Ultimate Guide to Havasu Falls, Arizona


beaver falls


  • Tour Group: Pygmy Tour Guides
  • Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
  • Type of trip: Hiking + Camping OvernightDistance: 10 mile hike in to the Havasupai Falls campsite. 7 miles round trip from campsite to Beaver Falls. 10 mile hike out back to trailhead.
  • Location: Grand Canyon (not the national park). Approximately ~3.5 hour drive from Las Vegas
  • “Must-see” sights: Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls

Hiking around the Havasupai Falls trails in ArizonaBefore transcending down to the bottom of Mooney Falls near Havasupai campsiteHavasupai Falls trail views

Swimming near Havasupai Falls in the turquoise waters of Arizona

DAY 1:

Friday, April 6th. The long-awaited for Mike and I. Mike gave me this trip to Havasupai Falls as a Valentines Day gift in 2017. 14 months later and we were flying into Las Vegas to kick-off our Southwest adenture.
We flew into the Las Vegas airport on Wednesday evening and stayed in the city for the night. Friday was a bonus day which we took full advantage of by exploring Zion National Park (more on that in a separate post) and by Thursday night we arrived at our motel, Canyon Lodge,  in the tiny town of Seligman, Arizona. [Three states in one day] To say that we were exhausted and ready for one last good night of sleep before heading out into the canyon is an understatement.
Road trip views and deserted highways in Arizona
Canyon Lodge was the most convenient and affordable option for us. Our tour group, Pygmy guides, recommended this hotel as they host hikers regularly, provide a free continental breakfast (nothing fancy), and allow you to leave your rental vehicle at their premises for free while you are away. No bells and whistles here; just a small town motel in a ‘city’ [population ~500] that prides itself to be one of the originals on Route 66.
Friday morning started out nice and early with a 6:30am pick up by our Pygmy guide, Chelsea.  We followed her to the Havasupai Falls trailhead and by 9:00am, we were ready to take on the first leg of the hike.  We had one horse that carried all of the food for the weekend and other major camping items so all we had in our backpacks was necessities, fragile items (think cameras, phones, wallet), clothing, 4 liters of water, gatorade, snack bags, personal items and our walking poles.
The first 1-2 miles starts with switchbacks down the side of the canyon, taking you down -2,000 ft. of elevation quickly. *Be aware* “Horse Trains” (or lines of horses running up the trail with camping material on their backs, come out of nowhere.. multiple times) – Make sure you get out of the way, stepping as close to the safe side of the canyon as possible. These horses will stop for no one.  When you make it to the bottom of the canyon descent, it is a relatively flat path for a long time. The dry 80 degree heat is quite different than the Georgia humidity we are used to, leading to a high chance of dehydration.
Once we made it half way, Chelsea threw down a picnic tarp, and whipped out all of the delicious lunch items. Right away we knew we were in for some good meals thanks to our guide! Nothing like a mid-hike lunch while you take in the towering burnt-red canyon walls and massive boulders surrounding you. Chelsea treated us to Turkey sandwiches complete with avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers; chips AND some sweet treats before we headed on to finish off the last half.
Approximately 3 miles later we passed through the Havasupai Tribe village where you pick up your camping permit and wristbands. This is also the first place you will find bathrooms and a convenience shop if you want to buy any other treats / drinks.
En route to Havasupai Falls through the grand canyon

The village was one of the biggest shocks for Mike and I. We had envisioned something completely different .. not sure if it was from movie films or what, but the reality of the condition of our Native American tribes and their daily life was very upsetting. I could go on and on about this matter as there are SO many factors and reasons on why they have ended up in the situation they are in. However, that is for another time. Just be prepared when you enter the village. Also, the locals do not appreciate you taking pictures of them or their horses so be respectful as you are in their home.
On top of that, my heart was broken seeing the stray dogs EVERYWHERE… I couldn’t believe it. They don’t get any of the dogs spayed or neutered so they just keep on multiplying with no one to take care of them. (similar issue with the horses… there are small yards of horses who just sit there, day-in and day-out .. obviously not what these beautiful animals were created for)
Native American indian reservation land on the hike to Havasupai campsite
Moving on…. On the final stretch of the hike when you start to get over the dry, dusty hiking, you come to a small detour off the main path. The detour pops you out at your very first sighting of the blue-green waters. The blue water, lush greenery and red-orange canyon backdrop is a view that is impossible to explain. The pictures are my best attempt to do it justice. The first fall we came across was Navajo Falls. These falls are actually a result of a massive flash flood in 2008 which completely changed Havasupai Falls.  This is the perfect pitstop and a great photo op. Take a dip, wake yourself up in the cold turquoise water and swim right up to the waterfall.

The beautiful views of Navajo Falls before arriving at Havasupai Falls campsite

A short-hike from Navajo Falls, you’ll come around the corner to the one-and-only Havasupai Falls.  Although I have been following photos of this waterfall for quite a while, it didn’t make the LIVE view of this natural beauty any less amazing. THIS was why we hiked 10 miles in the desert heat and it was 100% worth it.
Havasupai Falls in all of it's beautiful turquoise glory
After an absolutely perfect first day of hiking, our evening was brought to a finish with another refreshing dip beneath the Havasupai Falls waterfall, a tasty Thai-curry shrimp and vegetable stir-fry, and crawling into our tent for a ‘good nights sleep’. Ha! Mike and I learned pretty quickly on that the tent life isn’t for us but if it means we are given the opportunity to go to bed under the stars and wake up in this dream-like scenery, then we can handle it. I would recommend going to bed when the sun goes down and waking up when the sun rises. The perfect reset!

Horses at the trailhead for Havasupai Falls

These views. This water. Why we came all this way. 
Views from the hike to Havasupai Falls

Day 2:

Although you might think you are done hiking after the 10-mile trek to the Havasupai Falls campsite on day 1; you can expect early rising on the campsite. In fact, I would highly recommend an early rise on day two to hike the additional 7-mile round-trip hike to Beaver Falls (which I can not suggest more!). Load up on food and water for the day and get ready for a very interactive and scenic hike!

First stop= Descend down Mooney Falls.

Mooney Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Grand Canyon and it will take your breath away. In order to do this 7-mile hike, you have to descend down the wall of the waterfall to get to the base. Although it is pretty scared, there are no other options to get down. Therefore getting to this point in the hike might be enough of an adventure for many. Your security depends on the chains, ladders and a few bolts.
Caution: Anyone with a fear of heights… this is probably not your cup of tea.

Standing at the bottom of Havasupai Falls after the 10 mile hike in
Havasupai Falls

Top recommendations on getting down Mooney Falls safely:

1- Go down backwards, looking down at your feet before you take the next step
2- Always have at least 2 feet and a hand, or vice versa, holding on. There are chains on both sides and crevices in the rocks where you strategically place you feet / hands to get down
3- Do not rush. Give the people in front of you time to get most of the way down and ask those following you, to do the same. There are ladders, chains, misting water … no need to rush or slip up.
4- Be smart and put the camera / phone away so that you can get to the bottom in one piece.
5- Do not attempt to do this in bad weather. It is slippery enough as-is.

Once you get to the bottom of Mooney Falls, take in all of the beauty of the towering 200 foot waterfall and feel its power from a distance.  (Note- Our guide has witnessed and heard of people drowning at this spot… if you get too close or try to swim right up to the base, you can get sucked underneath. It’s important to remember that this is not a national park and is not regulated by the National Park Service, therefore the safety regulations are different and you should always exercise extra-caution while on these trails.)

Gorgeous views on the 7.5 mile round trip hike to Beaver Falls

Once you are at the bottom of Mooney, you have a 3.5 mile hike to arrive at the final destination, Beaver Falls.  This hike is nothing like the day one 10 mile hike in… the hike is filled with wading across Havasu Creek,  climbing up and down ladders,  passing through the open canyon full of cactus plants galore(wish we could bring them home for decor), possibly spot some wildlife, and finally arrive at the overflowing, dreamy, turquoise pools Beaver Falls.

Trekking through the canyon

I will let the photos tell the rest of the story since a picture is worth a thousand words. 

We finished off day 2 doing absolutely nothing, relaxing in our Eno right beside Havasu Falls and a tasty fajita dinner by Chef-Chelsea!

Campsite and tent set up at Havasu Falls

Home away from home. 

Relaxing by the campsite while dinner is prepared!

Navajo Falls beautiful waterfalls along the hike

DAY 3:

4:00am wake-up and 5:30am departure from the campsite. The trend of keeping our bodies on the East Coast time zone continued. I had no idea how early we would be required to get up on the final day but once I understood that we were trying to beat the heat and the sun for 3/4 of the trail hike out, it all made sense. We packed up the campsite, had an on-the-go breakfast, and began the trek out of the grand canyon underneath the stars and the light of the moon for the first few miles. If you do this hike on your own, I highly recommend you get on the trail as early as possible … the first 7 miles or so were much easier and cooler in the shade. Plus it is pretty neat hiking in the dark as you watch the colors of the sunrise surround you, rising above the canyon walls. 

The hike out was not nearly as ‘leisurely’. We were on a mission and at this point, we had said goodbye to all the blue-green waters. Not to mention, our feet were starting to feel the miles they’d endured the past 48 hours.
We made it to the switchbacks at the the bottom of the canyon leading up to the trailhead in about 5 hours…. By 11:00am, we made it to the top ( thank you walking poles for making all the difference ).

It is hard to believe that we accomplished our final mile of our 3-day hike all before noon and we were off en route to Las Vegas for a little bit of much needed R&R!

If you get the chance to do this trip, do it… And please, please reach out with any other questions you might have in regards to our trip!


  • HIKING SHOES / TRAIL SHOES (*broken in*)
  • SOCKS (*wool or other quick-dry material; not cotton*) 
  • PANTS (*never know how cold it will get at night in the dessert*) 
  • FLEECE JACKET (*once again, never know how cool it will get in the evenings*)
  • BABY WIPES (*shampoo and other soap-like products are not allowed*) 
  • GLOVES/HAT (*seasonal / weather forecast dependent) 

Oh yeah, and pack lightly. We haven’t quoted mastered that piece of advise yet 😉 

For more trips to do with your significant other, check out my post here. Also, if you have the time make sure to add in a day to explore Zion National Park!

TIll next time!