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Havasupai Falls Backpacking

Havasupai is hands down the greatest backpacking trip of all time that you could take in Arizona. The red rocks of the Grand Canyon, paired with stunningly blue water attracts people from all over the world. Camping permits are hard to get and are generally sold out for the year a week after sales start.

I know that Havasupai has been written, photographed, and blogged about countless times, but this is my trip down and it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life!

Plan your trip ahead of time!

Planning what your going to pack for the trip is essential so that you are not bringing extra weight down. Go as minimal as you can on gear. Only bring essentials, if you bring more you will regret it on the hike out! Start the hike early in the morning as most of the hike is un shaded throughout the day.

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This was my pack and everything I took with me.

Essentials:

The hike started at 3 AM, so I don’t have the beginning pictures as most of it was in the dark.
We meandered through the Grand Canyon on our way to our destination.
After a few miles of hiking you will come to this sign and then you’re getting close to the town of Supai.
Approaching town.
Working our way through the town of Supai.
Walking the trail down through the town of Supai.  
The blue in the water is overwhelming.
The first time I encountered the blue water on my hike, I was amazed! Havasupai the tribe name translates directly to “Blue Water People”

A side note, I went on this trip with my friend Chris in September of 2016. He is sitting next me me in the photo above, we hadn’t talked in a while and he just emailed me out of the blue asking if I wanted to go to Havasupai as he had extra permits.

I jumped all over the opportunity! He was bringing two of his friends from out of town, whom I never met but we all got along and had an amazing trip! The other two dudes were Mike up front and Nate in the back. At 3AM we started hiking in and found we had a lot in common!

Continuing back to the hike now. I had to introduce my friends first though!

These are the first views you will have of the first set of falls, the “Fifty Foot Falls” these falls seemed to change year to year due to flash floods changing the course of the river.

Why is the water so blue?

The blue in the water comes from minerals in the water called travertine. Keep going on the hike and you will be on a downhill slope and come around a corner and find the most amazing waterfall you have ever seen in a desert!

Havasu Falls

Behold your first views of Havasu Falls.
Had to snap a selfie, for proof I was there!
A shaty photo of all of us, but the group on the hike in. Left to right, yours truly, Nate, Chris, and Mikey.
You cannot take a bad photo here, it is impossible.
Hiking up to the base of Havasu Falls.
Getting so stoked to get into this water.
Havasu Falls again from a different angle, this place is paradise in the desert.
This was our campsite for the next few nights in the canyon.

We found a perfect campsite early in the morning as soon as we got down in the canyon. This spot was amazing, we had it all to ourselves, and you had to cross a makeshift bridge to get to it from both sides. We were on a small island of sorts with the water running by on both sides. It was absolutely perfect.

We all had decided to camp in hammocks for the trip as it was plenty warm enough, make sure to hang your food in the trees, or bring a trash bag to line the trash buckets to store your food in, place a frisbee with a hole through the middle over your food so the mice and other critters don’t crawl down your rope to your food if your hanging it. There are toilets in the canyon that compost themselves. Bring some extra toilet paper with you incase they are out.

We spent the rest of the day swimming in the water at the base of Havasu falls, and went to bed early as soon as the sun went down, there are no campfires permitted in the canyon so it is easy to go to sleep early. The next day we decided to go to the next biggest falls in the canyon, Mooney Falls, which were also very impressive, as well as hike down through the canyon close to the confluence where Havasupai meets with the Colorado River.

No filters or editing was applied to this photo as the colors just pop on their own. This is the top of Mooney Falls.
This is the canyon view above Mooney Falls looking down the creek.  
Taking a look over Mooney Falls down below.

After hanging out on top of the falls for a while and enjoying the scenery, we decided it was time to make our way down to the base of the falls. Make your way around the corner to see the spectacular views of Mooney Falls.

Mooney Falls

A look at Mooney Falls from atop the ridge.

Hiking to the bottom of Mooney

When you hike to the base of these falls, you have to go through a small system of caves and wooden ladders and hold on to some chains as you’re headed down, you can feel the temps change in the caves and some mist from the waterfall itself.

Its worth the descent, don’t let the sign scare you away, and its not that bad either, just take your time and don’t rush.  
This is the hole you want to climb down to make your way to the bottom.
Im goin in!
Down worry the cave opens up and has steps in it, not so bad right?
Chris making his way down behind me.
Coming out of the cave and getting some great views of Mooney.
Making my way down the chains section.
Too stoked for this!
Chris takes lead.
Half way down the chains section.
Back to making our way down.
Mikey and Nate Making their way down the chains and ladders.

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Now we are at the base of Mooney Falls.

At the base of Mooney Falls you can look up and see how much deeper you are in the canyon. It was still pretty early in the day and this was an entire day of exploring, we were going to be hiking close to 10 miles today through the water and the canyon to get to the Navajo Falls area and really to just explore this beautiful place further. After checking out Mooney Falls for a bit we continued our hike through the canyon which becomes very thick with vegetation. There are grape vines everywhere and occasionally you can see some goats down in the bottom snacking out.

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Leaving Mooney Falls to head down the canyon I turned around and saw this cool mist coming from the falls.

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Another small waterfall that falls into the creek from another source.

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Good times with good friends, all smiles!

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More pools to take a dip in.

Once you get to the bottom of all the falls in this section you will have to walk through the water and some of the hike is only in the water.

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Wading through the water.

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Just keep going through the water.

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Smaller falls are all along the creek.

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More small falls, and a shady spot, take advantage of the shade when you can, it’s going to be a long hot day.

After some time of hiking through the water you will come out of the water and enter the canyon filled with vegetation. This place is amazing and although there are times you won’t see the water, you can still hear it, but the greenery looks incredible mixed with the red of the walls in the Grand Canyon.

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Working our way through the trail and vines.

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There are a few smaller off shoot canyons to explore but we just didn’t have the time for it this trip.

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The shrubbery gets dense here.

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Working our way through the vines, Mikey is looking up at the walls that tower above us on both sides.

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The dudes spread through the canyon.

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Who knew places like this exist in this world, let alone in my own state of Arizona.

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The walls are so high!

Eventually you make it back to the water and shortly will find the Navajo Falls area. It is a cool spot with some layered small falls.

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Back along the creek.

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A rough picture but this is how you get in and out of the Navajo Falls area, a small rope for assistance.

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This is the Navajo falls area.

I cannot find all the photos of this area and where we hiked in to get to it, but there is a small waterfall at the top of this that we all jumped off of, its a small one but fun, just really know where your jumping, my friends all jumped off and were fine, but I hit the bottom, luckily I hit it in a way that I didn’t hurt myself badly, but scrapped my knees up pretty well, and they got swollen which made hiking out tiresome. Everything is  still worth it.

We continued past this area and found us a sweet cliff to jump off of, this was the highest thing we jumped from on the trip.

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Another small waterfall section that falls into the area we were cliff jumping.

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This is where we jumped in from the cliffs above. You can’t tell how tall it is by any of the pictures but it was at the minimum 50-60 feet tall, maybe more.

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The rocks on the right is where we jumped from, you have to really push off so you don’t hit the shelf below.

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Mikey contemplating the jump spot.

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Once you go for the jump, you have to scramble up some rocks and then climb up this janky fire hose to get back to the top, to do it again. Our arms were bruised on the underside from hitting the water with so much force over and over again.

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Another angle of the hose looking down.

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We stayed down here for a few hours, jumped several times from the cliffs and snacked and rested for a while. Eventually we made our way back up to our campsite. This was a long day.

We made our way back to camp to sleep for the night before we trekked out the next morning to finish of the trip.

There is a fresh water spring in the camp area that you can fill your water bottles from and it was some of the tastiest water I’ve ever had from a natural spring!

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The natural spring where we filled our water bottles every day and night, to drink and make dehydrated food from. Tip, hike in with an empty gallon water bottle to fill here and take back to your campsite.

The next day we got up, made breakfast and started exploring and hanging out before heading out of the canyon.

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Camp digs, making breakfast, charging phones for photos, and hydrating up before another long day.

We noticed that there was a small cave not far from our campsite, we wanted to go see what was inside, so we hiked up and checked it out.

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This is the cave we could see from our campsite.

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Found some cool quartz crystal rocks at the entrance of the cave.

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Inside the cave looking out from the cave.

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From the outside of the cave looking down at the campsite, our spot was under that bundle of trees, there’s also one of the bathrooms there you can see.

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Most of the campsites are within the area that this picture covers.

We hiked back down to our campsite, packed up and got ready to make the hike back out of the canyon. We were tired, and a little bummed to be leaving but all good things must come to an end.

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Hiking past Havasu Falls one last time before leaving.

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And the tiresome hike out begins.

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It was cool though to see all that we missed hiking in in the dark. you will pass all the incoming hikers and mules occasionally.

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Even away from the water the canyon is still picture worthy.

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Hooray for shade.

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Onward ho!

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This rock had to have fallen from high up, and broken in three pieces when it hit the ground.

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Getting close to Hualapai Hilltop, the parking area for Havasupai.

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This is part of the well known “mile of switchbacks” that you go in and out of the canyon on, they seemed much harder going up than going in!

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A little more of the switchbacks almost at the top of the hill.

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We made it to the top for a beautiful Arizona sunset.

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Mission complete!

After a long 3 days and over 30 plus miles of hiking, lots of jokes, blisters, and bruises, we finally made it out of Havasupai. I had so much fun down in the canyon with my friend Chris, and my new friends Mikey and Nate. Since going on this trip I still keep in touch with Mikey and Nate, and Chris and I have tackled a few other awesome adventures and I’m sure we will have many more adventures through out our lives. I will never forget this trip, and will forever be grateful to Chris for obtaining the permits and inviting me to go. I can’t wait for more adventures guys!

If you have any questions about this trip ask away! I love talking about Havasupai, or if you want to take me with you on your trip down let me know! haha thanks for checking it out, it was fun writing this post and revisiting Havasupai in my mind. It is the longest post I have done yet and hopefully it is not the only time I get to go to Havasupai. Enjoy the Photos!

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can” – John Muir

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16 thoughts on “Havasupai Falls Backpacking

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  1. Ah, great post! I’m going at the end of April and am slightly terrified of the descent to Mooney Falls but your words have alleviated that a bit haha…I’m also a little claustrophobic so those small caves are gonna be fun for me 😅

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