Havasupai Falls is one of the biggest attractions in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. The scenic gorge that plays home to five waterfalls is located on the Havasu Creek, within the Havasupai reservation. It is close to the village of Supai, where the trail to hike up to the Falls starts.
The best time of year to go to Havasupai Falls is either at the beginning of spring or the end of fall. The best overall conditions can be experienced in March, April, May, September, October, and November. The gorge is open throughout the year, but the weather is unpredictable during the summer and winter months.
Let’s take a look at more details about Havasupai Falls below. We’ll also give you some details about what a trip to the Falls entails, and we’ll see how conditions there evolve through the seasons.
What Does Visiting Havasupai Falls Look Like in Each Season?
The best time to visit Havasupai Falls is early spring or late fall, but you can experience the hike in different seasons at your convenience.
Weather conditions can still be complicated if you book a reservation for the Falls in February. The main advantage of visiting in February is that the cooler temperatures will keep the crowds at bay. If the forecast announces freezing temperatures, you can also consider booking a stay at the Havasupai Lodge in Supai to avoid camping while exposed to the elements. Snow could still fall in February and even March potentially, so just be aware of that possibility.
One of the best seasons to visit the Falls, spring brings mild conditions and mild temperatures that are perfect for hiking. March and April are particularly recommended for visits. There is also a notable lack of insects.
The Havasupai Falls hike receives full sun exposure and the summer brings plenty of insects and plenty of heat. The Falls also fills with those taking summer vacations during that time of the year.
Arizona is affected by a monsoon season from June until September. Storms and flash floods can ravage the Havasu Canyon very suddenly in that timeframe, which can cause dangerous situations. Havasupai Falls can also close with little prior notice in this season due to extreme weather conditions. Starting hikes before dawn is recommended during the summer months.
September can still find itself affected by summer’s lingering weather. By late fall, the monsoon season and the high temperatures of the desert summer are replaced with far more pleasant conditions for both hiking and camping. October and November also see a decrease in crowds. These two months come highly recommended by visitors to the Falls.
Planning Your Havasupai Falls Trip
Havasupai Falls is located within the Havasupai Reservation borders. This requires a great degree of planning and preparation before the actual trip.
Here are some things to keep in mind for your Havasupai Trip plans.
- Permits. Access to the Falls is only allowed to visitors carrying the appropriate permits. These can only be bought online and usually sell out immediately upon being made available, usually on February 1st.
- Visit length. Day trips to Havasupai Falls are not allowed. The reservation you make when getting the permit currently covers up to four days and three nights. This timeframe can’t be exceeded.
- Research. Havasupai is the home of the Havasupai tribe. Make sure you are aware of the rules that will regulate your visit before you arrive there. Check up on the campsites along your way and make sure not to use any undesignated areas for your camp.
- Pack light. You should have enough equipment to cover the duration of your stay but bear in mind that you will be hiking quite a few miles accompanied by all your gear. Make sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated through the hike. Depending on the season and the forecast, you might have to pack for great variations in weather.
- Experience. A round trip around all five waterfalls involves around twenty miles of hiking through occasionally very challenging terrain. Some stages of the hike are suitable for beginners, but backpacking experience is recommended especially if you plan on including Beaver Falls and Mooney Falls (easier than Beaver Falls) on your itinerary.
Is Havasupai Falls Open Year Round?
Havasupai Falls is NOT open year-round as it closes between December and February due to the usual lack of visitors during these months. It’s also winter, so the snow on the trails would make for some pretty dangerous conditions. The Falls can be accessed by permit-holders from February 1st to November 30th. The temperatures of the Falls waters stay between 60F and 70F year-round, but other weather conditions will vary a lot between seasons.
Know the History of Havasupai Falls Before You Go
Havasupai Falls is a gorge in the Havasupai tribal lands of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. The Havasupai Falls area contains five main waterfalls that flow from the Havasu Creek that traverses the Havasu Canyon. These are the lands of the Havasupai tribe and a protected reservation. The tribe allows access to visitors but it limits crowds by not allowing day trips. Access is also restricted to permit-holders.
The Havasupai tribe has lived on these lands for over eight hundred years. Even their name, which translates to ‘people of the blue-green waters’, shows the tribe’s connection to the Falls.
The five Havasupai waterfalls have crystal-clear turquoise waters, with potential exceptions during the monsoon season. This color effect is due to the water staying underground for thousands of years, as well as due to the travertine that surrounds the Falls. The Havasu Creek also filters out silt from the waterfall pools, which preserves the blue-green color.
There are Many Havasupai Waterfalls
There are currently five waterfalls that compose Havasupai Falls, but this number has changed over the years, particularly due to the flash floods that occasionally affect the area.
- Havasu Falls. The most visited waterfall in Havasupai Falls is also one of the most picturesque. Havasu is only a short walk away from the Havasupai Campgrounds and its enticing turquoise waters attract a constant crowd.
- Beaver Falls. This waterfall can be found where Havasu Canyon meets Beaver Canyon. It’s an excellent location for both swimming and sightseeing, as it’s composed of several cascades. Beware, this hike is HARD! It’s long and difficult with obstacles such as ladders and water that reaches your chest. In all it’s about a 14 mile round trip.
- Mooney Falls. This one is for the adventurers: the descent to Mooney Falls is done by holding on to chains and walking down ladders along the cliff face. We make a suggestion that you bring gloves for this hike as the chains you have to grab can be very slippery from the spray of the falls. A section also involves going through old mining tunnels. Mooney Falls is unsuitable for swimming due to the dangerous current in its pool, but it does offer a memorable view. It is also the tallest waterfall in the Havasupai and highly recommended that you take this hike.
- Rock Falls. One of the ‘new’ waterfalls that re-emerged in the aftermath of the August 2008 flash flood. This waterfall is only a short hike up from the Campgrounds, and it’s a family favorite. It’s a more hidden falls, you have to follow the river to find it.
- New Navajo. This waterfall is also a result of the 2008 flash flood which dried up the original Navajo Falls. New Navajo is situated right next to Rock Falls and also easily accessible from the Campgrounds. It’s been said that this is the prettiest and most tropical looking falls.
Havasupai Falls is a popular tourist destination for visitors wishing to explore the wonders of the Grand Canyon. Anyone who has been fortunate to go once is already planning their next visit. The best time to visit the Havasupai Falls on the Havasupai tribal lands is early spring or late fall.
The best months to visit Havasupai Falls are March, April, May, September, October, and November. This is when you will find the best overall conditions for camping and hiking. Havasupai Falls has great variations in conditions between the seasons, and it offers unforgettable sights for beginner backpackers and experts.
Visiting all five waterfalls requires a higher degree of hiking expertise, but Havasu Falls, Navajo Falls, and Rock Falls is accessible to anyone used to hiking. If the idea of hiking Havasupai Falls attracts you, make sure to keep an eye on when reservations open.