Havasu Falls Travel Tips, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona

We gathered our things, with eyes still sleepy, and prepared ourselves for the upcoming ten-mile hike into the Havasupai canyon. I was thankful Scott agreed with me about paying for a mule to carry our large packs. Ten miles is a long hike and it would have felt dreadfully longer with the weight of our camping gear and food.

Havasu Falls Travel Tips - Havasupai Canyon

We were headed to Havasu Falls, a gorgeous oasis in a remote part of the Grand Canyon. Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters and we soon found out how breathtakingly blue-green these waters really are.

If you are considering a trip to Havasu Canyon, you will want to come prepared. Not only with gear, but also armed with knowledge and tips from those who have gone before you. We learned a few things the hard way, so this post is intended to prevent others from making the same mistakes we did.

Havasupai Reservation - Hike to Havasu Falls Arizona

Planning a Trip to Havasupai Falls

Distance to Havasupai Lodge: 8 miles one way

Distance to Havasu Falls Campground: 10 miles one way

Closest Airport to Havasu Falls, Havasupai: Las Vegas airport is about 4 hours away

Reserve pack mules at least one week in advance.

We didn’t reserve a mule because we planned on carrying our packs. Right before we set out on our hike, we asked a tribe member if we could rent a mule even though it was last minute. He took our bags and we thought we were all set. Once we got down to the lodge (8 miles down the trail) the woman told us our bags were not guaranteed to make it to the campground (another 2 miles into the canyon) because we had not booked in advance. We spent the next 5 hours at the campground wondering what we would do with no clothes, food or camping gear because neither of us were in any condition to hike 10 miles back up the canyon. I don’t suggest this route.

Reserve a camping spot or make a lodge reservation at least three to four months in advance. For camping reservations, call 1-928-448-2141, 1-928-448-2121, 1-928-448-2174, or 1-928-448-2180. For lodge reservations, call 1-928-448-2111.

Plan to spend the night in your car (or pitch a tent) at the Hualapai Hilltop the first night so you can get an early start the next morning.

If you are hiking during the summer or fall, plan to begin your hike at first light. This will give you plenty of time for breaks and will make sure you are shaded from the scorching sun for most of the hike.

If you plan to take the helicopter, instead of hiking the last 8 miles out of the canyon, get there by 7 am to secure your place in line.

If you don’t get there early, you could be waiting until late afternoon for a ride out.

Havasu Falls, Arizona - Navajo Falls

How to Get to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls, Navajo Falls and Mooney Falls are located in the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The trail down to these falls begins at Hualapai Hilltop parking lot (which is where you will be sleeping the night before if you want to get an early start on the hike).

Hualapai Hilltop is at the end of Indian Road 18 which is 65 miles north of Route 66. Beware of cattle and wildlife on Indian 18 – especially after dark! This is no joke. We had to stop several times for cattle in the road and had to dodge a few bunnies.

GPS coordinates: 36° 9′ 44″ N, 112° 42′ 34″ W
36.162222, -112.709444

What to Bring to Havasu Falls

Good Shoes and Socks – Make sure your foot does not move around in your shoe. The downhill will give you blisters if you don’t have the right socks and shoes! Hiking shoes are recommended.

Water Shoes: Necessary for swimming and walking in the river. These shoes are perfect because they protect your toes, have grip on the bottom, and they dry quickly. I would use these to hike from waterfall to waterfall once you are in the canyon.

First Aid Kit: If you are camping, the nearest store is 2 miles away and they sell mostly food items. J&J sells an inexpensive mini first aid kit.

Mosquito Repellent: We got bites even though we were good about putting this on. We brought this one because it was small enough to add to our pack.

Camping Stove: We have done extensive research on the best and lightest backpacking gear for these types of trips. This backpacking stove is tiny, weighs next to nothing and it heats stuff up fast.

Cookware: We just bought this tiny cookware set for backpacking trips and it’s extremely compact.

Sleeping Bags: This sleeping bag is great for backpacking and it gets excellent reviews.

Tent: We love this lightweight Marmot 2-person tent.

Sleeping Pads: These ones are amazing!

Backpacks: If you are looking for a durable, light, and inexpensive backpack, we recommend the Teton Scout.

Solar Charger: We carry this solar charger to charge our phones and camera batteries.

Waterproof Camera: We use the GoPro Hero4 Silver with LCD.

Rope – For hanging clothes and trash (so the squirrels can’t get to it).

Biodegradable Soap – For washing dishes and bathing in the river.

Food – If you plan on camping, bring as much dehydrated food as possible to lighten your load. They sell dehydrated food packets at most camping stores. Other ideas for food include beef jerky, instant mashed potatoes, oatmeal, trail mix and nature bars.

Water – Bring enough water to get you through the hike down. You can buy water at the store near the lodge or if you are camping there is a natural spring to fill your water bottles for the rest of the trip.

*** For more packing tips, read our Ultimate Packing Checklist for Camping

Havasu Falls Campground Arizona

Best Time to Visit Havasu Falls

This will depend on personal preference, but our opinion of the best times to visit Havasu Falls is March through June.

We visited in early September and got hit with a few gnarly thunderstorms. We thought this would be the perfect time because the water is warmer than in the spring, but thunderstorms and constant rain can definitely ruin a trip where you plan to hike and swim all day.

Also, be aware if you visit during monsoon season (July to early September) that this area has a likelihood of flash floods.


Prices for Havasu Falls Camping, Pack Mules, Helicopter and Lodge

Prices as of September 2015 and all prices are in US Dollars:

Entrance Fee: $35 per person

Campground Fee: $17 per person/per night

Environmental Care Fee: $5 per person

Round Trip Pack Horse (Campground): $187

One Way Pack Horse (To or from campground): $93.50

Round Trip Pack Horse (Lodge): $120

One Way Pack Horse (To or from lodge): $70

Helicopter: $85 per person – One way

Lodge: $145 per night, plus $35 Entrance Fee. ($40.00 deposit per room/per night)

Please visit the official website of the Havasupai Tribe for more information.


Closest Hotels to Havasu Falls

If you are visiting during the winter or you just don’t want to sleep at the hilltop the night before you hike in, here are a few of the closest hotels to Havasupai Canyon.

Maswik Lodge Hotel – 66 miles from Havasu Falls

El Tovar Hotel – 67 miles from Havasu Falls

Canyon Plaza Resort – 60 miles from Havasu Falls


Plan Your Trip to Havasu Falls

After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we’ve come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.


  • Momondo is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The price calendar feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel.


  • Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.


Love to Travel?

Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a page full of useful travel resources with tips and tricks I’ve learned after consistently traveling for over ten years. Learn how I make a living while traveling, how to find the best prices on flights and accommodation, my best travel tips, how to start a travel blog, and more.

For more ideas on gorgeous places to camp, visit this post with some of the best places to camp in California.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. The price stays the same for you, but if purchased through this link, the company would pay us a small percentage of the sale, which helps to cover the costs of running this site.

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .

  • Jose G

    Do you know if anyone has enter the camp without a reservation? Anyone? I keep calling and calling but I cant make a reservation. Anyone please!!!

  • Kristin

    Hello! My husband and I are planning on doing this hike next year! We are so excited! We were wondering what kind of food the lodge offered? Is it junk food, dehydrated food, or snack type foods?

    • Hmm… There were some sandwiches at the restaurant, but I can’t remember what else. I’ll update the article when we go later this year because I’m sure we will be eating there. 🙂

  • Emma

    Hi Christy, thanks for this article. Our trip is towards the end of July and there are a few people in our group who are super concerned about not having the blue waters due to all of the rain. It looks like you guys were able to still experience that despite the rain? Any words to calm them down? Thanks!

    • I honestly don’t think the water turns brown unless it’s a pretty intense rain — like close to a flash flood. If that is the case, you won’t want to be anywhere near the water anyway. 😉 Hope that helps!

  • Jamie

    I’ve heard that there is a 10% Tribal Tax on the Entry Fee and the Campground fee. Did you find this to be true? Thank you! My husband and I are planning our trip for September this year and we are so excited!

  • Lacy Caldwell

    Hi there, great information! My friend and I have an opportunity within the next three weeks… not sure if it’s enough time but we going to see. Would love to pick your brain on a couple of things if you are available!

  • Lizbeth Vargas

    Hi I found your post to be extremely helpful.. Is a guided tour needed or can you hike to the havasu falls from the campground on your own?

    • The falls are less than a mile from the campground and everything is self guided in the canyon. Enjoy your trip!

  • IH

    You mentioned it might be harder to visit given the recent press – what are you referring to and why do you think that is? Just curious as I am planning a trip at the end of April. Thanks!

    • I blame Instagram. 😉 Lots of Instagrammers post about it and I’ve seen it on big sites like the NY Times in the past 6 months.

      • dariusz

        mi and my wife are going to havasu falls next week could you tell me just about entrance fees where do we buy it???

  • Rachele Maskrey Cooper

    What is the best airport to fly into? And aprox. how long is the drive from the air port to the trailhead?

    • Las Vegas airport is about 4 hours away. I recently rented a car in Vegas and my biggest advice is to give yourself PLENTY of time when returning the car. It seems there is always construction going on around the airport and it can be difficult getting to the rental car return garage if you get stuck in the construction traffic.

  • HazzyLizzy

    Does anyone know if u are allowed to hike to any waterfall without having to stay a night? I would like to do a day hike without staying.

    • I think so. Just be prepared to hike 20 miles that day unless you get lucky and get a helicopter flight down early and hike back up. It’s not an easy day trip.

  • Christina

    Hi, great article! I know you did this with your husband but I was wondering if this trip would be too much for someone to do on their own. I’m in my early 20s and in good physical shape, I’ve done a lot of hikes before (never ones this long though), and I’ve camped (but never gone by myself). Thanks!

    • Sorry for the delayed reply! You should be fine. There are a lot of other people on the trail. Have fun!

  • Tracy Gee from CA

    Thank you for this article. My dream was to go my birthday weekend (August 11) but Ive come to find out thats monsoon season and that scares me. We just came back from a 5 day roadtrip from Colorado to CA. We hit up Arches, Zion, Grand Canyon South Rim and Hoover Dam. After visiting South Rim, I’m determined to visit Havasupai. As of today 4/30/16, they are already booked for camping and at the lodge for the entire season. No chance of getting in this year 🙁 However Im already planning for 2017. Im super excited after reading your article. Thank you so much for all your tips. I cant wait to go and share all about it. We hope to visit in May 2017.

  • Joey

    Since you drove to Havasu falls and I am doing the same, Google Maps isn’t showing me how to get there. It’s only showing me the closest city which is North Rim. How do I find the parking lot where I can park?

    • GPS coordinates: 36° 9′ 44″ N, 112° 42′ 34″ W

      36.162222, -112.709444

  • Rick

    Hello, and thanks for all the great info. It’s good to get some insider scoop on the Havasupai trip. I’m a fellow photo enthusiast & enjoyed your pix. Regarding your shots that are taken from very high up above the falls, are these along the normal hiking trail, or did you take a side hike to get to that elevation? Thanks.

    • Hi Rick. I honestly don’t remember. I don’t think it was tough to find that vantage point. We’re visiting Havasu Falls again in September, so we’ll update the guide with more tips after that trip!

      • Rick

        I’m back! We went last week. Stunning, stunning, stunning! Came back with 800+ pix & now down to 700. The most photogenic place I’ve ever been to. Not sure if it was your info where I read about the grotto just past Mooney, but that was my favorite spot. Thanks for all the great info you post about Havasu as well as the other locations. It’s invaluable.

        • That’s so great to hear! Did it feel crowded? I’m a little nervous about how much it’s changed in 5 years. I’m so glad the post was helpful!

  • sri reddy

    Hi Christy,
    Thank you so much for the detailed info on HavasuFalls trip.
    I called them and they said the campsite is booked until end of the year 2016.

    I am wondering if we are allowed to visit the Havasu/Navajo Falls without the Prior Reservation.

    My Idea is I’ll fly-down in first helicaptor, spend couple of hours at falls and walk back the same day.
    or hike down, spend couple of hours at falls and then flyback up in the last helicaptor.
    Or I’ll do the same day trip(like grand-canyon rim-river-rim same day hike)

    Thank you
    Sri Reddy

    • I don’t think that will be a problem. Keep in mind that the wait for the helicopter can be a pain. We waited for almost 3 hours, I think. Good luck!!

      • sri reddy

        Thank you very much Christy and it is very kind of you!!(promptly replying to so many questions from everyone.)

  • Adrienne

    Did you leave your tent and gear at the campsite when you did daily hikes? Would you recommend brininging a day pack for the trips to beaver and mooney falls or brining my bigger pack with stove and essentioals?

    • Definitely leave your things at camp. I would just bring your money and camera equipment for the day hikes.

  • Madison

    I’m trying to plan a trip for next summer, and I’ve read a ton of great information so far. My only question is, what is the parking at the trail head like? I plan on camping for four days, is it safe to leave my car unattended and pretty far away for that length of time?

    • I think it’s just as safe as anywhere else. I wouldn’t leave anything valuable in your car just in case.

  • Heather Morgan

    I have been wanting to go here for years! This has been such amazing and helpful information. I literally wrote down damn near everything that you have on here and my best friend…boyfriend, and I are going next year. hah, no if and’s but’s about it. We both thrive to travel and one day do it not only as a lifestyle but for a living. Thank you so much for this. Your time and information isn’t only helpful but extremely inspiring and motivating!

    • I’m so glad it was helpful! We’re making the trek again this September and I can’t wait to head back!

  • Yingerz

    Thank you for the wonderful tips! I’m curious since i’m not an expert camper. Do you think we need a tour guide to help us get to Havasu Falls or is there an easy to follow directions and trail?

    • It’s definitely easy to follow and there will be plenty of other people on the trail. Have fun!

  • Eva

    Trying to go November with our 7 y.o.daughter with Pygmy guides, suggestions?

    • I’ve never used Pygmy guides, so I can’t comment on them, but I think that hike would be tough on a 7 year old. If you plan on taking the helicopter, it should be no problem.

      • EvandTim Larson

        The guides carry everything, or have a way planned so we don’t have to carry anything I should say. We are backpack free, just hicking.
        We are considering the helicopter if we go, but may be we need to hold off until she is older.

  • Brenda

    Please if anyone finds sterling silver stamped
    ring band in Havasu Falls please email me @ tylebren@gmail.com. It isn’t worth much just sentimental value. Lost when i was there! Thank you!