|Posted on March 19, 2018 at 2:05 PM|
Backpacking to Havasu Falls February 2018: What to Bring, What to Wear, What to Pack
Entry into Havasu Canyon requires direct permission from the Havasupai Indian Tribe. Permits are purchased through the Havasupai Tribal office annually at 8:00 AM. MST. on February 1, and are released for the entire year. Required permits will be sold out by 9:00 am MST.
Tribal Office: ( 928 ) 448-2121
Weather: 50°F highs - 20°F lows - Supai, Arizona, USA
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Meals for 3 Days 2 Nights
Breakfast (2) Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries (hot water not required)
Dinner (2) Mountain House Chicken and Mashed Potatoes + Beef Stroganoff ( hot meals)
7 ounces - Almonds (salted)
3-6 pieces - Hard Candy
4 - Jack Link’s Beef Steak Jerky
1-4 - Energy Chews ( Sports Beans, ProBar, Clif Blok)
1-2 - Chocolate Bars (Snickers + Twix)
6 - Bounce Protein Balls (Cacao Mint, Vanilla Almond, Coconut Macadamia)
2 - 5L-10L dry bags (food storage) Amazon
Coffee (instant packets)
Sugar + Creamer (sealed packets work best for safe food storage)
Spoon + Fork + Bowl (long handle to eat directly from food bags)
2 1L Collapsible Water Bottles (DO NOT bring your Hydroflask!) Amazon
1G Empty Jug (water storage for cooking at camp) Alternative Option on Amazon
Hiking into Havasu Canyon prepared has its benefits and we suggest you do not overpack food. Count meals and calories, remember you can purchase a meal or two, hot coffee, and cold drinks from the cafe or general store. Fry bread is often available at the campground ($8-$12cash). It’s delicious! The Supai Village is where you will check in and get your tourist information, the cafe and general store both make the perfect stop when hiking in or out of the canyon. They accept cash or credit cards. Prices are subject to change.
Winter (knit or wool) hat
Wool neck gaiter
2-3 wool socks
Bra + Underwear
Insulated Pants ( rain/evening lows)
Wool Half Zip Top
Heavyweight Wool Crew Neck (Evening Layer)
Heavy (650) TurboDown Jacket (Amazon)
The clothing you bring is just as important as the clothing you leave behind. Every ounce adds up. Bring what you need and nothing more. (ie. 20°F provided less incentive for water shoes or swim suit.) If the temps are predicted to reach 50°F definitely bring shorts and tank.
Backpack (50-70L) - Teton Sports (Amazon)
Rain cover for backpack
Trekking Poles (Amazon)
2 Footprint/Ground Cloth (place one outside - under tent + one inside - under sleeping pad)
Sleeping Pad (insulated) Amazon
Sleeping Bag Liner (microfiber fleece)
2-3 1L Collapsible Water Bottles
Sawyer Mini water filter (generally as a just in case for hiking to Beaver Falls & beyond)
Purification Tablets (water comes from the spring but it’s recommended you treat)
32oz. Hydrapak (for electrolytes mixins)
Stove Burner + Stove Fuel Cook System
2c. Cooking Pot
Inflatable Solar Lantern (LUCI) Amazon
Lightweight fast-drying Microfiber Towel
Travel wallet (ID, medical card, cash, credit card, keys)
Portable Power Bank
Extra Battery + Memory Card
Lightweight Day Pack: (ie. JanSport) for daytime exploring between the campground and other waterfalls. The Havasu Creek from camp leading past Mooney Falls, through Havasu Canyon reaches the Colorado River. This is an additional 16-mile round trip hike from the campground and can be done in one day with an early start. Expect to make several creek crossings that can reach waist level for some adults..
Confluence Hike: water, water filter, food, sunscreen, hat, headlamp, lightweight jacket, water shoes, and camera.
Boots: Some may prefer trail runners, but we highly suggest boots. This trail is long, rugged, and your loaded backpack will cause fatigue. Boots will help prevent ankle injuries during the long haul and rough terrain.
First Aid: Elastic (ACE) Bandage, blister bandages, pain reliever, emergency blanket, trash bags, lighter, extra batteries, wet wipes, latex gloves, tissue, chapstick, sunscreen, hand cream(cold weather), pen and paper, paracord, disposable hand warmers [Place everything inside a 1 gallon freezer storage bag; expel air, and seal for storage.] Waterproof bag is best.
Hygiene: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, wet wipes, dental floss, tissue, toilet paper, extra ziplock for trash. [Place toothbrush in a 1qt. storage bag; place everything plus the bag with your toothbrush inside a 1 gallon freezer storage bag; expel air, and seal for storage.]
Personal hygiene products should be travel size.
Notice: No shovel. There are vault toilets available at mile 0, mile 8, and mile 10. The tribe does fill the vault toilets with toilet paper, but women should carry small amounts as they have been found empty at times. Traveling with a group can help distribute weight of group gear. Share responsibility and only take the gear needed. (ie. 3-5 days, 4-6 ppl: Two burners, two pots, two 4oz. fuel canisters.)
Havasupai Indian Reservation, Supai, Arizona, USA
- Hualapai Hilltop to Supai Village(one way) 8mi
- Supai Village to Campground(one way) 2mi
- Campground to Beaver Falls(one way) 4mi
- Beaver Falls to Colorado River(one way) 4mi
Campground: Once you’ve completed the 10-mile hike to the bottom of the canyon, having passed the tourist office and checking in, trekking the last 2 miles in sand; passing the most beautiful 90ft. waterfall you’ve ever seen, you will select any open location along the ¾ mile campgrounds. The campground operates on a “choose any open spot” system. Nothing is assigned. The earlier you arrive the better the spot. Some spots will have tables others will have trees. Make sure you use dry bags for food storage upon arriving to the campgrounds. The Mule Station located at the bottom of Havasu Falls right as you enter the campgrounds has several large buckets for visitors, but can run out.
Cell Service: Cell service is interrupted the moment you turn on Indian Road 18. Service usually reconnects, a bit spotty, but connects at the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead and Supai Village.
Gas: Fill your gas before hitting Indian Road 18, you can find gas in Kingman coming from the West or Seligman coming from the East. There are NO OTHER services available, and Indian Road 18 is a 60-mile drive one-way. If you're approaching from Phoenix, refuel here. If you're approaching from Kingman, refuel here.
Water: Is unlimited and readily available with a free-flowing spring at the campground,10-miles into the canyon. After passing Havasu Falls, the Mule Station, and the first set of bathrooms, approximately ¼ mile into camp you’ll follow the main trail to see the wooden signs for spring water. Carrying 2-4L of water while hiking the 10-miles in and out of the canyon is always recommended. You can buy cold water bottles at the General Store located in Supai Village, 8-miles from the hilltop; 2 miles above camp. You can also buy water from the village Cafe (check hours of operation for the Store and Cafe). Confluence Hikers: Bring a water filter for the 18-mile hike.
Car Amenities: Bring a gallon of water and extra food to leave inside the vehicle. This isn’t a region where vehicle food is a concern. If you have an open-bed truck don’t leave anything behind that a village dog might find interesting. They are known to hop inside the bed and tear apart anything they deem delicious. Dry/warm/clean clothes and an energy drink are also often enjoyed after the long trek out of the canyon.
Evening Before: There are a few options for overnight sleep the evening before your hike. Your style and length of travel will be a deciding factor. The City of Kingman is west of Indian Road 18 and has camping, and/or Hotels. Peach Springs is east of Indian Road 18 and has Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. The Inn is located on Historic U.S. Route 66, mile marker 115, 6-miles east of Indian Road 18. The Caverns Inn is the closest option of comfort. Some car camp(sleep inside your vehicle) at the trailhead. Others choose to pitch a tent beside their vehicle at the trailhead. Neither, although I haven't heard the tribe officially stop it, are exactly recommended by the tribe. Sleeping at the trailhead is loud and likely windy and cold, also the closest and cheapest option. Indian Road 18 is always riddled with cattle and wild animals, drive slow.
Parking: From Historic U.S. Route 66 turn north onto Indian Road 18, follow the paved road for 62-miles. Indian Road 18 ends at the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead parking. There are many spots within the paved lot, once the parking in the lot is full the parking begins to follow along the paved road. The trailhead is easy to find as the paved main road, Indian Road 18, abruptly ends directly in the trailhead parking lot. Google Maps
*Hiking into Havasupai makes backpacking incredibly easy as you will have food, water, bathrooms, toilet paper, cell service(Supai Village), and supervision while in the canyon. Bring cash or credit card and you’ll have anything you need. Both are a lot lighter than unnecessary food and water. Overpacking is easy to do - use this list as a guide, bring only the items you are certain to use. It’s a long, rugged hike in and out of the canyon and likely harder than any other 10-mile hike you’ve ever done.
Additionally, we highly suggest bringing trekking poles for this hike. Some don’t prefer them, but it can be a highly appreciated support system with the heavy backpack.
Supai, Arizona, home of the Havasupai “Havasu ‘Baaja” tribe is considered one of the most remote villages in the nation. It is the only location in the country still receiving mail by mule. Accessibility is limited to a dusty, rugged 10-mile trail navigated by foot and horseback. Most recently, seasonally, and weather permitting you can fly in by helicopter. As the tribe sustains difficulty managing the 25,000 visitors per year, their only source of economic trade, they ask that visitors carry all trash out of the canyon.
**Mule Trains: The canyon has horses and mules frequently running up and down the canyon all day. Be aware! Make sure to step on the inside of the trail when they’re passing. DO NOT step to the outside of any ledge or ridge while they pass you. The animals are carrying loads and cannot tell nor care if they hit you and send you falling off the cliffside.
Practice the Leave No Trace ethics while staying in the sacred land of the Havasupai Indian Tribe. Protect their tranquil water, love their sacred home, and connect with the tiny, hidden, sovereign nation in Supai, Arizona.
Disclosure: As with any outdoor activity you need to plan properly and adhere to all National, State and City ordinances. We only offer an insight to our own experiences and do not take any responsibility for you or any persons accompanying you on this or any outdoor recreation activities listed on this website or any other Mountain Matron Social Outlets.