Havasu/Havasupai Falls seems to be on everyone’s list these days due to the photos and stories that we all see and hear! The colors from these falls are real and the adventure can be a great one so long as you make the right preparations and know what you’ll be getting yourself into! Follow the tips and tricks here to ensure you have a successful and fun adventure.
Get ready to backpack! Day hikes down to the falls are not allowed so you’ll need to get in some backpacking shape as its 10 mile trek down to the campground from the parking lot. Make sure that you obtain quality backpacking gear as a cheaper gear tends to be heavier and we’ve seen straps and buckles break in the field, rendering the gear useless and your trip becomes a miserable one…
To make the trek enjoyable and successful, we recommend the following backpacking gear:
A backpack in the 40-65 liter range
Sleeping bag (depending on the season you go, you may need a 20-40 degree sleeping bag)
Backpacking stove with fuel
Backpacking chair and or hammock
Bear canister -While you wont encounter any bears, a bear canister is recommended to safely store your food from the critters. They have been known to chew through tents and backpacks if they smell any food being stored in them
First aid kit
If this will be your first backpacking adventure, we recommend renting your gear rather than buying as buying the right gear could easily cost $1000 per person and you may not use it again or use it for a long time. See the code at the bottom of this article to get a discount on your backpacking rental gear from Wilderness Trio!
Learning how to properly fit and load your backpack could be the difference between a great trip and a miserable experience. Make sure your pack is fitted to your torso length and the shoulder straps are properly adjusted as the trek into the campground could take you anywhere from 3-7 hours depending on your speed.
Obtaining a permit: Historically, this is one the hardest permits to get. Don’t plan on going if you do not get your permit. You cannot just show up the day of and hope to get a walk in permit. Permits are available here starting February 1st at 8am Arizona time. You can create an account before the permit window opens which might save you some time and increase your chances of getting a permit as it will be one less step on the morning of the 1st.
For 2018, the permit rates per person were as follows:
1 night: $140.56
2 nights: $171.12
3 nights: 201.67
If you’re planning on going during a weekend, holiday, or spring break plan on adding an additional $18.34 per night to your permit cost
Increasing your chances of getting a permit: If you want to increase your chances of getting permits, coordinate with your friends about being online together on the morning the permit window opens. In 2018, the group size limit was 20 people. Use multiple browser windows! You can also try calling to get your reservation, but from the people we’ve talked with, they all agree that trying to get the reservation online is your best bet.
Permit Stipulations: Keep in mind that there are no refunds for cancellations and that you need to pay for the group in full at the time of reserving your permit. Also know that you can only put one name on the reservation, so whoever has their name on the reservation has to be there with photo ID upon picking up your permit the day of your adventure.
Rules from the Tribe: Havasu Falls sits on an Indian reservation ran by the Havasupai Indian tribe. They don’t have to allow backpackers onto their reservation, but they do and we should be grateful for their hospitality. To ensure that future backpackers are allowed, please make sure to know and follow the rules they have set in place.
No alcohol or drugs
Pack out your trash
Pack out your pool floaties
Campfires are not allowed
No cliff jumping
No loud music
Respect quiet hours from 8pm-5am