The 15 Do’s and Don’ts of Havasu Canyon

Keep these tips and tricks in mind as you make plans to visit Havasupai:

1. Make reservations.

Simply put, if you don’t make reservations for a one-day pass, a spot at the camping grounds, or a room at the Supai Lodge, there’s no way you’re getting into the Havasupai Reservation. Even if the place isn’t already full and an exception is made, expect to pay double or triple the regular fee.

2. Leave your pets at home.

If your dog is your best friend, don’t bring it to Havasupai. The village is already home to many dogs and service animals and while they’re friendly to human visitors, they’ll be less than hospitable to a strange pet smelling of foreign lands..

3. Know what you’re getting into.

While hiking the Havasu Canyon is considered a doable deed, your fitness level and atmospheric conditioning have the ultimate say.The hike from the hilltop to the village is 8 miles and after that, 2 miles to the campgrounds. No drinking water is available from the hilltop onward until you reach the village. Pack smartly and be aware of how much you can handle- especially considering that summer trail temperatures can reach upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius).

4. Prepare your body before the trip.

Unless you’re just dying to instagram the great Havasu waterfall, and feel indifferent toward the hiking aspect of the trip, it’s likely that your interest stems from a healthy appreciation for physical exertion. This is a hiking trip out in the middle of nowhere- It’s going to be reasonably strenuous. If you’ve never hiked in the heat before, do some conditioning training before making plans.

5. Leave Havasupai in a better condition than you found it.

The Havasu Canyon is a fragile natural environment, changing a little with every storm or flood. While these natural changes are inevitable, the 25000 visitors who come every year can definitely do their part in maintaining this beautiful oasis. So if you produce trash, dispose of it appropriately.

6. Break in your hiking shoes.

Sight-seeing on the Havasu Canyon requires a lot of foot-work. Make sure that the shoes you wear are broken-in nicely to prevent blisters and injuries.

7. Pack appropriately.

Other than drinking water, a snack, a dry towel, and perhaps a camera, your backpack should be fairly light. Extra weight can make your hike strenuous, so be a smart packer and keep it simple.

8. Eat breakfast.

You’ll likely want to head out for a hike before the midday sun, so it is essential that you eat breakfast before you leave. Although the waterfalls are not far from the village and the campground, the strain of the hike and the heat can drain your energy levels. Also pack some light snacks like dried fruit or nuts for an instant energy-boost on the go.

9. Don’t forget the camera.

The Havasu Canyon waterfalls are some of the most photographed waters in the word. Be it to add your own to the global collection or to capture the latest face of the ever-changing South Rim landscape, bringing along your camera is a good idea.

10. Stay hydrated.

The blazing heat, the strain of the hike, and the dryness of the Canyon landscape can leave you depleted. It is important to stay hydrated while visiting Havasupai. Make sure that you pack enough drinking water every time you set out for a hike and keep in mind that drinking water is only available at the trailhead, the village, and the campground (there are miles between each, so be wary).

11. Protect yourself from the sun.

Sunscreen is a must. The sun is ferocious, bright, and ever-present at Havasu Canyon. Wear sunscreen at all times and bring a hat and maybe sunglasses to keep skin and eyes safe.

12. Don’t feed the animals.

While friendly enough, it’s not advisable that you approach the village animals given that some may bite or kick (mules).

13. Do not leave your trash.

Havasu Falls welcomes over 25000 visitors a year and despite regulations, trash can become an issue. Please make sure to pick up after yourself.

14. Don’t leave food in your backpacks or tents.

If you are staying in the campgrounds, make sure that your bag is empty of treats before you go to bed. Canyon critters have excellent senses and be sure that they’ll sniff out your lunch if you forgot to unpack it. The last thing you want is something with teeth breaking into your tent at night.

15. Don’t bring firearms, drugs, or alcohol.

All of these items are forbidden on the Havasupai Reservation and breaking these rules will result in heavy fees plus a quick escort out.