The views of Horseshoe Bend are just breathtaking. You can stand close to the edges of the cliffs, that drop 1000 ft to the Colorado River.
Horseshoe Bend is a truly magical place at almost any time. Read our tips about the best time for photos and how to avoid the ridiculous crowds:
Time of Day (Photography)
Ask ten people about the best time of day to photograph Horseshoe Bend, and you’ll get ten different answers. Read these quotes if you don’t believe us: Best Time To Visit Horseshoe Bend. Sure, at certain times there might be a lot of shadows in your picture, which you might not like: Sunrise to Sunset Photo Series. However, it’s never bad, just different.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
As a local said: ‘Now, it’s always crowded as hell!’ During daytime, you’ll face tourist crowds year-round. It’s slightly less busy in off-season and shoulder season: From October/November until February. Regardless of the season, it’s always very busy during sunset. Our tips to avoid the crowds:
Be there around 8 AM (maybe a little earlier). This is a perfect time before it starts to get busy. More people arrive between 9-10 AM. After 10 AM it starts to get heavily crowded with tour buses and everyone else arriving.
Be there around sunset. Of course, it’s still super crowded. Wait until the sun goes down and the crowds will start to dissipate almost completely. You’ll have the place almost for yourself. Perfect for stargazing. Carry a flashlight for the short hike back up to the parking lot.
If you head to the extreme left or the extreme right of the viewing point up there, you’ll get away from most others. It’s not the perfect spot in the middle anymore, but you can still take great photos.
Weather Details: (you can switch betwen °C and °F): Page, Arizona Climate Details
Its a little hard to get to...but well worth the effort. The Rock Factory is a really cool place overlooking Lake Powell. Its right off HWY 89 on the way out of Page AZ headed to Kanab.
Not far from Page and best shot in the morning or even better in the evening with clouds in the sky. Some say that a thundery atmosphere in the late afternoon is just excellent for taking photos.
Tips for morning / afternoon shots: The rim blocks the best light until about an hour after sunrise. At sunset the rim also blocks the best light but not as much as after sunrise.
'Absolutely Stunning!' One of the most enchanting places on earth you'll ever visit! In this comprehensive guide, we cover everything. One tip in advance: A great time for hiking and enjoying the scenery with slightly fewer crowds is early spring and late autumn. However, the falls are accessible year round and you should visit whenever you are able to reserve a campsite spot or the lodge. Scroll down for 2019 reservation and permit (including new prices) updates, as well as tips and details for the helicopter ride, camping, and the lodge at the end of this guide!
The mesmerizing falls
Quick tips if you read this in early February 2019:
- Already made a successful reservation? Then we highly recommend booking the night before at Hualapai Lodge or Grand Canyon Caverns Inn (bookmark the link!). Book as fast as possible before no rooms are left for your date. The lodge is in high demand! This is a 1.5 hours drive only to the trailhead from both: Google Maps Hualapai Lodge > Trailhead or Google Maps Grand Canyon Caverns Inn > Trailhead. See #8 and #9 in the sticky note below. Why do this? The trailhead is in the middle of nowhere. You need to get there by car and driving a long distance from any bigger town is too strenuous. Staying at the only accommodation nearby means you can start the hike relaxed in the morning. Read more in our guide below!
- Haven't made a campsite reservation yet? Create an account (see below) on their website. Please note: As of March/April 2019, there are no more spots available through the standard reservation process! However, there might be spots available via their online cancellation list! You still need to create an account (see below) on their website to access the list online and make a booking. You may log in every other day and check for any other cancellation throughout the year!
No time to read our full guide below? Want to make a campsite reservation for 2019? These are the must-know quick tips if you read this before February 1. Except for steps 3-5 everything else is still valid after February 2019. You can still create an account and check the cancellations (see above).
- Create an account at www.havasupaireservations.com, which you probably already did
- Why create an account? This year campsite reservations are only(!) possible with an online account. No phone calls, no emails!
- Log in to your account on Friday, February 1 before 8 a.m. Arizona Time. Couldn't make it? Log in as soon as you can on this day or in early February. (maybe a few spots are left) It seems as if it took most users between 20 minutes and 2 hours of refreshing the website until they were able to start the reservation on February 1.
- Then select the number of persons (max 12)
- Select your start date. Be quick and flexible since thousands of others are trying to make a reservation at the same time. Summer months will be sold out first as usual
- How long to stay? This year it's fixed: 3 nights (4 days). No more, no less
- The total price for the 3 nights is between $300 and $375 per person (weekends nights cost slightly more than nights during the week)
- Immediately(!) after you made your campsite reservation, book this place to stay the night before: Hualapai Lodge (save/bookmark the link!). Be quick after you made the campground reservation before no rooms are left for your desired date. It's in high demand as it's the closest place where you can (and should) spend the night before your hike. Why? You cannot hike this trail in the boiling midday heat! And even in slightly cooler early spring or late fall an overnight stay before is highly recommended. It's only a 1.5 hours drive (>directions via Google Maps) to the trailhead (or helipad) from the Hualapai Lodge
- Alternative to #8: Stay at the 'Grand Canyon Caverns Inn' the night before. It's also only a 1.5 hours drive to the trailhead (> directions via Google Maps). Save the link and book your night immediately after your campsite reservation: Grand Canyon Caverns Inn
- In case you had an issue with a campsite reservation process, please email email@example.com. They promise to get things fixed for you! Please do not call them.
- This year the campground reservation is transferrable. However, only through their online system which will be active a few days after February 1. It's not allowed to sell a reservation somewhere else. You'll be banned forever from Havasu Falls if you do it
- What about the lodge? That is booked completely separate from the campground. 2019 is sold out already. Reservations for 2020 open up in summer. Scroll down for more info
- Driving: Since Hualapai Hilltop (the trailhead/helipad) is in the middle of nowhere, no one will take you there (no shuttle or anything similar). You need a car! Definitely book a rental car right after campsite reservation to get a better deal and start your trip without any worries. You'll save a lot of money with pre-booking well in advance! Don't make the mistake and rent one at the airport or just before the trip. Pro Tip: Use rentalcars.com (> save the link) as they offer Alamo, Enterprise, Thrifty and Avis at the lowest rates!
Special Tip: There is one guidebook we highly recommend for 'Havasupai Falls'. It's 'Exploring Havasupai'. It has insider tips and really fascinating background information. It also identifies many new hikes, mines, springs, and historical sites never revealed before. It includes detailed maps, trail descriptions, amazing photographs, as well as intriguing historical insights. You'll love it: Exploring Havasupai ('the best Havasupai guidebook ever!')
Another Tip: Check out our amazing article for hiking THE WAVE (in Arizona). This one of the most stunning hikes and a once in a lifetime experience! You'll learn everything, including unique tips on how to win a permit.
Please note, that everything in this article is thoroughly researched, updated and double checked. We know that articles on other websites haven't been updated for a while. We are up to date (2018/2019).
March - April - May
The climate is pleasant and great for hiking. Although theoretically already fully booked, the trail and the campground are often slightly less busy in March. The average temperature in March: 40-70°F (5-21°C) with an advantage: No bugs! The only downside this month: Not warm enough for swimming at times and no blooming fauna and trees yet. In April and May, trees turn green and it gets warmer, which is better for swimming but it’s also more crowded already.
June - July - August
It gets hot. Up to 100°F (38°C). You need to start your hike early in the morning otherwise it can become unbearable. Swimming is excellent with these temperatures outside. The downside: It’s peak season and the place is heavily crowded. You’ll also meet many others on the trail. July and August are monsoon months: There is a chance of thunderstorms and flash floods.
Pleasant and still very warm, but another quite busy month. Again, start your hike early! Also, thunderstorms and flash floods can still happen until mid-September.
October - November
In October it’s still pleasant without the summer heat: 48-77°F (9-25°C). Especially until mid-October, it's perfect for swimming and hiking: It’s hot enough to get wet all day and cold enough to wear a light sweater. In November temperatures drop to 37-63°F (3-17°C), but it’s still a great month and less busy. However, many report it's not pleasant for swimming any more (read the weather section below).
December - January - February
Means visiting in the winter. It's low season but everything is definitely accessible. However, it's too cold for swimming. Not very pleasant for camping as well. It can get freezing cold during the night, especially in Dec/Jan: 30-53° (-1-11°C). The lodge might be the better choice. However, if you don't mind the cold during the night: It's a great time for a much quieter, pure nature and hiking experience with less tourists. In February it’s still less busy and already a little warmer. Update for season 2018/2019: The campground will be closed in December 2018 and January 2019.
Weather and Water
The chart below shows daytime temperature details for each month. Please note, that the displayed temperatures are average highs. Especially during the night, it gets a lot colder. The only reliable historic weather source for Havasupai is: Western Regional Climate Center
What about the water temperature for swimming? In pleasant months like March or late Oct/Nov, visitors report they can’t enjoy swimming, even though the water temperature itself is 70°F year round. That's because of the much colder outside temperature during these months. The best time to enjoy the water and swimming is April until September.
‘Breathtaking! And when you see it in life it’s just epic in its proportions!’
Monument Valley is not a National Park. It’s a Navajo Tribal Park with a stunning desert like landscape in Arizona and an excellent year-round destination. Seasons with pleasant weather and without a lot of traffic on the scenic drive are early spring (late March/April) and late autumn (October). Cooler but very quiet months are the winter months from November until March. Read on for more season details (spring -summer - fall - winter), the best ‘WHEN TO GO’ tips and our detailed hotel and camping guide.
Weather and Visitation
Despite the possibility for extreme weather conditions with some very hot days in the summer and a few colder times in the winter, most days of the year are quite suitable for an enjoyable visit. Due to the higher elevation of 5200 feet it’s a little cooler in general. The Wind is a major force in the valley. Even in the warmer months of spring and fall, bring an extra layer of cloth as it can get chilly in the mornings or late evenings. Light rain gear is also a good idea.
April - May (Spring)
The average maximum daytime temperature in April is a pleasant 19°C (66°F). In May it gets warmer with an average maximum of 25°C (77°F). That means both months are perfect for a visit. Most April visitors report, that it’s still quiet most of the time. In May it gets busier but still not heavily crowded. Keep in mind that particularly from April into June it’s often more windy than usual and it can become horrible dusty due to heavy winds.
June - July - August (Summer)
Clear, warm, sunny days and cool nights make this a delightful season to visit. July and August bring the warmest conditions, with temperatures in the 90s (over 33 °C) but rarely exceed 100 °F. The Visitor Center, as well as the scenic drive, become very busy during these summer months. Always check the weather forecast for occasional summer thunderstorms, especially from July to mid-September.
September - October (Autumn)
Still warm in September and pleasant temperatures in October. Autumn provides some of the most stable weather of the year. Keep in mind that in September even after labor day the scenic drive and the Visitor Center are often still busy. In October the crowds get smaller and there is less traffic on the road.
November - March (Winter / Early Spring)
Mild cold weather conditions start around mid-November. Snow conditions start later around mid-December and can last until February/early-March. Even in the winter, temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) are rare. But still, a warm coat is highly recommended. The valley only receives an occasional light snowfall and sometimes snowstorms in the winter. However, the snow melts usually within a day or two. Most visitors report that it's no problem to drive with almost any kind of car in the colder months. Winter is the perfect time for solitude without the crowds and low prices. Lucky visitors can see the valley and rock formations dusted in snow. Later in early spring, March is a great month without the holiday crowds and temperatures get more pleasant as they can rise up to 60°F (15°C), nights and mornings are still cool and chilly though.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds (Visitor Center / View Hotel / Scenic Drive)
Crowds in Monument Valley means a busy road while driving the scenic loop, many tourists at the Visitor Center and a fully booked View Hotel. The busiest months are from May to September with a peak in the summer months: late June, July and August. (The ‘official peak-season’ with different opening times is from April through September) If you plan to stay at ‘The View Hotel’ in high season, book well in advance. Also, keep in mind that the hotel rates are at their highest. Sometimes there are even busy days / weekends on the road in April or October. However, most visitors experience a rather quiet drive in early spring or late autumn and real solitude in the winter. During busier months the traffic starts to pick up around 10 AM. That means you can’t just pull over and take pictures at will because of the traffic and dust. In peak season the major viewpoints are crowded resulting in big traffic jams. Avoid those busy times by starting early in the morning with less traffic and less dust. Even in early spring and late fall, you’ll benefit by heading out at breakfast time. Avoid weekends and try to go on a weekday. Another option is to visit in the cooler months or even in the winter: It’s colder, but especially in December, January and February you’ll experience peace and solace. November (up to 12°C / 54°F) as well as March (up to 14°C / 57°F) bring more pleasant temperatures but it’s still much quieter than during busier months.
Another possible alternative to get away from the crowds during high season: Either take the self-guided hike on the Wildcat-Trail (see below) in the morning or purchase one of the Navajo tours for smaller groups. Some visitors book a tour for their family group only. Further reading on seasons and crowds: Some interesting and useful ‘when to go’ statements on TripAdvisor Peak vs Off-Season
Time of Day (Sunrise/Sunset)
Sunrise is not only the best time to dodge the crowds and avoid a busy road, it’s also a magical moment. To experience a stunning sunrise in the winter or late fall, stay at The View Hotel as you can't get into the park before 8 AM in off-season from the outside. In peak season they open at 6 AM. However, most visitors say, that watching the sunrise from the View Hotel is priceless regardless of the season. If you can, stay until sunset as well. It’s spectacular and unforgettable! Quote from our user Ray Downs: “Sunrise is great everywhere and sunset is best from the parking lot of the view hotel parking lot...that is where the banner photo was taken.” Check sunrise and sunset in advance here: Sunrise - Sunset Times Monument Valley