While Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls are not actually in Grand Canyon National Park, they ARE located in a side canyon on the southern rim of Grand Canyon about 75 miles (and at least 2 1/2 hours) from the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Village.
Many people have seen photos of the turquoise waterfalls and just have to visit them. They are hauntingly beautiful, but there are certain things you should know when planning your trip.
These tropical-looking waterfalls are all located within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Because it isn’t in the national park, there are different rules, regulations, and permit systems.
The village of Supai is located about 8 miles down Hualapai Trail and must be passed through to get to the campground another two miles away. The community is comprised of about 450 people. The office for checking into the campground is located in Supai.
The office hours are: April through October, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and November through March, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. If you are staying at the Lodge, you do not need to stop at this office. Go directly to the lodge for check-in. All fees charged are subject to a 10% tribal tax. Things change often with the Havasupai, so be sure to verify rates and regulations before your arrival.
The National Park Service has an excellent informational page on the Havasupai Indian Reservation which covers hiking from Hualapai Hilltop to Supai and Mooney Falls. Again, this area is NOT in Grand Canyon National Park; they are providing this information as a public service only.
Be forewarned that communications are not the tribe’s strong suit! There is often nobody answering the phone or it is forever busy. However, be aware that they now have a policy that if you show up without a reservation, you will be forced to hike out. This was implemented starting in 2016. This makes for a long, hard day; do not attempt it!
The good news is that the tribe has implemented a new online system as of 2019.
- Online Reservations – Havasupai / Havasu Falls Campground Reservations
- (928) 448-2141
- (928) 448-2121
- (928) 448-2180
I do know that one night I was there in the spring of 2004, the campground was overbooked by 100 people!!! And even when it’s not considered overbooked, it is packed from spring through fall. The number of people allowed in the campground is 250! The campground does not have designated sites, so tents are pitched “at large” and are fit where ever they can.
The Tribe has a 24-room inner canyon lodge. The lobby hours are quite limited (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day), so you’ll want to make sure you get there in time for check-in. I’ve been told the rooms are basic but clean. The rooms have two double beds, a private bath and air-conditioning. Don’t expect TV or telephone though! The rooms are all non-smoking.
Lodging Reservations By Phone Only:
- (928) 448-2111
- (928) 448-2201
- Lobby Hours: 8 am – 5 pm
- Open 7 Day a Week
The Havasupai people have offered horses for riding in and out of their village in the past, but this information has been taken off of the official site. Most likely this is due to the horrible press of abuse and neglect of their animals. It was so bad, it gained national attention and even a website, Save Havasupai Horses, to educate the public of the plight of the animals. So, the service may be available, but please think twice before hiring horses.
Pack mules are available for hauling gear in and out of the village. Pack animals come with the same concern as the horses above.
If you MUST use a pack mule, please note that reservations are required in advance. You can find more information on the Official Havasupai Tribe website’s Pack Mule page.
Airwest Helicopters provides transportation from Hilltop (the trailhead) to Supai and vice versa during certain times of the week and year.
Passengers are accommodated on a first come, first serve basis. Airwest will continue flying until everyone is accommodated or until it gets dark. It’s important arrive as early as possible to get a good spot in line.
Havasupai Helicopters Schedule
March 15 to October 15
Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm
Monday: 10 am to 1 pm
Thursday: 10 am to 1 pm
Friday: 10 am to 1 pm
October 16 to March 14
Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm
Friday: 10 am to 1 pm
As you may have already gathered from what I’ve said above, don’t expect a “wilderness” experience when visiting Havasu. Depending on the time of year, sometimes you’ll get people who are there to party. That same night that the campground was overbooked by 100 people, there were jokers up with their boom boxes blasting away and playing Frisbee at 1:00 in the morning! One of the Frisbees actually hit one of the tents in my party, and they weren’t in the least apologetic.
That being said, the waterfalls (Havasu, Navajo, and Mooney in particular) are exquisite and worth one visit in your lifetime. Many people can handle it more than I can—go for it!
I recommend reading some trip reports by others to get a well-rounded view of what a hike into Havasu is like. Here is one with some gorgeous photos:
There are many more great trip reports out there. Visit my Trip Reports page to find more links. Happy Trails!
Distances for various destinations are as follows:
|Trail Distances (one way)||Miles||Kilometers|
|Hualapai Hilltop to Supai||8||13|
|Supai to campground||2||3|
|Hualapai Hilltop to campground||10||16|
|Campground to Mooney Falls||0.5||0.8|
|Mooney Falls to Colorado River||8||13|