Havasu Falls - Havasupai
A great time for hiking and enjoying the scenery with less crowds is early spring and late autumn. However, the falls are accessible year round. Read our detailed monthly guide including weather details and crowd insights:
March - May: The climate is pleasant and great for hiking. Although theoretically already fully booked, the trail and the campground are often less busy in March. Average temperature in March: 40-70°F (5-21°C) and no bugs. The only downside this month: Not warm enough for swimming at times and no blooming fauna / 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 - 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.
September: 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). A perfect month 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.
December - February: ... means visiting in the winter. It's low season but everything is accessible. However, it's definitely too cold for swimming. Not 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. If you don't mind the cold: 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 a little warmer. The convenience of booking the lodge for winter: You don't have to book early. Making a reservation in September/October is sufficient.
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
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 months to enjoy the water and swimming are April until September.
‘One of the most beautiful places!’ Havasu Falls is a once in a lifetime adventure: The waterfalls, the color of that water, the air in that Canyon, clean, crisp, just stunning. The four waterfalls are some of the most impressive in the U.S.: Fifty Foot Falls just one mile north of the Indian town of Supai. Then Navajo Falls, Mooney Falls and the most popular one: Havasu Falls.
It’s usually a three-day adventure: The First day hiking down (8 miles, strenuous), the second day at the falls, then hiking back on the third day. If possible add an extra day. Then you have 2 full days between arrival and departure to explore and enjoy the scenery. A typical trip schedule could be:
- Day 1: Hike down
- Day 2: New Navajo and Havasu
- Day 3: Mooney and Beaver Falls
- Day 4: Hike back or helicopter out
To hike there you'll need a permit, which you’ll only receive by either making A) a campground reservation or B) a reservation for the Havasupai Lodge (phone numbers updated 2017).
A) CAMPGROUND (2 reservation phone numbers): +1 (928) 448-2180 or (928) 448-2237
B) LODGE (2 reservation phone numbers): +1 (928) 448-2111 or (928) 448-2201
As of 2017, it seems as if you can make online reservations now for the campsite (for the lodge, you still need to call): 2017 Havasu Reservations. Prices: $50 entrance fee, $10 environmental fee, $25 per night camping fee. Update Summer 2017: Online reservations are unavailable due to heavy demand.
Reservations for the whole season/year open February 1. Many report that they tried calling for several days in early February without any luck and finally succeeded. It can get frustrating, just keep trying. Don’t write an email, it’s highly unlikely that you get a reservation via email. When you get through, you'll get a confirmation number: Write it down immediately and don't lose it. A great article about getting a permit is written by our user 'Girl on a Hike'. She spent a total of 17 hours on the phone. Read it here: How To Get a Havasupai Permit
Day Hike Without a Permit?
You are not allowed to hike without a permit. The only way to get a permit is to either make a reservation for the lodge or for the campgrounds. Technically you could get a camping permit to save money (vs. the Lodge permit) and then simply try to hike forth and back on one day. However, that would be too strenuous and is not recommended. PLEASE NOTE: As of 2016 you must have a permit booked in advance. It’s no longer possible to show up and pay double to receive a permit.
The hike down begins with a few switchbacks and then a long descent into the canyon. After 8 miles you'll arrive at the village and register at the tourist office. From there it's another 2 miles to the Campground. Between May and September, you need to start early in the morning, because of the extreme heat. Start at least by 6:30 a.m. and bring enough water! Stay at the closest hotel possible: Hualapai Lodge (1,5-hour drive to the trailhead). If you start late, the hike will be a torture in summer. Depending on your fitness level and hiking experience it'll take between 4 and 6 hours until you reach the campsite. Trail details:
- Google Hiking Map: Trailhead > Tourist Office > Campground
- Distances: Trailhead > Village: 8 miles, Village > Campground: 2 miles
- Google Maps Trailhead: Havasupai Trailhead
You can fly in and out via helicopter as well. Some opt to hike down and fly out. We wouldn't fly in, as it's a very rewarding experience to enter the falls after that hike. If you want to fly out, be there early in the morning. Flights start at 10 a.m., but you should be there much earlier (see below). It's not possible to make a reservation, only first come, first served. Even if you arrive early, it's possible that you'll have to wait for many hours. Helicopter details:
- Fly in: Below the trailhead is a broad shelf where the helicopter lands.
- Fly out: Pickup is between the tourist office and the Café.
- Time: Flights start from 10 a.m. (in and out) until everyone has been accommodated or until it gets dark. After 1 p.m. you can't sign-up anymore.
- You have to wait quite a while after signing up. Example: Get there at 9 a.m. and you usually won't fly out before 2 p.m.
- Sign-up is supposed to start between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. However, sometimes the 'sign-up person' shows up 2 hours later. But still, we recommend being there around 7 a.m. Read this review on TripAdvisor - Havasupai - Heli.
- Fee: $85 per person. Pay via credit card or cash only, when you sign-up before the flight.
- Schedule: March 15 - October 15: Su, Mo, Th, Fr. March 16 - October 14: Su, Fr.
Where to Stay
Closest lodging to stay the night before the hike is offered by the Hualapai Lodge. It's only a 67 miles drive to the trailhead which takes about 1,5 hours: Google Maps Directions. The rooms are comfortable and clean. Good breakfast and nice restaurant.
There is only one guidebook we can recommend for 'Havasupai Falls'. It's 'Exploring Havasupai'. This book 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: