the village, so I think after having that recovery period, it made it harder to get endurance again.
One thing that I found was a game changer… they have pack mules that will bring your gear back up to the top. My back and shoulders were so ungodly sore that I couldn’t fathom the idea of carrying that back out. It’s $100, but definitely worth taking advantage of. Once I get more backpacking under my belt, I will attempt trekking out with my pack as well. You have to sign up for this quick (when getting your wrist bands) as the time slots fill up fast.
Once you do the last two mile trek in, all spots are up for grabs. You can camp as close to the river or falls as you want.
The water was pretty cold, but you MUST jump into the pool of water with the falls! The second waterfall is a bit of a walk further. You have to crouch through a cave until the falls are revealed. It’s truly a breathtaking sight. A super steep ladder is mounted along side the canyon wall that you can climb down to jump into the falls. Scared of heights? This part isn’t for you.
Sleeping in my tent in the canyon wasn’t near as cold as sleeping in the car. And waking up and seeing the red rock and aqua water was one of my favorite mornings to date. I laid in a hammock and stared at the stars the night before, for hours as I’d never seen anything quite like it.
This is hands down one of Mother Earths most magical creations. Put it on the top of your bucket list, as it does good things for the soul!