Two weekends ago I, along with my boyfriend and two friends, did a much-anticipated round-trip hike to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. And I’m posting lots of pics, because when I sign up to do these types of hikes I love to know what to expect: I research the heck out of the area so I can anticipate what to bring, wear, and put in my first-aid kit. I figure this must be the case for others as well, so hopefully this gives you a taste of the experience (which was fairly benign, minus a few blisters). For even more pics, check my Instagram page.
So, after an overnight stay in Seligman, AZ we arrived at the trailhead around 9:30 am. We handed over our duffel bags—we had reserved a horse to carry the bulk of our overnight gear down to the campsite—and headed down the Havasupai Trail. It was already pretty hot out and the first 1.5 miles was in full sun, but it was a pretty easy walk down. The trail was nice and wide, not too crowded, and not too steep due to all the switchbacks.
For me, the scariest parts were the horse trains comin’ through (the groups of horses hired to carry hikers’ gear): some of the horses are kind of wild and break free from the pack—I swear one tried to run me over but I saw him coming and jumped out of the way. Another time I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see a dozen horses barreling down the path behind me, with no intention of slowing down. So watch out!
Once we reached the bottom of the canyon it took another 6.5 miles to get to Supai Village. The trail was really rocky, and also really sandy at times—almost like walking on the beach. So I’m glad I took my poles as they helped me gain traction and kept me steady when I got tired.
Once we got within a half mile (or so) of the village, the scenery became much greener and you could see the Havasu Creek.
We entered town at about 2:00 and made note of the Wigleeva, sacred rock formations overlooking the village, before checking in at the Tourist Office to pay for our campground permit. We then grabbed a bite to eat at the cafe (they had veggie burgers!), and stocked up on any supplies we might need at the store before heading another 1.5 miles to Havasu Falls and the campground. (The center of town is the only place to buy food or supplies, so if you’re staying at the campground and you think you might need it, buy it—as it’s a long way back.)
When we first saw the falls above, I assumed we’d finally reached Havasu! Nay-nay: these are the Navajo Falls. I was a little disheartened because I was so exhausted and just wanted to be there already. But we hung out here a bit and watched people jump from the top (can you see them in the inset pic above?). Apparently this is common, but I think it is crrraaaazy.
Finally, after hiking some more, we arrived!!
I could tell right away this was the place we had come miles to see: the blue-green, travertine-filled water was a dead giveaway. To be honest, the Falls itself wasn’t quite as majestic as I had pictured it, but the surrounding area was definitely tropical-looking (these pics don’t do it justice really) and felt very much like an oasis. We all took off our shoes and soaked our feet in the water for a bit, before heading to the campground—which was just around the corner (a half mile).
We were the last ones in, but still found a sweet little spot along the Havasu Creek to pitch our tents. I know we all would’ve preferred to stay at the Lodge had it not been booked, but in hindsight I’m glad we camped. It just felt more … charming. We slept through a surprisingly warm and windy night, and got up super early the next morning to do the whole thing all over again—in reverse (which only took an hour longer). Definitely felt like an accomplishment. And I think we earned our french fries.