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Is it worth it?

London, England...
Level Contributor
95 posts
43 reviews
Is it worth it?

For some this might be a silly question, and the photos I've seen online of Havasu do look stunning, but me and my husband are not used to hiking, and I'm concerned we may be biting off more than we can chew as from the information I've been able to find it looks like quite a long hike and that there really aren't any other options. Am I right in thinking this is the only option? Any advice and information on this would be most appreciated.

For background, We're planning a long trip around parts of America and Canada - covering San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Yosemite, Seattle and Banff National Park. Starting from the South and working our way further North, from March/April time and for anything up to 3 months. Given all the other places we're going, I'm wondering, will we really be missing out on something amazing if we don't see Havasu falls?

If we do want to see Havasu falls, what's the best accommodation option? I understand there are limited options.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,488 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Is it worth it?

The Havasu Falls area (referring to all the falls near Supai) is amazing and there isn't anything else like it. However, you say you are not hikers and I would not recommend a hike like this as a first time extended hiking or backpacking trip. If the limited hiking you are doing is in England - it won't be like the hiking in this area. You will have significant elevation change over just a few miles. You also need to be prepared for complete self -care in a wilderness area as there aren't rangers or other first responders that you can call if you should injure yourself hiking to the village or at the falls. There is a small lodge but this does not eliminate the hike - only the camping. Will you have the appropriate gear (tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment) for other parts of your trip?

There is an off chance that you could use the helicopter but it is set up for residents of the tribe and does not operate daily. You will hear of visitors that were lucky enough to use the helicopter but the is not the usual occurrence - you should be prepared to hike in and out. If you decide you are physically able to do the hike and are prepared, it is definitely worth it.

It will require a minimum of 3-4 nights and likely an additional night in the area after hiking out. Your first night will likely be spent sleeping in your car at Hilltop in order to start your hike at daybreak or shortly after. In addition to hiking to the village to check in, you will need to hike many miles to the falls which you can do in 1-2 days. By "in the area" after the hike I mean Peach Springs approximately 1.5 to 2 hours away before you continue on your journey.

Although you have a considerable amount of time for your trip you have a lot of destinations on your list and they are very spread out. The visit to Supai and the surrounding falls is not an 1-2 day adventure. This part of your trip will likely take a minimum of 5 days. It is an approximately 4-5 hour drive from Grand Canyon. When you look at it on a map, it looks close but there aren't any roads directly to Hilltop and you must use a circuitous route to get there. If you are using map quest or on-line map routing be sure it is taking you on roads that are actually not forest roads or trails. Your route should show you going to Peach Springs (Highway 66) before turning onto Indian Route 18.

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
Level Contributor
17,833 posts
90 reviews
2. Re: Is it worth it?

There are only 2 accommodation options at Supai, the Supai Lodge or camping with no amenities.

But the question for you as above is can you attempt this hike? It is 8 miles from the hilltop to Supai and further to the several falls. It takes a minimum of 3 days/2 nights, first day down, second day at the falls, their day hiking out. And as above additional days in the area the night before and after hiking out.

Also, if you plan to go to national parks, you need advance reservations. Plan your schedule. For GCNP it would be wise to make your reservations as soon as you have dates. Do NOT make them through a travel agency as they will charge you a fee for booking and for cancellation if necessary. Book directly on the web sites for lodging providers for national parks.

For Grand Canyon -

grandcanyonlodges.com/ 5 lodges in the park

visitgrandcanyon.com/ 1 additional park lodge

Edited: 07 November 2016, 22:57
London, England...
Level Contributor
95 posts
43 reviews
3. Re: Is it worth it?

Thank you both for your detailed advice. That's been very helpful. We've got plenty of time for this trip so we can definitely put aside more days for this part, but I think we will have to have a good think about whether we can realistically do the hike there and back, as I'm concerned that our inexperience in hiking and the different terrain and heat might be a push too far. Such a shame as it really looks like such a beautiful spot, and I'm sure well worth the hike (but only if you can manage it!)

Much appreciated both of you!

Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tempe
Level Contributor
2,111 posts
97 reviews
4. Re: Is it worth it?

First, I've never been down to Havasu Falls so maybe I shouldn't be answering. But IMO, if you are asking if you will regret not going, the answer is no. You have many other amazing places on your itinerary and you will be blown away by lots of them and missing one will not be a big deal.

On the other hand, do start walking now to build up. The more you can get away from crowds and out of the touristy areas the better your experience will be.

London, England...
Level Contributor
95 posts
43 reviews
5. Re: Is it worth it?

Thank you! :-)

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
Level Contributor
17,833 posts
90 reviews
6. Re: Is it worth it?

Before you can plan on going to Supai, you must have reservations and a permit. This year most of the year sold out in February. You are not likely to be able to get through from London, and, if you do, it is unlikely that can get specific dates that you might want. You must be very flexible about your plans if you want to go there.

It is possible to make reservations to stay in the lodge now. You will still have difficulty getting through on the phone, and there is no other way.

And back to the hike. If you are not used to hiking, the hike involves a few thousand feet in elevation change, no services, no phone service, no help available. A lot of the hike is pretty rugged. It's not at all like "walking" in the countryside in the UK.

Edited: 17 November 2016, 08:30
Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
9,788 posts
79 reviews
7. Re: Is it worth it?

I was going to suggest a guided backpacking trip as an option for you, but it turns out that neither of the companies that I would recommend, REI Adventures and the Grand Canyon Field Institute, will offer Havasupai trips in 2017. I called REI to ask about this and was informed that it has simply become too difficult to get the permits. He did say there may be other companies that still offer this, but could not actually name any.

London, England...
Level Contributor
95 posts
43 reviews
8. Re: Is it worth it?

Thanks so much for checking out about this for us Enzian, we hadn't thought about a guided backpack option, I have read a lot about the issues with getting permits though so perhaps that won't be an option. Thank you for your efforts though!

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
67,183 posts
250 reviews
9. Re: Is it worth it?

There are so many other great aspects and areas of the Grand Canyon that you can easily access and incorporate into your vacation plan. Do those instead. If you get hooked on the canyon, as many of us are, then you can go home and focus on planning a trip that would be dedicated to Havasu. It's not the kind of place that can be thrown in with an extended multi destination road trip such as yours.

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
9,788 posts
79 reviews
10. Re: Is it worth it?

The beauty of Havasu Falls comes from the contrast between the blue-green water and the red cliffs. There are other, more accessible waterfalls in the Southwest that have water pouring over red cliffs. Although most will lack that extraordinary water color found at Havasu, they are still beautiful.

One example would be Calf Creek Falls in the Escalante Staircase area,which you could visit with a short hike if your drive from Grand Canyon to San Francisco passes through Utah:

Mhttps://utah.com/hiking/calf-creek-falls-lower?TSPD_101_R0=dfed4549f8fb473047ad688932fee815k5D0000000000000000fef10b49ffff00000000000000000000000000005830a558008aa054fd

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