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Hiking to Havasu Falls

  • Feb 16, 2018

Each year, hundreds of visitors make the trek to the Supai village in the Havasu Canyon to witness the breathtakingly blue waterfalls and immerse themselves in this desert oasis. Making the hike to this Havasupai Indian Reservation requires lots of planning, according to the National Park Service. For example, no day hiking is allowed and all hikers need permits.

Before you begin to plan your journey, here is what you need to know:

1. Plan ahead
Like many long hikes throughout the country, extensive future planning is required for Havasu Falls. Administered by the Havasupai Tribe, the land can only hold a certain number of campers at one time and in an effort to maintain the reservation, the number of permits offered each year is limited, the National Park Service explained. This year, the online system for booking opened at 8:00 AM Arizona time on Feb. 1 and in a matter of hours, all of the available permits and reservations were filled. 

2. Mind the heat
With full reservations throughout the entire camping season, many hikers will attempt the trek in the middle of summer. As the official site of the Havasupai Tribe noted, temperatures during this time of year can rise well above 100 degrees. To keep track of rising temperatures, use your PRG650YBE-3 PRO TREK watch, fully equipped with thermometer. To ensure safety and reduce the risk of dehydration, hiking during the cool parts of the day - early morning and early evening - is highly recommended. 

It's important to note that there is no water available on the trail, noted the source. As such, each hiker should have one gallon of water with them before beginning the trek. Frequent breaks are advised, especially when the temperatures are this high. Be sure to take your breaks in the shade and drink plenty of fluids. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must.

3. Bring the right gear
One of the most important things is to ensure your hiking boots are broken in, Mike Sith explained. From the beginning of the hike at Hualapai Hilltop to the camping site, the trail is just about 10 miles one way and can take several hours. Wearing a new pair of hiking boots will not suit you well in these conditions. Moreover, you'll want to ensure you have plenty of water with you. The hike can be quite grueling, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest. 

As there is no day hiking allowed, all hikers venturing to the falls camp for at least one night. Many opt to stay for several nights to explore the surrounding falls and canyons. As such, a backpack with a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, cookware and stove or fuel is also necessary, according to Mike Sith. Ready-to-eat meals, snacks and cooking utensils are also needed.

4. Be respectful
Though it may go without saying, being respectful of the land is required. As the Bearfoot Theory explained, minding the rules, being respectful of the local Havasupai people and taking care of the trails and land is essential. This means picking up after yourself and taking all trash and belongings with you. There is no alcohol permitted on the Havasupai reservation and all hikers and campers are expected to follow this law. The locals have chosen to share their home with hikers and as such, all visitors must be respectful of their rules and traditions.  

5. Check out the surrounding falls
As the National Park Service explained, the word Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters. The beauty of these waterfalls is one of the biggest draws to this reservation and well worth the exhausting hike, in the opinion of all those who venture there. 

Once you have settled into your campsite, be sure to explore the other surrounding Havasupai waterfalls. Mooney Falls, the largest of them all, can be reached by a very technical trail that drops down into a canyon, about a 1/2 mile from the campsite, according to Mike Sith. It is advised that this part of the trail is approached with care. Here, the pool below the falls is a truly rich blue color. From there, you can continue another three miles to Beaver Falls. Water shoes are recommended as you'll spend a lot of time crossing through a river.

Start planning your adventure to these beautiful waterfalls today.

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