'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 camping reservation and permit (including new prices) updates, lodge reservations, 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 either already made a reservation or want to check for free spots in between (before next year):
- 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? You can check for cancellations from others as after February/March there are no more spots available via standard reservation: Create an account (see below) on their website. Now, 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!
- Haven't made Havasupai Lodge reservation yet? Almost like with the campground, the lodge is sold out quickly. For the lodge, everything is still done via phone (no online reservation). You need to call them and ask if there are any cancellations. For more details read our main text below.
No time to read our full guide in the main text below? Here, you'll find a quick guide. Please keep in mind, that these tips are for a campground reservation every February. However, it's good to know how everything works anyway:
- Create an account at www.havasupaireservations.com, which you probably already did
- Why create an account? Since 2019 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 Havasupa on Amazon ('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.
'I was totally blown away by the natural beauty'
'Amazing and almost other-worldly, we enjoyed every second'
Read our detailed guide to find out the best time to visit Watkins Glen State Park and enjoy the spectacular views of the Gorge Trail without the massive crowds. Additionally, you'll find a great review and tips by a local as well 10 Must-Know Tips (scroll down) you should read before your visit. This Watkins Glen State Park guide answers every one of your questions and has received a huge update in 2019. Don't forget to check out our hotel tips below.
LAST MINUTE TIP OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019: Book one night at a nearby hotel (within walking distance)! Why? The stunning Gorge Trail is open until late October, probably even throughout the first week of November. That means: It will be very crowded and busy for the last few weeks, even worse on weekends! Staying in a hotel the night before your park visit, means you will be at the park entrance early enough BEFORE the crowds arrive. Book in advance if possible. Otherwise you'll risk fully booked accommodations and an unpleasant park visit! Check our Hotel Tips below.
Highlights (Gorge Trail - Flow - Fall Foliage)
Waktins Glen State Park - Autumn by Andy Arthur, CC BY
Gorge Trail: The Gorge Trail offers the most stunning experience and gorgeous views of the waterfalls and all the caves. The trail is open from mid-May until late October. It's usually closed from the beginning of November. Depending on the weather it could be a little earlier or later. UPDATE 2019/Early October: It's not guaranteed, but the Gorge Trail should be open until the first week of November. However, it all depends on the weather! For daily updates check the official website: Watkins Glen State Park - New York State
Flow: There are a total of 19 waterfalls in the park. The peak flow is usually in spring. Especially with a strong flow, you can feel the earth tremble even more while standing next to or behind a waterfall. The flow gets worse in summer and often better during the months of fall.
Autumn Foliage: In the fall Watkins Glen State Park offers a beautiful show of fall foliage with vibrant displays of gold, scarlet, and orange. The best time for the fall colors is usually early October until mid-October.
Avoiding the Crowds
Summer (mid-June until August) brings the most tourist crowds. It's ridiculously busy, especially on weekends. The trail itself is packed as well as the entrance area and the parking lot. Regardless of the season, you should go early in the morning and on a weekday. Be there after sunrise right before the gate opens at 8:30 AM: Official Website - Opening Hours. We highly recommend to stay at a nearby hotel (see below), hike the Gorge Trail first thing in the morning and then choose one of the nearby activities. Alternatively, you may dodge crowds when you arrive in the late afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m. However, it's usually still busy later in the day on weekends during the peak months of July and August.
Spring and fall usually bring very pleasant weather conditions. A mild climate and often average temperatures up to 70°F (21°C) can be experienced in May and September. In the summer it doesn't get too hot with average highs of 82°F (28°C). However, the short but strenuous hike uphill can be a challenge for some visitors in the summer. The area also has some slightly muggy months. The least humid month is April and the most humid time is late August and early September. Winter brings the coldest conditions. In January temperatures range between 15°F and 33°F (-9°C and 1°C). The area can receive heavy snowfall, especially in January and February. Detailed Monthly overview: Watkins Glen Weather
Sweet Spot Months
Best months without the massive summer crowds, great views, open Gorge Trail and pleasant weather: mid-May until early-June or September (after Labor Day) until late October. But still, try to avoid weekends or go early. It's worth it!
Winter Months (Special)
The beautiful gorge trail is closed in the winter. However, the Indian Trail (read below for more details) is accessible and cuts across the gorge: From there you can see many of the waterfalls toward the bottom. A bridge in particular gives you an incredible view of a large part of the winding gorge down there. Even more stunning when the gorge is covered in snow and and ice. Regardless of the closed gorge trail, we'd say it's definitely worth seeing either with everything frozen over and snow covering the cliffs or without. It's also significantly less busy during the winter months. Sometimes you hardly see anyone else.
At least in the northern parts of Illinois, it can be challenging to find a spot to hike with rigor. Starved Rock offers visitors many ways to encounter the great outdoors.
It’s a magical year-round destination for hiking and sightseeing. In summer it’s very special to see the waterfalls after a hard rain, in winter when the falls are frozen. Spring offers the beauty of wildflowers. Fall shows its beauty with yellow, golden and red leaves that are present on the trails.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
The park is a less busy in winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb). Otherwise it’s often heavily crowded in spring, summer and fall. Even more on weekends and national holidays. To beat the crowds: Avoid weekends and be there early. The visitor center opens at 9 AM but you can arrive and park earlier. Another way to avoid the crowds is to hit the trails that are not located in the main hub. The park is large and has many trails where you can ‘hike away’.
Bird Watching Months (Eagles)
Every year, thousands of eagles migrate to the area, they come for the fish found in the cold waters of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The birds begin arriving in late December and stay until March. To spot the eagles and be on the safe side visit in January or February. Park administration says, that depending on the weather, most of the birds are gone in March already.
Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the province of Ontario (Canada) and the state of New York (United States), that form the so
June - August if you would like to ensure a spot on one of the boat tours, winter will bring its own stunning views if you don't mind bundling up. Snowfall in the area can come as early as mid-October. January is a good time to see the falls frozen.
located in the Pocono Environmental Ed Center, check out the Tumbling Waters Trail blazed in Orange.
any season, especially after a rainstorm.....more bugs in late Spring, though
Plitvice is a natural wonder with its terraced crystal clear lakes and plenty of waterfalls. Every season has its unique charm, and the Plitvice Lakes are constant, yet always different.
It's less crowded and hot in June and September which are our favorite months. Peak season in the summer holidays in July and August. Best time of the day is the early morning with perfect sunlight on the picturesque waterfalls and it's also less crowded (park opens at 7 am). In the morning and evening, it's quiet and tranquil.
Park is open all year round, and most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. However, if you don't mind some rain spring or fall the shoulder season are a great time to visit.
Spring is a fabulous time as water levels are high from the melting snow and waterfalls reach their peak flow. Bear in mind if the water level is too high some parts may be closed. Most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. The meadows are full of wildflowers.
- Summer (July & August) can become very hot, and it is the most crowded time of the year. In addition, the water level is lower than at other times in the year.
- Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit when vibrant colors of the changing leaves are just magnificent. Anyhow, rain occurs more often in spring and fall.
Winter, when the park is quiet and beautiful, covered in snow, and the lakes are frozen.
Try to arrive early best before 9 am (the park opens at 7 am) as most of the tourists come around mid-day via bus transfer. As an alternative visit in the afternoon when most tour groups have finished their guided walks, and you can enjoy the tranquility of the park. We recommend staying here minimum two nights. Either chose the Hotel Bellevue with an excellent location inside the park where you are not dependent on transport or one of the many private accommodations nearby. Enter your dates and click on the map. The big advantage you can visit the park already early morning and stay until the gates get closed.
For those who are limited in time or just like to enjoy and relax, there are small group tours available from:
- Split which is a three hours drive but worth the effort. The guide provides you with detailed information and the best photo spots.
- A similar guided tour offered from Zagreb with a stop at the beautiful located village Rastoke. It's a 2 hours drive. The entrance fee is included.
- Zadar which is less than 2 hours drive. You spend roughly four hours in the park.