Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Supai Falls and Navajo Falls Arizona Hiking Pictures
Havasu Falls Grand Canyon Arizona has dramatic landscapes all around. Sixteen members of the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club traveled to Havasupai Indian Reservation, home of “The People of the Blue Water.” The village of Supai is nestled in a canyon paradise in one of the most beautiful and remote corners of the Grand Canyon. Our group started the 8-mile trail from Hualapai Hilltop, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, into Hualapai Canyon that can be reached only on foot, by mule, or by helicopter.
We immediately began switchbacks through Coconino Sandstone, dropping 1,400 vertical feet to the floor of the
canyon in about a mile of hiking. Several times mule trains carrying supplies, mail, or hikers’ packs to
and from the village passed us. At these times, it was “Proceed at your own risk,” as we flattened
ourselves against the canyon wall while these beasts of burden galloped by with a singleness of purpose,
frequently without an attendant in sight! The roar of a helicopter would often break the silence which,
coupled with the mules, made the trail a rather busy place for such a remote area. Supai is the only
place remaining in the U.S. whose mail is still delivered by mule train.
We continued in the bed of Hualapai canyon about 5 ½ more miles to the confluence of Havasu Canyon where we encountered the first trickling of Havasu Springs. From this point the trail changed from dry desert canyon hiking to a lush riparian habitat sprouting up out of an incredible drainage that finally empties into the Colorado River. We got our first glimpse of the rushing turquoise waters of Havasu Creek, and crossed these waters on a footbridge, as we continued the last 1 ½ miles to Supai. We spotted the first buildings of the village, which is located in a U-shaped canyon surrounded by impressive cliffs of Supai Sandstone. Supai is guarded by rock spires known as Wii’igliva, one male and one female, who watch over the Havasupai people and their crops.
After checking in at the Lodge, some of our group sampled the fare of Indian fry bread, burritos, and hamburgers at the village café and pronounced it quite satisfactory. The two backpackers in our group proceeded the additional two miles to the campground and selected a delightful spot next to some minifalls of Havasu Creek. After freshening up, the “Lodge group” proceeded 1 ½ miles to the first of the three famous waterfalls that plunge over cliffs of Redwall Limestone. This first cascade of widely spaced branches is the 75-foot high Navajo Falls that can only be reached by wading. This our hikers enthusiastically did after donning water shoes brought for just that purpose.
A little further, we were introduced to Havasu Falls, which drops 100 feet into a beautiful pool rimmed by travertine deposits.
That evening some of our group were guests at the campsite and dined on sumptuous freeze-dried meals while the others enjoyed their repast in mutual camaraderie at the village café, followed by a visit to the local ice cream shop.
The next day the group hiked the 3 miles to Mooney Falls, which is surrounded, by fascinating travertine
deposits and plummets 196 feet into an aquamarine-colored pool.
A rough trail wound down the cliff to a sign warning “Descend at Your Own Risk.” The route continued through two tunnels hacked through the travertine and on to chains and iron stakes with which our hikers eased themselves down to the bottom of the falls. We did not dally because our hiking destination for the day was Beaver Falls, two miles further downstream from Mooney Falls.
The trail soon ended at a series of pools, which we waded through. The next 2 miles were through a forested patch and into a huge open area carpeted with wild grapevines, sometimes shoulder high. The trail took us through three thigh-deep creek crossings as we passed countless inviting travertine pools and small cascades. Our efforts were rewarded when we reached the beginning of Beaver Falls, a stair-stepped series of falls and pools that stretch for more than a half mile.
We lunched and started our return to Mooney Falls. Tempted by a rope hanging from a tree, several daring souls grabbed hold, took a running leap, and plunged into a lovely deep pool. The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming and enjoying the beach at Havasu Falls.
With our objectives met in Havasupai, the group’s attention turned to the climb out of the canyon the next day, particularly the last mile of grueling switchbacks. Thus four subgroups were formed, each with different starting times. A group of one left around 5 a.m., napped in his truck, and was waiting to greet the rest of us at the top. The second group left at 6 a.m. and set a brisk pace. The third group, unwilling to leave without their morning coffee, waited to leave until after the café opened. Our valiant campers started packing up while it was still dark, donned their full backpacks, and hiked the extra two miles to the village before starting the 8-mile trail back to the top.
It was with a sense of accomplishment and relief that each hiker reached Hualapai Hilltop. We were pleasantly surprised and refreshed by the drinks that had stayed cold for 3 days in our coolers. All resoundingly proclaimed the hike a success and started talking about plans for a return trip. Four from our party extended their adventure with a one-day rafting trip on the Colorado River sponsored by the Hualapai Indians.
Visit website hikingohioparks.com for more information about many other hiking parks and trails.