March 30-April 1, 2015: Havasupai Falls

A long time ago, two Israeli Couchsurfers were staying at our house in San Diego and telling us about their travels. They told us about a magical oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert that you can only get to by hiking 10 miles into the Grand Canyon. They said it was by the far the most beautiful place either of them had ever been.

While planning out the U.S. portion of our trip, we decided to take the advice of our Courchsurfers and visit the Havasupai Falls. Probably one of the best decisions we have ever made. I am actually touching up this blog post a few months after our year-long travels have ended and I can still say, without a doubt, that this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We WILL be back.

Miles hiked:        26
Miles driven:       67

The Journey There

To get to Havasupai, you have to hike 10 miles down into the Grand Canyon in the desert heat. The starting point is at the Hualapai Hilltop, where you can leave your car for multiple nights. To get there from the Grand Canyon’s south rim, Google presented us with the below two options:

Havasupai, Journey There - 1

Although we were slightly suspicious of the highlighted route (I mean, it’s 130 miles shorter but only an hour less!), we decided it was the more logical approach, both time-wise and gas-wise. We are on a budget after all! Lo and behold, this turned out to be an exhilarating yet slightly terrifying off-roading adventure through No Man’s Land and some dude’s ranch, which was off-limits, but whatever. We break rules. A primitive road for a primitive man:

Havasupai, Journey There - 2

We stumbled upon this abandoned railroad:

Havasupai, Journey There - 3

And this abandoned car:

Havasupai, Journey There - 4

“And behind door number 2…”

Havasupai, Journey There - 5

These were the “good” roads…

Havasupai, Journey There - 6

After 3.5 hours of high-anxiety driving (there were actually a couple times where we weren’t even sure the car would make it), we finally arrived. Samsonite sure was relieved:

Havasupai, Journey There - 7

The Descent

Beginning our 2,500 ft. descent into the canyon:

Havasupai, The Descent - 1

Havasupai, The Descent - 2

Clearly, tons of effort was put into the making of this sign:

Havasupai, The Descent - 3

It was a beautiful, easy, 10 mile hike downhill. Nonetheless, we were very eager to get there quickly to find a good spot to set up camp (we heard the sites fill up very fast!):

Havasupai, The Descent - 4

Snow in the desert?!?!?! JK. Obviously. It was some sort of flower or pollen. We’re not sure. But it was cool, so we took pictures.

Havasupai, The Descent - 5

We made it to the Havasupai Village (more pictures of the village later in the post)!

Havasupai, The Descent - 6

Our first waterfalls!! These beauties on the right are the Supai Falls and the first you meet on the descent from the village down into the campgrounds:

Havasupai, The Descent - 7

The Havasu Falls… almost at the campground!

Havasupai, The Descent - 8

Look at that excitement!

Havasupai, The Descent - 9

We made it to the campsite! After wandering up and down the 2-mile long campground, we finally found ourselves a nice little spot and settled down for a much-deserved evening of Harry Potter Audio Books and relaxation:

Havasupai, The Descent - 10

The Waterfalls

Spent the whole next day exploring and playing in the waterfalls beyond the campground. This is the first obstacle you must pass to reach said waterfalls:

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 1

Mooney Falls!

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 2

A cool (literally) little cove we found. Like I said… an oasis in the middle of the desert:

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 3

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 4

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 5

Dangerously navigating the waters:

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 6

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 7

Beaver Falls – Nature’s finest shoulder massage (and shower):

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 8

Our way back up… we actually had to scale that wall to get up to the ladder!

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 9

The random things one encounters in the desert:

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 10

Rewarded ourselves with “Supai Tacos”, which are essentially just tacos on a fancier tortilla (Frybread). Pretty much the best things ever:

Havasupai, The Waterfalls - 11

The Hike Out

We spent the entire hike into the canyon dreading the hike back out. Well, the time had come. We woke up super early, packed up, and took off at 5am to try to avoid the midday heat. After a grueling uphill 2 mile ascent into the village, we didn’t know how we were going to make it all the way back up to the car. Decided to take a short break and explore the village, since we rushed through it on the way down:

Havasupai, Hike Out - 1

Havasupai, Hike Out - 2

Havasupai, Hike Out - 3

Havasupai, Hike Out - 4

How did they get a trampoline there?

Havasupai, Hike Out - 5

Backpacks on and ready to tackle the hike back out. 8 miles of non-stop ascent left to go!

Havasupai, Hike Out - 6

Havasupai, Hike Out - 7

Havasupai, Hike Out - 8

The last and worst leg – switchbacks up the wall of the canyon:

Havasupai, Hike Out - 9

Made it back to the Hualapai hilltop… alive! Though the ascent was as dreadful as expected, the entire hike was BEYOND worth it! Now on to Sedona to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.

Havasupai, Hike Out - 10

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