Away From The Bay: A Weekend in Havasu Falls, The Perfect Weekend Getaway

It didn’t take much for me to be convinced that Havasu Falls (“Havasu”: blue greenish water) was a trip that I definitely needed to take to satisfy my craving for an exhilarating exploration.

A simple yet mesmerizing photo of a distinctive immensely blue waterfall captured my attention and desire to go. After Googling photos and more information about the place, I realized that this wasn’t going to be the typical hiking or camping trip I was normally used to. With over 20,000 visitors annually, Supai, AZ is one of the most remote community in the lower 48 states of the U.S with a surprising low population of only 208.

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The only way in or out is through their Havasupai Trail. There are also no cars in this community, only mules. With that being said, I had to pack enough to be able to survive the backpacking trip for the weekend, which meant signified for more weight that I had to carry. I also had to be aware that it would take a little over 10 miles to hike from the parking lot and into the canyon towards the campsite. I had to keep in mind that I had to keep my bag as light as possible while bringing the proper essentials.

The Essentials:

  • Legit hiking backpack large enough to carry everything you need

  • Lightweight tent

  • Sleeping bag

  • At least 2 liters of hydration pack/water bottle.

  • Flashlight/LED lantern

  • MRE(Meals Ready-to-Eat) ie. Top Ramen

  • Lightweight cookware

  • Lightweight stove w/ propane

  • First aid kit (important)

  • Hiking shoes (Not sneakers or running shoes ok)

  • Aqua shoes (you’ll thank me, it’s for the falls and water hikes)

  • Lots of sunscreen

Prep:

To start my trip, I flew to Burbank, CA where a good friend of mine picked me up. We met up with 22 other individuals whom I have never met before, which made it an even more exciting trip for me because I have never traveled with this many companions, let alone strangers that were up for an adventure like me. From Palmdale, CA it took a little over 8 hours to drive to Supai, AZ, which was connected to the world known Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. We got to the top of the Havasu Parking lot at 7 am and started our hike at sunrise. The entire hike took 10 miles and a little more than 5 hours to complete, including many rest stops and photo ops in between. If you’re not a fan of this part of the initial brutal journey, don’t be alarmed, there are other options! You can reserve a mule for $70-$80 that carries up to 150lb of gear while you hike free of any unnecessary weight dragging you down. Still not enough? There is a helicopter option that takes up to 5 people per trip to the village (you will still need to hike an extra 2 miles to campsite from the drop-off point) for $85/person cash or $95/person card. This definitely saves you a whole bunch of time and sweat, but of course, it’s up to you.

Oh and this is an important tip, by the way, bring cash!

You will thank yourself later for this. Of course, came for the full experience, so we hiked with all of our gear on our backs for the full trip. We all had to conserve as much water as possible because there were no water stations during those 10 miles. The first 3 miles into the canyon offers little to no shade from the sun, so keep your sunscreen on deck.

Arrival:

We reached our first official rest stop at the Supai Village, 8 miles into the hike. This is where they keep and maintain their mules for the travelers. If you were smart and brought cash, you could indulge yourself in their super delicious fry bread with honey and powder sugar. Trust me after 5-7 hours of hiking a quick sugar boost is a must. If you were fortunate enough to meet a generous and kind local like us, named Cleave that helps run the small market, ask him to share the story of the backpacker and the lion. He will then point to the nearby rocks to show you. With a little imagination, they really do look like a backpacker and lion. A story meant to inspire and make us wonder why we sought out to Havasu.

We continued our journey towards campground where we encountered our first sight of a bright blue flowing river. The sound of water flowing has never felt so magical. We have officially reached the 8.5-mile mark, where a remaining 1.5 miles is still waiting ahead. But just the sound of water flowing and seeing how blue it is was such a relief and astounding view. Pushing forward as we come near a momentous milestone, we hear the sound of a powerful waterfall. The stunning view of a large amount of blue water plunges 100 ft down into a turquoise pool was a view to take in. The view that everyone has been longing and enduring through the dusty hot hike to see. Even from a top we felt the cool mist touching our skin as if we have been deprived of water for days. Witnessing this first fall was more than enough hype to get everyone’s energy back up to finish the last .5 miles to campground.

imagewww.Havasupai-nsn.gov for booking and further information.

// Story and Photographs by Minh Nguyen, Minh is a world image-maker and storyteller. relive the experience on our social — while you’re at it, say hello!


Away From The Bay: A Weekend in Havasu Falls, The Perfect Weekend Getaway

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