Key information: Havasu Canyon
Trek into this lush and beautiful remote canyon to inspect gorgeous waterfalls and colourful pools beneath sheer sandstone wells. A very special 2-day+ expedition.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest17
- Human interest6
- Negative points0
- Total rating85
- Note: Negs: Popularity
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: Around 2,500m at the south rim
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a World Heritage Site, and geological heaven. It is hard to overpraise the canyon’s raw, outlandish shapes and formations: they are justly famous.
The Havasu Canyon has to be one of the Grand Canyon area's most beautiful and interesting places, a deep and extraordinarily lush canyon which starts as a usually dry wash many miles south of the Grand Canyon, and gradually sinks into its famous canyon form, getting greener and deeper as it progresses. It joins the Grand Canyon (as a hanging canyon) some way west of the central area, indeed it is on American Indian territory rather than in the National Park.
The high calcium content of the water has resulted in travertine walls retaining pools and creating some famous waterfalls including the 100ft Havasu Falls, the hard-of-access Mooney Falls and the Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, and in the famous bright blue colouring of the pools.
The canyon has been occupied for many thousands of years, and the history and way of life of its dwellers are one of the attractions of this special place. The canyon-bottom village of Supai has been home to the Havasupai, the “people of the blue green waters”, for more than 1,000 years, so is an inherently interesting, if dusty and tourist-oriented place. It is inaccessible by road (foot, horse and helicopter only), its supplies brought in by the mule trains you are likely to meet.
Being remote, and requiring in-demand permits, the canyon doesn’t see the visitor numbers you will find in the main Grand Canyon, but don't expect to be alone by the falls.
You can walk to the falls in a few hours. After some 1.5 miles of steep switchbacked descent from the trailhead to the bottom of a side canyon, it is relatively easy canyon-bottom hiking, 4.5 more waterless miles until the trail joins the Havasu Canyon proper, 8 miles in total to Supai; and another 2 or so the Havasu Falls, near which is a good campsite.
It is in theory possible to do the whole hike in one very long day, but this is not permitted (as at 2018) and an overnight near the falls is a delight (and a multi-day walk down the Havasu Canyon hiking heaven) as well as a necessity for most mortals. Ideally you would take at least 3 days – one down and one back up, and one exploring and just enjoying the magical canyon bottom.
You can go it alone, but will need to be properly prepared, including carrying a lot of water; or join a guide group, which will have many advantages including expert knowledge of the area and the Havasupai.
This is a walk Walkopedia covets; we regret not having time when we were at the Grand Canyon.
See our Grand Canyon page for much more on the canyon, and detailed practical information.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS
Posted on: 31/03/2021
I saw the entire canyon in 3 days. Day 1. backpack 8 miles to Supai, past Havasu Falls and stayed in the nice campground. I forget what it costs but is quite expensive. I think it would be a mistake to begrudge the high fee - this canyon is all these people have and possibly their only real source of income. There is no agriculture in the canyon. But it easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. Day 2 Walk down to the Colorado and back 16 mlles return. This is a long day but not overly hard, climbing down through the tunnels in the tufa to descend Mooney Falls, crossing the creek several times and well worth the walk. This was one of the most fascinating hiking days of my life. My girlfriend and I spent the entire day with a Navajo woman from Page and her two delightful children (12 and 9). This was their second attempt to get to the bottom and we were successful. Julie became a good friend and introduced me to many wonderful places on the rez not easily accessed by most whiteys. It all sadly ended when Julie was hot by her husband on her front steps. I have also rafted the Grand Canyon. A routine day hike is to come up to the falls from the bottom, a fairly easy hike.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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