Grand Canyon Journals

Havasupai: the OTHER Grand Canyon

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to Grand Canyon by Ben the Grate

Supai Lodge Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona More Photos
Quote: There's a place in the Grand Canyon where jungle swallows the desert, and a crystal clear river of cool water thunders over waterfall after waterfall after waterfall. And it sees a fraction of the visitors of the Grand Canyon proper. Where? Havasupai!

Havasupai: the OTHER Grand Canyon

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Overview

Havasu Falls Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Wade in the crystalline cool stream. Climb the cliffs and dive through the sparkling spray into deep blue pools. Munch on a Navajo Taco and the best milkshakes in America at the Supai cafe. Send a postcard from the only post office in America where mail is still shipped on horseback. Trek miles through remote canyon to the Colorado River in one of the most isolated parts of the Grand Canyon. MAKE SURE, if you go in high season, that you have a campground reservation! THIS IS CRITICAL! Call 928-448-2141 to make reservations (keep trying for a few days if you can't get through, the phone lines blow down frequently.) You may be turned around at the end of an 8 mile hike and sent back to your...Read More

Supai Lodge

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Hotel

Supai Lodge Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Historically, Supai Lodge has been just one step above a hostel. However, due to some flooding and the pressure to increase tribal income, the Havasupai Indians have upgraded their lodge and opened a separate unit farther up the canyon. Now accomodations are what you would expect from a small, family run motel on Route 66. Rooms are simple, but have private bath. Electricity is usually reliable if the generator is not broken, and there is hot water...usually. The lodge's rooms are fairly spacious and each has 2 queen beds, no television or telephone (though there is a pay phone at the Visitor's Center that works about half the time). Rates: $125 per room, 2 double...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 24, 2002

Supai Lodge
Supai Village trail
Grand Canyon, Arizona
(520) 448-2111

Havasu Falls Campground

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Hotel

Quote:
There is a primitive campground about 1/4 mile beyond Havasu Falls on the canyon trail. I think it officially accommodates 300, but that is pushed beyond the max during high season. The campground could NOT be more scenic! Your tent will either be pushed right up against the 2000-foot red sandstone cliff of the canyon wall, or across the trail next to deep, clear Havasu Creek. Trees shade every campsite. There IS drinkable water at the campsite coming from Fern Spring, halfway down the campsite against the canyon wall. The tribe says they constantly monitor the quality of the water, but I don't believe it. Still, I never treat the water and it's never made me sick. Ther...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Havasu Falls Campground
Havasu Canyon
Grand Canyon, Arizona
(520) 448-2141

Tribal Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
The Supai Cafe is a charming requirement of a visit to Havasupai. Though the service is legendarily slow, the food here is actually excellent. The cafe specializes in fry bread, which is served piping, melt-in-your-mouth hot. You can get fry bread alone, served like a taco, or served like a desert. I recommend the Navajo Taco, which is a generous helping of beans and meat wrapped up in fry bread. It's about $6 and it will actually feed 2 people unless you're really hungry. The cafe also serves fries, burgers, and delicious breakfasts! You pretty much have to buy a drink here unless you bring your own water. Also legendary here are there ice-cream shakes. Howeve...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 24, 2002

Tribal Cafe
Supai Village trail
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Supai

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Attraction | "Getting There (or...The Hike In)"

Supai Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
The long, hot trudge from the parking lot at Hualapai Hilltop to the village of Supai deep within Havasu Canyon 12 miles distant and 3,000 vertical feet below helps keep Havasupai from being overriden. After all, this is truly one of the 10 most spectacular places in America, quite likely #1. For this amount of scenery, you'll be able to forgive the 400 or so people sharing the campground with you. To reach the trailhead, take I-40 west from Flagstaff, AZ to the town of Seligman, and exit Route 66 west. Drive for 30 miles to a small road on the right hand side marked with a small, unassuming sign "Indian Road 18 - Supai" Turn right here and drive for 60 miles (through elk country) to ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Supai
Havasupai Reservation
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Havasu Falls

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Attraction

Havasu Falls Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
There's just no way to describe Havasu Falls. Virtually every guidebook or video to the Grand Canyon has a picture of her, but less than 1% of Grand Canyon visitors ever get to gaze at her or swim in her crystal blue pool. One of four major falls in the canyon, Havasu is deservedly the most famous. She is 96 feet high with a large emerald pool at her base. Though the signs forbid it, you'll see many local children and brave hikers climbing up through caves behind the falls and diving into the tumultuous water. For the less adventurous, there is a large boulder to the left of the falls that provides an exhilerating 15 foot drop a bit farther away from the thundering spray. There is ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Havasu Falls
Havasu Canyon
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Navajo Falls

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Attraction

Navajo Falls Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Despite the fact that it is the closest of the major falls to the village, Navajo Falls likely receives less visitors than all the others. And I don't know why! It is my favorite of all the waterfalls in the canyon. Flooding has changed the face of the falls each time I've visited, but it's always my favorite. For one thing, it's not just ONE fall. Last time I was there, it was over 6 separate waterfalls tucked away in their own bits of jungle, each with a different character. But one name always comes to mind: "Robinson Crusoe." The top of one of the falls is visible from the trail about 1 mile outside of the village. To get to the base of the falls requires a bit of fancy scram...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Navajo Falls
Havasu Canyon
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Mooney Falls

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Attraction

Mooney Falls Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Mooney, at 200 vertical feet, is the highest falls in the canyon. It is also the most difficult to visit. Reaching the bottom of this spectacular falls involves hiking another mile downcanyon from Havasu to the lip of the cliff, then descending via a cave about 100 feet down, then the rest of the way is straight vertically down, assisted by chains and the occasional wooden ladder. NOT for the light-hearted! But hundreds of people do it each summer and I've never heard of anyone getting hurt. Just be careful. You'll HAVE to descend this dizzy drop to continue on the trail to Beaver Falls and the Colorado River. The pool below Mooney is larger than Havasu'...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Mooney Falls
Havasu Canyon
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Beaver Falls

Attraction

Beaver Falls Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Beaver Falls is not so much a single waterfall as a series of major cascades along Havasu Creek about 4 miles from the campground and 4 miles from the Colorado River.

Getting to Beaver means leaving most of the crowd behind. It also means GETTING WET! The trail crosses the creek about 5 times between Mooney Falls and Beaver.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Beaver Falls
Havasu Canyon
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Havasu Canyon

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Attraction | "Hike to the Colorado River"

Havasu Canyon Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
The trail from the Havasu Falls campground to the Colorado River takes you into the most remote corner of the Grand Canyon, a place accessible only by this brutal trail, or by boat. And since it's so remote, few floating parties actually get down this far. The trail is NOT for the inexperienced! You descend a 200 foot cliff on chains at Mooney Falls, and then make more than 20 crossings of Havasu Creek, which is sometimes almost neck deep. At times, the trail is perched on thin ledges high above the turbid waters. The trail is 16 miles roundtrip and I've heard of people death-hiking this in a day, but I don't recommend it. Take your gear (waterproofed as best you can for the stream...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2002

Havasu Canyon
Havasupai Reservation
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Getting There the Easy Way

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Story/Tip

The Chopper Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Quote:
Now I realize there are a bunch of couch-potato internet-surfer types out there who will look at my pretty pictures of the waterfalls and want to visit. Luckily for you (and not for the rest of us) the Havasupai tribe has made it easy for people of lesser athletic ability to visit their waterfalls. PACK MULES Havasupai is a remote place. And its true remote charm is fully enjoyed only by those who walk. However, if carrying 40 pounds on your back under 110 degree blistering sun for 10 miles doesn't float your boat, you can hire a pack mule to carry the weight for you. A pack mule can carry up to 4 heavy packs for $75 one way ($150 round trip) and you must book one week in a...Read More

Fee Information

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Story/Tip

Quote:
I have a hard time labelling Havasupai as a true budget destination. You're popped for $20 per person to enter the park, and another $10 per person per night to camp. That's $60 for a 4 night stay, and that's before food and gas, and assuming you don't mind carrying 5 days worth of gear on your back! Add a pack mule or a chopper ride and you're forking over CASH, especially if you're taking the family. But frolicking in these falls is worth much more, and you should take heart in knowing that your money is going entirely to the Havasupai people who were forced onto 3400 acres of land. It's a pretty damn BEAUTIFUL piece of land, the other Native American tribes weren't so lucky! But...Read More