Havasupai Falls

9:25 p.m. on September 15, 2013 (EDT)
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So, starting to plan a trip to the falls on the reservation. I seem to be having trouble finding a trail map that includes all the falls on the reservation. want to stay for 2 nights but everything seems to refer to only one campsite down from the falls. Any guidance would be appreciated.

10:32 p.m. on September 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Try this site for a zoom-able trail map all the way to the Colorado River: 

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/havasu-falls-amp-mooney-falls/map

I once hiked to the area and stayed two nights right above Mooney Falls, day hiked down to the Colorado River at the mouth of Havasu Canyon. Permits are needed and I see from this website its gotten very expensive to hike there:

http://www.havasupaifalls.net/reservations.html

Its a dry 10 miles down from Hualapai Hilltop at the end of the Peach Springs road to Supai, the small Havasupai Indian village and a few more to the top of Mooney Falls and 10 more to the Colorado River. 


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Havasupai Falls


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Mooney Falls

Good Luck! Its a great place!

10:50 a.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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I have done Havasupai Falls the last 2 winters.  March last year and February the year before.  A couple friends and I go in for about 4 nights.  

It is about 8 miles from Hilltop Trailhead to the Havasupai Indian reservation where you check in.  It is pretty easy hike down the rim of the canyon and then along a dry wash pretty much the whole way.  After reaching the Indian reservation and checking in it is about 1 mile to Navaho falls (upper and lower).


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Another mile further from Navaho falls you will get to Havasu falls.  


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The campground is basically below Havasu Falls.  Campground is about half a mile long and stretched out quite a bit.  At the lower end of the campground is Mooney Falls.  You have to go down a steep cliff with chains and ladders to get to the bottom of the falls.


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Once below Mooney Falls you need to find the trail and continue down about 3 miles to get to Beaver Falls.  There are a couple water crossings in that 3 miles and it is pretty slow going.  


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Another 3-4 miles from Beaver you get to the Colorado River.  There are several water crossings and it is extremely slow going.  

You can do a little cliff jumping at lower Navaho Falls and in the deep pools downstream from Beaver Falls.  

Make sure you get your reservations all laid out ahead of time or they will charge you double.  

Have a great time and let me know if you have any questions.

Jason

11:05 a.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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I wanted to add that you only need a permit for the Colorado River if you plan on spending the night outside the reservation toward the Colorado River or at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River.  If you just do a day hike from the reservation no permit is required.  

I applied for a permit last year and it wasn't a problem because it isn't the most popular thing to do.  I think I started the permit process about 60 days before the trip.  

11:26 a.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Sweet! Thanks for the replies. Jason, if we decide to sleep close to the Colorado, is it zoned campsites or are there designated sites? I think the people we will be going with are looking at going around spring break next year. Hoping the weather will be cooler.

11:40 a.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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287 forum posts

There are no designated camp sites between the reservation camp site and the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado river.  Check out google earth and you can do a virtual hike and see what you are up against.  

My suggestion would be to not worry about getting to the Colorado River if you are only doing 2 nights.  I would take in all that the falls on the reservation have to offer.  Do some swimming in the pools, cliff jumping, etc.  

The hike from the reservation campground to the Colorado River is not an easy one.  It is time consuming with lots of water crossings and a bit technical in spots.  It is certainly doable with no problem, but it will consume a lot of your time.  

1:47 p.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Jason,

Great reporting. I have talked to lots of people that have been on the Res to see the falls. They often report problems. I don't know why. Maybe some are not really backpackers and bring too much stuff.

I have a close friend that is a retired doctor. He talks about staying on the Res in 1948. They had old mining cabins then that they rented to visitors. The cost was 50 cents per night.

I met the elders of the Hualapai Tribe on a river trip at the mouth of Havasu Creek.  Some were suprised to find that they recongized my last name as being common on the Res. It was the only time in my life I have been welcomed by Native Americans with open arms, literally. I will never forget it.

3:23 p.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks ppine!  That is cool that the elders were so friendly when you met them.  

I think a lot of the "problems" come from going into Havasupai during the very busy time of year (spring, summer).  I honestly could not handle that hike out of there in the mid summer heat.  I would melt!!  That is why I choose to go in the winter.  Temps have been perfect for me both times.  Another problem is overcrowding during the busy time.  People are camped on top of each other and the restroom facilities are dirty and not supplied.  

I found the natives on the reservation to be very friendly.  The kids like to ask for $$ and candy.  It is just something you have to deal with I guess.  I went to the village from camp to get a few supplies one day and spent a good part of the day visiting with the locals.  I had a big bag of homemade elk jerky and shared it with a couple old timers.  They were super friendly and I really enjoyed talking to them.  

Really, as far as problems go, I have not had any to speak of.  Always been a pleasant experience for me.  

 

Friendly old timers:  You are not supposed to take pictures in the village but I asked their permission and they were more than happy to let me take a couple.  

 


old-timers.jpg

10:00 p.m. on September 16, 2013 (EDT)
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1,165 forum posts

Jason,

You have excellent people skills. The photo says a lot. I worked on the Navajo Res for 6 years going on 3 week trips in the spring and fall.

Your idea of going in winter helps put all the stories in perspective. Summer heat and crowds make for a different trip than hanging out with the local guys swapping stories in the cool weather.

You and Gary P are the G cyn experts and we know who to ask for info.

10:25 a.m. on September 17, 2013 (EDT)
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287 forum posts

Thank you ppine!  Far from expert but always happy to share information from my experiences.  

This spring a scout leader was killed and a couple of his boys got heat stroke from a trip into the GC.  I just can't help but shake my head and think one must or should know better.  It takes a special person to be able to handle that GC/desert heat safely.  I am definitely not that person!  I can do sub-freezing temps in the winter all day but I can't do the heat.  

That is cool that you worked on the Navajo Res.  I bet that was a great experience.  I delivered beer to the Blackfeet Indian Res for years and that was a great experience as well.  I also got to deliver beer to all the camp stores in Glacier Nat'l Park.  I always looked forward to those deliveries.  lol.

10:45 a.m. on September 17, 2013 (EDT)
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The Blackfoot are an amazing group. I used to run into them at their booth at places like the Rocky Mtn Elk Foundation annual meeting in Reno. They are warriors to this day and supreme hunters. Much different than the pastoral and easy going Navajo. It is no wonder Lewis and Clark and everyone after them checked their backtrails often for signs of Blackfoot.

Browning and the eastern part of Glacier are interesting places to visit. I have a friend that I met in Elko years ago at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering that is Crow. He lives on the Bighorn River near the Custer Site. His relatives were there. He performs in English and Crow language, recently riding across the state of Montana for 400 miles horseback promoting poetry and literature as the State Poet Lariat. Thats what they call it. I have also worked with the Shoshone-Bannock in Idaho and the Paiute in Nevada at Pyramid Lake.

September 21, 2014
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