The travel information for some of the most extraordinary places that Alexandre Olive has found. This informative guide will provide plenty of useful tips for anyone planning a trip. The images will entice you to visit these amazing locations. (All the images are by ImageAle.)
As an explorer photographer seeking landscapes to shoot, this blog page is dedicated as a platform to share visual stories where Alexandre Olive has been going to photograph, and life lessons he has learned along the way. Havasu was his first backpacking trip in 2016.
I hope you find this guide useful and that it helps you create a memorable Havasupai Falls Active Lifestyle Experience.
Just a short history, Havasu Canyon is home to the Havasupai Indian Tribe of Arizona, whose name is translated to “people of the blue-green water”.
You begin the trip down the trail by parking your car at the top of the canyon. Be prepared to bring everything you will need on your back and begin to go downhill.
Remember the best time to hike especially for long distances is morning so try to go downhill and come back to the top of canyon leaving early between 4 – 6 am to escape the noon sun!
When you arrive in the village after 7 miles of hiking you need to go to check-in at the tourist office to get your permit and pay your fees.
For your information you can get down to the Supai Village in a few different ways:
- Hire mules to carry your equipment downhill;
- Pay helicopter ride for you and your equipment;
Inside the village, there is a restaurant and a market store.
After almost 2 miles of hiking, you will reach the Little Navajo Falls following the trail on the left side after you first see the Navajo Falls. The trail is a little bit tricky but certainly worth it.
Havasu Falls is just down the hill from the trail of the Navajo Falls. The falls drop over 100 feet into the pool such as can be seen below. Explore the area spending time swimming in the pools and also the cascades into another pool.
I took this photo with my camera from the top of Havasu Falls (drones are prohibited and diving or jumping from the top of the fall is also not allowed).
I took this photo from the top of the left side of the canyon.
Here is a view from the bottom of The Havasu Falls, the best destination ever. There are several picnic tables where you can sit, have a snack, or stash your stuff while you go for a swim.
Look how nice the cascades below connecting into a different pool that is great for a swim. For your information nighttime photography at The Havasu Falls is breathtaking. It’s the closest and easiest way to get back to the campground in the dark.
When you arrive in the campground, set up your tent, drop your pack, and replenish your water. Yes, you are now free to come back to explorer and hike your surroundings!
I like to set up my tent closer to the creek but you have free spots all over the campground including closer to the restrooms (two) in the campground.
For your information:
- no campfires;
- no showers;
- bring your own trash bags to dispose of when you go back to the village;
- there is a faucet for fresh spring water on the west side of the canyon (don’t contaminate, washing prohibited);
- Watch out for MARMOTS! They are sneaky and will get into your food if left out where they can get to it. When you leave your camp to go for a swim or a hike, make sure to hang or stash your food away. Last time I left a bag of nuts inside of my tent, guess what? Yes, it was ripped with his teeth.
Backpacking to Havasupai could be challenging for most people especially in the summer, so keep your backpack as light as possible, packing your bag being conscious of how much weight each item is adding.
I would recommend the essential items below:
- backpack of 60-70 liter to carry everything;
- lightweight tent / hammock;
- light sleeping bag (very important);
- flashlight (a spare set of batteries or mobile charger);
- first aid kit (band-aids, blister bandages, alcohol wipes);
- hiking shoes;
- hiking socks / extra pairs (important to keep away moisture to help prevent blisters from forming);
- aqua shoes;
- MREs (Meals Ready to Eat);
- lightweight cookware;
- lightweight backpacking stove with propane;
- water (remember it’s recommended to drink at least 8-ounce glasses (2 liters/a half-gallon) per day;
- quick dry towel;
- insect repellent spray (depend on the season);
Mooney Falls is the largest waterfall in Havasupai, It will require some exercises, practice caution and take time to go down the cliff. It’s a perfect spot to spend time picnicking, hanging out or even taking some photos of the waterfall into the stunning blue pool.
Good tip – wear a small daypack if you want to bring a camera and leave your trekking poles at camp (I really don’t want to hear about your trekking poles going down through the river).
Mooney Falls requires you to enter and climb down 2 rock tunnels, followed by chains, a few wooden ladders and metal handles that allow you to descend.
When you reach the base you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Mooney Falls.
The access to Beaver Falls starts by following the trail 3 miles down the river. Are you looking to admire and spend time in this amazing waterfall? Keep reading the guide.
The view above I took from the top of the canyon and yes they trail to the Beaver Falls has 2 ways to access it from the bottom and top.
Continue following down the trail from Mooney Falls for almost 3 miles to reach the Beaver Falls. The hike can be interesting if you are wearing water shoes because you just need to cross the river 3 times.
The river has many interesting spots to shoot such as you can see on my photos. It’s a great opportunity to spend time trying to peek at the butterflies, lizards or even during the spring at different types of flowers. The trail is very dynamic, alive with some ups and downs, river crossings, and amazing views always looking for wildlife.
You will get wet on the trail, but it will be fun.
Beaver Falls is a great place to go for a swim. During the trail, you can see many spots perfect for shooting or just hanging out such as you can see above.
After you cross the cave above, you must need to choose to go on the left side to access the Beaver Falls from the bottom or keep climbing the stairs with ropes to access the top.
I went during the spring as you can see the flowers are blooming and making the trail more beautiful.
If you choose to go to the top you will see two small stairs on the left side and finally to see the Beaver Falls.
Havasu Creek across Colorado River
If you are looking to access the trail to see Havasu River and Colorado River, make sure to ask the ranger about the conditions of the trail and bring plenty of water and have time, because you will need to cross the river 4 times and the way can be tricky.
After you climb downhill you will see the cascade above coming from Beaver Falls, so be careful because definitely this pool looks much deeper than they actually are.
The first cascade after restarting the path.
If at any point you think you have lost the trail, just keep following the river until you meet back up with the path.
When you arrive at this point cross the cave and keep following the path on the right side. Yes, you are almost there.
Now it’s your time, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat some snacks to return to the campground.
How to get a Havasu Falls Permit:
- Yes, to the hard part of planning a backpacking trip to Havasu Falls is getting the permit. You must have reservations, and generally, permits sell out for the entire year within the first couple of months of the year (February).
- Reservations on line >>> HERE.
If you want more information about the trail, camping, permits, directions, and other logistics please send me a direct message by Instagram @imageale.
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