Travel Guide

9 Travel Tips You Need to Know to Hike to Havasupai Falls in 2023 (Havasupai Reopening Updates)

*Note: I hiked to Havasupai on the second day of the 2023 Havasupai reopening (February 2 - 5, 2023). As one of the first hikers welcomed back to Havasupai since it reopened, I’m sharing my personal experience only for informational purposes. As the season progresses, things may change that can make your experience different from mine. 


When that's THE ONLY word you use the entire trip, you know you're pretty close to finding heaven on earth!

Nestled at the bottom of Havasu Canyon in Arizona (just outside of the Grand Canyon) is the remote, sacred tribal land of the Havasupai Indian reservation. The powerfully mesmerizing waterfalls, vibrant blue-green water that seems almost unreal, and the remoteness of the Supai community make Havasupai Falls one of the most magical places I've ever explored. Many adventure travelers and outdoor lovers rank hiking to Havasu Falls at the top their adventure bucket list! 

I mean, visiting Havasupai was so moving and unforgettable of an experience that hiking there once in March 2018 just wasn’t enough. I had to visit TWICE!

A tall waterfall with turquoise water is flowing down a bright orange canyon in Havasupai Indian Reservation.
The powerful and beautiful, Mooney Falls. Located just beyond Havasu campground.

However, In 2020, the Supai tribe closed the Havasupai Indian reservation to all tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anybody that scored permits to hike to the Havasu Falls (including us) had their reservations postponed until further notice. 

Around Christmas in 2022, nearly three years later, we got a surprise email announcing that Havasupai will officially reopen! The Supai tribe opened their homes back to tourists on February 1, 2023. And my group was fortunate to be one of the first tourists to hike to Havasupai, backpacking in on the SECOND DAY of the Havasu reopening! 

As one of the first hikers to explore a mostly untouched Havasupai was a surreal adventure. And it was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than when I last visited in 2018 (but not in a bad way). From the check-in process to the conditions of the hiking trails to Havasu Falls and Beaver Falls, a lot changed.

I’m here to share with you all the updates, travel tips, and essential things you need to know before you hike to Havasupai so that you can make the most of what’s about to be the most unforgettable trip of a lifetime!

A hiker girl is sitting on a red canyon in Havasupai looking at a series of blue waterfalls, called Beaver Falls
The view at the top of Beaver Falls in Havasupai!

9 Updates to Know About the Havasupai Falls Reopening in 2023

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Hiking to Havasupai Falls in 2023 - Why Are There Changes?

They weren’t lying when they say A LOT can happen in a year, let alone three years!

While the Havasupai Indian reservation was closed to tourism from March 2020 to February 2023, a few things happened:

  • No tourism means unmaintained trails - unused hiking trails to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and to the Colorado River (known as “The Confluence") became overgrown.
  • The tribe experienced severe flooding in October 2022 - although trails, bridges, and parts of the Havasu campground are damaged, the new waterfall flows are incredibly powerful, and new, lush fauna is abundant!
  • The tribe has switched to a new tourism operator - it sounds like there were legal battles with the previous tourism operator. In addition to rebuilding its online tourism platform, the tribe has revamped its tourist check-in and management process. From my personal experience, I believe the improvements made my trip to Havasupai more streamlined and “official”. 

What are the updates, changes, and travel tips I need to know to prepare for my trip to Havasupai in 2023?

1. The Havasupai check-in process and location changed

The check-in process to hike to Havasupai in 2023 has completely changed from prior years. If you ever visited Havasupai before 2023, all hikers needed to check in at Supai village, 8 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead where the hike starts.

If you have permits to hike to Havasupai Falls in 2023, the trip leader designated on your reservation must check-in for all everyone in the group at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona, almost 1 hour and 15 minutes from the Havasu Falls hike trailhead. Be sure you have all check-in documents and know when check-in hours are before your trip! There’s nothing worse than showing up at the wrong place, at the wrong time, or without the required documents. When I got to the checkpoint by the trailhead, I saw a car get turned around back to Peach Springs because they hadn’t checked in.

*Note: I recommend downloading an offline map since there is barely any cell service in Peach Springs, the trailhead, or in the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

Check-In Information

  • Location: Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona (located at Mile Marker 115 Route 66).
  • Check-in time: times may change throughout the season, but when we went in February 2023, check-in hours were 8 am - 5 pm. The earliest your group can check-in is the day before hiking into Havasupai. The latest you can check-in is no later than noon on the first day of your reservation.
  • Required check-in documents: the designated trip leader must provide
  • The trip leader must present a photo ID and a printout of the campground reservation to receive all permits, wristbands, and an entry form (to be shown at checkpoints) for their group.
  • All visitors must have an account on before arrival. Visitors must provide proof of the account at check-in (a screenshot or printout of the Accounts Information page).
A group of hikers at the Havasu Falls check-in window.
Make sure you know where to go and what to bring to check-in successfully before you hike to Havasu Falls.

Once your group successfully checked in, all visitors must wear their wristbands during their visit to Havasupai.

There will also be several checkpoints verifying that all hikers to Havasupai have permits, checked in, and completed the entry form. We encountered three checkpoint locations as we hiked to Havasu Falls:

  • Entrance to the Havasupai Indian reservation
  • Tourism office at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead
  • The tourism office in Supai Village, 2 miles before you reach the Havasu campground

My experience of the new check-in process for hiking to Havasu Falls was positive! Communication from the Supai tribe before our trip was clear, informative, and timely, which made our check-in process easy, smooth, and fast (it took about 10 minutes!). 

This new check-in process for visiting Havasupai is much better than prior years when hikers showing up in Supai Village without a permit were immediately turned around and had to hike 8 miles back out of the canyon (after hiking 8 miles in!).  

The Havasupai tourism office at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead where you will need to show your wristbands and the completed entry form you got from the check-in process. You will need to do this before you start hiking to Havasu Falls.

2. Masks Required in Supai Village

All visitors are required to wear a mask in Supai Village and all public areas, including the general store and cafe. Non-compliance may mean immediate removal from the Havasupai Reservation at your own expense.

Since Supai Village is 8 miles from the trailhead and 2 miles before you reach Havasu Campground, you don’t need to wear a mask for most of your hike towards Havasupai Falls.

3. No camping overnight stays allowed at the Hualapai Hilltop/Havasupai Trailhead

My first trip to Havasupai Falls in 2018 started with crappy sleep as my hiking group and I tried to sleep in our tiny-ass sedan at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead, where we would start the hike to Havasupai early the next morning. 

As memorable (and terrible) as that sleepover was, one of the changes from the 2023 Havasupai reopening is that overnight camping at the Havasupai trailhead is no longer allowed. And this includes sleeping in your car. Instead, hikers must make overnight accommodations elsewhere.  

The closest towns to look for overnight accommodations near the Havasupai trailhead are:

  • Peach Springs, Arizona - 1 hour 15 minutes from the trailhead
  • Seligman, Arizona - 1 hour 30 minutes from the trailhead
  • Kingman, Arizona - 2 hours from the trailhead

Since Peach Springs, Arizona is the closest town to the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead (about 1 hour and 15 minutes away), my brother and I found accommodations there. I stayed in Hualapai Lodge with my group…where the tradition of bad sleep the night before hiking the Havasupai trail continued! The lodge is right next to the train tracks, so we heard the train running all night long.

However, my brother and his squad slept soundly in their 10-person bunkhouse at the Grand Canyon Caverns. From what I saw, this was a great option if you’re looking for simple, overnight accommodations for a large group before your hike to Havasupai Falls. 

Please be prepared to make overnight accommodations before and after your hike to Havasupai Falls outside the trailhead.

A view of bright orange canyons in Arizona from the Havasupai trailhead.
The epic view from the Havasupai trailhead. Camping or overnight stays at the trailhead is no longer permitted.

4. Only authorized cars can park at the Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead

All visitors parking their vehicles overnight at the trailhead for Havasupai Falls must register their vehicle during check-in and display their reservation confirmation on the dashboard.

Parking at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead is limited, so please carpool if possible.

5. You can still get drinking water at Fern Spring in Havasu campground

One of my biggest concerns about hiking to Havasupai Falls was where I’d be able to get drinking water, especially after Havasupai had been closed for almost three years.

Before the closure, I relied on Fern Spring in Havasu Campground (located 10 miles from the trailhead) as my source of drinking water during my trip to Havasupai in 2018. As I prepared for my February 2023 Havasupai trip, I couldn’t help but think:

  • Did Fern Spring dry up?
  • Do I need to bring a filtration system to get drinkable water in Havasupai?

I emailed the Supai tribe’s tourism department before hiking to Havasupai, who confirmed that Fern Spring was still a source of drinking water and recommended I filter any water from Havasu creek or the spring if I was to use it for drinking or cooking. 

However, since I drank the water straight from Fern Spring at Havasu Campground without filtering it on my 2018 trip, I decided not bring a water filtration or purification system (hey man, I was trying to shave weight and increase space in my backpack!). And I was fine. No stomach issues or anything! But it’s up to you if you want to bring a water filtration or purification system as you hike to Havasupai falls. 

*Note: understanding your drinking water sources is critical before any hiking trip, especially if you’re hiking to Havasupai Falls. If you are hiking into Havasu Canyon, be aware that there is no drinking water until you get to Supai Village, 8 miles from the Havasupai trailhead. Bring enough water for your hike, especially in summer when temperatures in the canyon are well above 100F. 

Sidenote about an insane thing I saw as I hiked out of Havasu Canyon: we ran into a solo hiker that had RUN OUT OF WATER. The tourism workers at the top asked if we had seen the hiker because they were about to emergency evacuate her out of the canyon. And this was in February when the temperature during the day was in the 50Fs.  

Drinking water is coming out of a spring, surrounded by green fauna.
Hikers and campers visiting Havasupai can get drinking water from Fern Spring, located in Havasu campground (10-miles from the Hualapai Hilltop/Havasupai trailhead).

6. Less camping areas available in Havasu Campground

As the first hikers welcomed back to Havasupai on day 2 of their official reopening, we were curious how the October 2022 flood impacted the trails and Havasu campground.

Since there were only about another 75-100 hikers in Havasu Campground when we arrived on day 2 of the reopening, we took our time scouting the campground for the best sites for our group. And I was shocked by how much the campground had changed.

Remembering that there were some incredible, more secluded campsites along Havasu Creek closer to Mooney Falls back in 2018, we scouted that area there first. 

Not only was a large area of the campground overgrown, but the footbridges that previously existed were destroyed by the flood! Which significantly reduced the number of camping areas available. Some people were able McGeyvor across Havasu Creek to set up camp, while others found rakes to clean up the brush in areas they wanted to pitch their tent.

Throughout our stay, more and more hikers arriving in Havasupai were looking for campsites. Although Havasu campground is large enough to accommodate max capacity, the campground felt tighter and more crowded by the last day of the trip.

As the season advances, I'm confident areas will continue to be cleared up, increasing the amount of camping area available to hikers. Until then, be prepared to have tent neighbors nearby.

A group of tents set up, surrounded by the orange canyons in the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
A view of the Havasu campgrounds on the second day of the season opening. We were able to enjoy a couple days of quiet and no crowds before the campground filled to capacity on the day we left.

7. Sections of the hiking trails to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and the Colorado River (“The Confluence”) are damaged or overgrown

As you can imagine, after almost 3-years of being untouched by hikers and then surviving a severe flood, the hiking trails to the Havasupai waterfalls looked different than their pre-COVID days.

On February 3, 2023 (day 3 of the 2023 Havasupai reopening) we tested the trail conditions as we made our way from Havasu Campground to Mooney Falls, then hiking to Beaver Falls.

Hiking to Mooney Falls - downclimbing Mooney Falls' somewhat sketchy ladder and chain system (honestly, it's one of my favorite parts!) seemed to be a more slippery and wet adventure compared to my last hike to this waterfall in 2018. Believe it or not, the flow of Mooney Falls was EVEN MORE POWERFUL than before! Which made more of the Mooney Falls stairs and chains wet. As long as you go at your own pace and don’t act a fool, you will make it down! Also - I highly recommend NOT hiking this section while it’s dark out.

A set of wooden ladders laying on the canyon for hikers to use to get to Mooney Falls.
To get to Mooney Falls from Havasu campgrounds, you'll need to adventure down the set of man-made chains and ladders!

Hiking to Beaver Falls - As we hiked from Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls, this section of the trail was the most overgrown and unmaintained. There was dead shrubbery scratching our legs and we could barely see the trail. And knowing where we needed to cross Havasu Creek was a fun game of “let’s see and find out”! But my favorite new feature of the trail was the rock rappelling and scrambling we had to do closer to Beaver Falls. Since one of the bridges was damaged by the flood, the Supai tribe installed a makeshift bridge and a great system of ropes for us to climb! This was an adrenaline-dumping adventure that involved a lot of screaming, butt-clenching, and motivational cheers from the group!

*2/10/23 update: other visitors that hiked to Beaver Falls had mentioned that the footbridge was repaired and hikers no longer have to rappel on rocks. 

The turquoise blue water leading to Beaver Falls in Havasupai Indian Reservation. There is a wooden foot bridge and a set of ropes for hikers to use to climb up the red canyons.
The bridge and set of ropes hikers used to climb up the canyon to get to Beaver Falls in Havasupai during the first few days of the 2023 Havasupai season. The original bridge has since been repaired and hikers no longer need to use the rope system to climb up the canyons.

Hiking to the Colorado River (“The Confluence”) - if there was any part of the trail that we couldn’t see, it was this section! River crossings were random and my knees worked overtime because of the amount of jumping over and ducking under dead shrubbery that was required. Since I opted to wear shorts (the February temperatures were too cold for me to hike in wet pants and stay warm), my legs were cut up. But we eventually made it to the Colorado River because we had downloaded waypoints onto my Garmin Inreach device before the hike to help us figure out the route and river crossings!

If you plan on hiking to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, or even the Colorado River (“the Confluence”) from Havasu Campground, some sections of the trail may be unmaintained, overgrown, or even damaged. But as the season progresses and more visitors are hiking these trails, they will be more maintained.

*As mentioned above, your experience hiking these trails may be different from mine. I am only providing my experiences for informational purposes as I hiked on the first few days of the 2023 reopening of Havasupai.

A group of hikers getting ready to cross the turquoise blue water through Havasu Creek. There are tall, orange canyons surrounding the hikers.
The first river crossing as we hiked to the Colorado River ("The Confluence") from Havasu campground! The water of Havasu Creek is REALLY that turquoise.

8. Food storage - no paint buckets available

Man - food storage in Havasupai is a process! Because rodents are known to tear up visitors’ tents and backpacks as they ransack for food (my brother’s group was terrorized back in January 2018), properly storing your food is critical. 

I was curious how the rodent issue would be after the 3-year closure of Havasupai to tourism. Were the rodents starving from 3-years of no tourist food and ready to pounce all over unsuspecting visitors? Or did they finally find a food source other than naive campers? The only way to find out was to go and see it myself. 

In previous years, the Havasu campground had empty paint buckets available for campers to stash their food into to protect it from critters. However, I didn’t see those paint buckets available when I went, which is why I was hella grateful I brought some Ratsack food storage bags and bear canisters for our group! 

Havasupai critters: 0

Molly’s food: 1

(Suck it, rodents!)

But don’t get too comfortable with the fact that our food stashes are left unscathed by the critters in Havasupai - the rodents are still out there! I saw some food stashes that were not stored properly TORN UP.

So before your trip to Havasu Falls, it's important to bring food storage gear to protect your energy source!

For a complete list of things you should bring to hike to Havasu Falls, check out my guide "What to Bring to Hike to Havasu Falls - The Ultimate Packing List".

Food bags are being hung from trees with a group of tents in the background in Havasu campground.
Food storage is so important in Havasu campground. Hanging your food or storing them in bear canisters are effective methods from keeping the critters away from your food.

9. Absolutely no pictures or videos inside Supai Village or of tribe members

This is not a new rule or update, but it’s a critical one worth re-emphasizing for all visitors and hikers planning to travel to the Havasupai Indian reservation. 

Please respect the tribe’s rules that do not allow visitors or hikers to take pictures or videos inside Supai Village. That includes pictures or videos of the property and tribe members. Along the Havasupai trail towards Havasu Falls and campground, you will see signs on trees that mark when you are in Supai Village.


I’m beyond grateful to not only have the opportunity to hike to one of the top bucket list destinations, Havasupai Falls, twice but also to be one of the very first visitors welcomed back to Havasupai after the 2023 reopening!

As one of the first visitors hiking on the first few days of the Havasupai reopening, I was able to experience the impacts of being closed for three years, switching tourism operators, and surviving a severe flood. From the check-in process to visitor expectations to trail conditions, my February 2023 experience was quite different from my March 2018 Havasupai trip…but just as memorable and EPIC!

I hope these updates and must-know travel tips help you prepare and plan for your upcoming adventure to Havasupai Falls!

As a reminder, it is our responsibility to keep magical places like this as beautiful as possible. To leave it better than we found it:

  • Please practice Leave No Trace principles (clean up after your damn selves!)
  • Be respectful of tribal lands
  • Be respectful of the people

The Supai tribe has opened up their homes for us to experience the magic and make lifetime memories. WE ARE GUESTS. We are not entitled to visit places like Havasupai…it is a privilege.

Is hiking to Havasupai Falls on your adventure bucket list?

Two hikers standing in front of the most beautiful blue waterfall, Mooney Falls, in Arizona.

Other Havasu Falls Trip Planning Guides


Is Havasupai open in 2023

Yes! The Supai tribe welcomed visitors back to Havasupai on February 1, 2023.

How do you get to Havasu Falls?

Located 10 miles from the top of Havasu Canyon (and the Havasupai trailhead where you'll start the hike) is Havasu Falls. There are no roads to the waterfalls, so you cannot drive to Havasu Falls. The only way to reach them is to hike th challenging Havasupai trail. All visitors are required to have a permit from the Supai tribe.

Do you still need a permit to day hike to Havasu Falls?

Day hiking to Havasu Falls is not allowed. All visitors of the Havasupai Indian Reservation are required to have a permit.

How to get permits?

You can only purchase Havasupai permits (reservations) through the official tourism website by the Havasupai tribe. Havasupai permits for the entire season are released annually on February 1st, which tend to sell out within minutes. 

How long does it take to hike to Havasu Falls?

Havasu Falls is about 10 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead. How long it takes to hike to Havasu Falls will depend on how fast you hike and the conditions. It took our group (11 hikers us total of various fitness levels) 6 hours to hike to Havasu Falls in comfortable weather in February 2023. We kept a nice leisurely pace and took about 45 minutes for lunch. If we hiked in summer, I’m sure it would’ve taken us longer due to the number of breaks we’d need from the scorching summer heat in Havasu Canyon.

How much does it cost to hike into Havasupai?

Havasupai permits cost $100-$125 per person, depending on the day of the week you visit (with weekends being more expensive). The minimum stay for Havasupai permits is 3-nights.

Is it worth visiting Havasupai?

ABSOLUTELY! Havasupai permits are the most expensive permits I’ve ever paid for, but the experience of swimming in those gushing, blue-green waterfalls is an indescribable and magical memory I’ll never forget. And having to backpack through such rough terrain just to get to Havasupai makes the experience that much more rewarding! 

*This post contains affiliate links for products that I have used myself and genuinely love. All opinions expressed are honest and mine. If you make a purchase through any of these affiliate links, I receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Since The Adventure Diet is reader-supported, any purchases you make will support running this blog at now cost to you! As always, thank you for your never-ending support.

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about the author
Molly Chhiv
What's up, my dudes! I'm a weekend adventurer and blogger based in the U.S. that found my self-confidence, independence, and limitless potential through the outdoors. So much so that I quit my engineering job to do more fulfilling work in the outdoor industry!

But real talk: the outdoors can be intimidating. So I'm on a mission to empower you to find your confidence to adventure more. From beginner hiking tips to learning how to travel on a budget, I've got you. Whatever your adventure and whatever your skill level, I'm here to HYPE YOU UP!

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