Havasupai: 6 tips to know before you go, by Jason Huckeba
So, you were finally able to get those coveted Havasupai Falls permits. Congratulations, as they are among the hardest of backcountry permits to get. As of 2019 there are a couple of changes. A 4 Days / 3 Nights maximum stay has been implemented. Here are six tips to making the most of your trip to Havasupai Falls:
1. Prepare yourself
If you are hiking in and not taking the Helicopter, this is going to be very important. It is eight miles from the parking area at Hilltop to the town of Supai, and then another two miles to the campground. If you go to all the waterfalls, you are looking at hiking between 30-35 miles on this trip. Your pack needs to fit and be correctly adjusted to be comfortable. Make sure you pack correctly, the weight should be evenly distributed, and don’t overpack. This is not the place to try out new gear that you have not previously used. Most importantly, take a few training hikes, in the weeks leading up to your trip. By doing so, you can rest assured that when you get to the trailhead you know that you are not only physically ready for the challenge but also familiar with your gear.
2. Picking a campsite
Havasupai campground is located just past Havasu Falls. There are no designated sites. The campground is about a mile long with suitable sites on either side of Havasu Creek, from the Ranger Station to just before Mooney Falls. You are welcome to set up camp anywhere within the campground area that is safe and respectful of the land and your fellow campers. I have found that the sites across the creek from the main trail seem to be the least crowded. My favorite sites are across from the last bathroom.
3. Gear you don’t want to forget
- Sunscreen and bug spray - You never know when the bugs will come out, and sunscreen is always an essential piece of gear. Bug bites and sunburn can spoil a great trip.
- Hiking shoes - Make sure they're broken in and comfortable.
- Water shoes/sandals - Once at camp, you’ll be in and out of water the whole time you are there. Water shoes are indispensable for hiking around camp and walking in the water.
- Dehydrated meals - Dehydrated meals are a great option. There are no campfires in Havasupai, so a convenient option would be to use a canister fuel stove or JetBoil to boil water for meals. With many new entrees to choose from, you are sure to find some that taste great...
- Gold Bond Powder - You do not want chaffing to ruin a fun trip.
4. Enjoy the views
There are many waterfalls and sights to see in Havasupai. You will have up to 4 days to explore while you are camping. Take your time and enjoy the magical blue waters. There is no right or wrong way to explore, but I will suggest that you not miss the hike to Beaver falls. The hike to Beaver falls is a fun adventure with river crossings and many swimming holes along the way.
5. Store your food properly
Beware the demon squirrels. They will chew through and destroy your tent and packs to get your food. They can jump to improperly hung bear bags and have been known to chew through paracord to drop even a properly hung bear bag. Your safest bet is to store ALL food, smellables, and trash in a bear container, Ursack, or one of the five gallon Home Depot type buckets from the ranger station (limited quantities- first come first served).
6. Pack out what you pack in
There are no trash cans or bins at the campsites. Be prepared to pack out all trash and float toys that you brought in. Do not leave your trash at camp, or inside the restrooms.
Have fun! Enjoy, you’re in Paradise!