Well-hidden in the Grand Canyon, the Havasupai Falls are incredibly difficult to get to and see with your own eyes. Yet if you are one of the lucky and ambitious folk who make it that far, the blue and green waters of Havasupai Falls will take your breath away. With its geological layers and natural stair steps, how is it that there is such a beautiful paradise, but no one seems to know much about it?
The Havasupai Tribe
Part of the reason that the Havasupai Falls have not been widely visited is that they are not located in the Grand Canyon National Park. Though still within the canyon itself, the falls are located in the lands of the Havasupai tribe, which means that you may only visit there with the tribe’s permission.
The Havasupai Tribe, known as the People of the Blue Green Water, have lived in and around the village of Supai, Arizona, for more than 1,000 years. The tribe is also called the Havasu Baaja. Two miles above the village, the Havasupai Falls have provided the tribe with all of the water they needed to grow crops while providing them with enough protection to keep intruders and visitors at bay. There is a post office located in the village, but mail is transported by mule train only.
Today, the Havasupai Tribe’s reservation, which was established in 1880, accounts for 188,077 acres of land in the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
The tribe has been gracious over the years and have both a campground and a lodge that allows visitors to be able to rest and enjoy the amazing natural beauty of the falls. But you cannot simply just head over to the falls. You will need reservations well in advance of your journey, or you could find yourself on a fruitless endeavor. If you don’t have a reservation, they will not even let you onto the tribal lands, which will at least prevent you from taking a very long hike for nothing.
Before you gear yourself up, there is another thing that you should take into consideration before going. The area is highly prone to flash floods and is an extremely fragile environment. This means that you could be evacuated during your visit before you have even made it to the falls. But as long as you know the risk exists, then your journey should be an adventure.
While we know how to get to the Grand Canyon National Park, getting to the Havasupai Falls is a different story. You will have to travel 63 miles off of Route 66 to the Hualapai Hilltop, where you will park and begin your hike. It is an 8 mile hike to the village of Supai, where there is a lodge, store, and tourist office available. From the village, you have another 2 miles before you reach the waterfalls and the campground. So it is a full 10 mile hike before you reach your goal of seeing the blue/green waters.
Even though the Havasupai Falls are your ultimate goal, remember the size of the Grand Canyon. That means that there are many other waterfalls in the area that should be considered. This includes Mooney Falls, which is 3 miles from the village; Beaver Falls, which is 5 miles from the village, or even the Colorado River itself, which is another 11 miles from the village. Depending on how ambitious you are feeling, you have quite a few options while there.
The hikes are all pretty flat and are not completely exposed to the sun, but you should make sure that you are physically healthy and in good shape before beginning on this adventure.
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