Havasupai is an Indian Reservation in the southwestern part of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. In English, the reservation’s name means, “people of the blue-green waters.” The Havasupai natives are an isolated community within the canyon and receive supplies from the outside through mule and helicopter deliveries.
The area is filled with majestic, blue waterfalls, including Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls. There are countless, deep cave and water holes to explore, numerous hiking trails to embark on, and several campgrounds to choose from. With all the exciting opportunities to consider, now’s the time to start Havasupai Falls trip planning!
Enter “Havasupai Campground Parking Lot, hilltop,” into Google Maps. It’s about a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas to the hilltop, with no gas station or cell service in the last hour of the drive. The parking area is known as Hualapai Hilltop; it’s where the trailhead begins. There are no services of any kind, including gas, water, food, and lodging. It’s a safe place to leave your vehicle while you explore the Grand Canyon.
The campground along Havasu Creek is a 16 km (10 mi) hike down the trailhead from the Hualapai Hilltop. It serves 250 people at a time, so reservations book quickly. The campground has a spring you can drink from, a ranger’s station and well-kept toilets that have wood chips to keep the smell down.
In the village of Supai ― 13 km (8 mi) from the hilltop ― is one lodge with 24 rooms that feature double beds. Rates are $145 a night for up to four people. Guests find breakfast, lunch, and dinner available at the Havasupai Cafe near the lodge.
Let’s say you enjoy the great outdoors, that camping and hiking is your thing. You also appreciate the earth, meeting new people, and having a good time, and maybe you practice yoga. Now, imagine going to camp with your friends or people with similar interests. Add an incredible background, plus tons of fun, active entertainments. You have now ventured into the magical land and brainchild of Heidi Hong and Ryan Blackstock: The Xanadu Life.
The Xanadu Life hosts epic adventures that cultivate deep connectivity through wellness, education, and green living. Xanadu is a catalyst for leaders, young professionals, and entrepreneurs for cross-pollinating ideas while cultivating meaningful conversations. Basically, they create a playground for happy, healthy connections.
With Heidi’s beautiful yogi aura and Ryan’s quick-witted yet easy-going attitude, the gracious hosts complement each other well. I felt as if I was at a wellness retreat with my friends, where every day was an adventure. I heartily advise you to book their next event at The Xanadu Life.
Traveling to Havasupai is about finding yourself and embracing the love of others. Take an early hike up the Colorado River with your newfound friends. Do Acroyoga back at camp with a partner. Explore deep, dank caves, as you keep an eye out for scorpions. Connect with nature when you build up enough courage to climb the Havasu Falls and jump into the water. Before your trip ends, engage in deep meditation, thanking yourself for choosing to come in the first place.
Helicopter flights between Hualapai Hilltop and Supai Village are available Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, weather permitting. Fees vary, and tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I paid $85 for a one-way trip from the village to the hilltop.
Horses and mules for riding and carrying supplies are available from Hualapai Hilltop to Supai and the campground. Prices range from $75 (one-way) to $150 (round trip), plus 10% tax. Deciding how to carry your belongings is a crucial part Havasupai Falls trip planning. The animals help greatly with carrying cumbersome backpacks and supplies.
The Xanadu Life created a perfect itinerary packed full of activities that everyone in our group enjoyed. The laid-back schedule allowed my journey to be both a personal and spiritual connection with nature and a positive emotional connection with people in the group. Below is my personal itinerary for the week I spent using my iPhone as a camera and a notepad.
We drove four hours on Route 66, from Las Vegas to our meeting place at the top of the Grand Canyon ― for epic photo ops. We also enjoyed a plentiful picnic and, later, a bonfire. Some of us pitched tents. I slept in the car to keep my backpack ready to go for the 4 am wake up call.
At 4 am, we put on our headlamps ― although we didn’t use them ― and started the 16 km (10 mi) trek with a 762 m (2500 ft) descent deep into the canyon. The Canyon walls grew taller as I descended deeper into the labyrinth of red sandstone until the Canyon widened to around eight miles, and the vegetation turned lush near the village of Supai. Supai is one of the most remote villages in the US, where even the mail still arrives by packhorse. There is one school, one restaurant, one grocery store, and a small lodge.
Hiking further down the trail, we pass Navajo Falls 21 m (70 ft), Rock Falls 10 m (35 ft), and Havasu Falls 33 m (110 ft). Under Havasu Falls, we set up camp next to a small river, which was perfect for swimming, relaxation, and bathing. I made my first MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) and added too much water, turning my mushroom risotto into mush soup.
After eating, we walked to Havasu Falls, climbed up the falls and jump in, and explored the surrounding area. Back at camp, we made dinner together, did acro yoga, and enjoyed a massage for our aching, post-hike bodies. I slept in my hammock, staring up at the Canyon walls, watching the stars.
I have a quick bath in the stream next to camp. I make an apple quinoa breakfast MRE and Green Tea. The group paints each other and applies flash tattoos, as we geared up and hiked to Mooney Falls. The hike is a vertical 61 m (200 ft) climb down the falls through caves. It got wet halfway down, and the stepladder became slippery. We hiked through a jungle to Beaver Falls, which has a rope to traverse to get to the bottom. I love the swimming hole there. We hiked back just in time to watch the sunset, do yoga, and share our MRE’s.
I woke up pleasantly from my hammock slumber to Bob Marley blasting, as the group was cooking breakfast. I did laundry in the stream, using my dry bag and biodegradable soap. We geared up and hiked to Havasu Falls, where we relaxed in the beautiful, warm waters.
After drying off, we explored the vast caves in the Canyon, marveling at the crystals in the walls. Back at camp, we did Acro yoga and prepared food. The night turned into a dance party, as we twirled glow sticks and listened to music. Once again, it was bedtime under the stars, rocking to sleep in my hammock.
Wake up time was 5 am to hike to where the Colorado River meets the Havasupai River, past the 61 m (200 ft) Mooney Falls decent, and past the Beaver Falls traverse. Through the lush jungle, we ran and climbed mountains and got our feet wet, as the trail zigzagged through the water.
We came across a dangerous-looking rope over a 22 m (75 ft) cliff. There is another way to get down, but it would’ve taken us an hour to find it, so we decided to descend using the rope. This is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced climber. You don’t have a safety net.
We arrived at a clearing just before the warm, crystal blue water of the Havasupai meets the hunter green, cold water of the Colorado River. We found huge trout. We waded in the water and speared fish for lunch. Along the fast-paced Colorado River, we put our feet in, relaxed, and did yoga on the rocks. We cooked our fish and admired the diverse scenery of the Colorado River.
By no means easy, the hike is almost 20 miles round trip. There’s lots of rock climbing, walking through water, and climbing over cliffs involved. 13 hours later, we made it back to camp and ate dinner. We made jewelry out of the crystals we found. I was exhausted and retreated to my hammock, thankful to have made it back after rock climbing and repelling up and down cliffs.
I woke up later than usual and enjoyed a day of leisure, resting my body from the adventure. I went to Navajo Falls and Havasu Falls and snapped pictures at the top of Mooney Falls. I ventured into a cave that said “danger” near the entrance, expecting to find either diamonds or a bobcat. In the late afternoon, I played games with friends. The rain sprinkled for a bit, then the clouds gave way to an electric sunset. We had a group dinner and talked about our adventures and lives, then enjoyed the last night under the canyon stars.
Wake up time was 5 am to hike 3 km (2 mi) uphill to the Supai Village. We got a helicopter ride to the hilltop, where our cars were parked. We returned home, slowly returning to normal life and applying lessons we learned while hiking through this surreal stretch of geography.