This was not my first trip to Havasupai, but it was my first trip there with three of my close guy friends. Why does that matter, or how did that effect my trip. There is responsibility that goes along with planning such a trip. Permits, transportation, lodging, food, hikes, places to see and things to do. Include the various individuals without sacrificing quality and the amount of activities. We had a diverse group of 17 – some married, some children came, and we had people from three different states.
Since several people ask about an itinerary, here is what we, or a portion thereof, did.
5:00 AM Hiked 7.5 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop to the Tourist Office. We began early to beat the heat and when it was light enough to hike without headlamps.
8:00 AM The permit holder filled out a form to obtained the reserved permits (one wristband for each person) at the Tourist Office – listed vehicle license plate number, make, and model, and the names of those on this trip.
A very nice friend of mine obtained breakfast for me at the Cafe in Supai while I took care of the above-mentioned paperwork. Bacon and eggs!
I had some first-timers with me (they have never been to Havasupai), so we detoured from the main trail and took an off-shoot trail by the newly constructed Toilets near Fifty-foot Falls. I know it might not sound important that I mention the bathrooms when I should be writing about waterfalls. However, if you do not know that there is a bathroom in the village of Supai, the two-mile walk/hike to the campground could be uncomfortable, particularly after hiking for hours.
We stopped by Little Navajo Falls prior to making our way back to the main trail to the campground. There are a couple of lookout spots along the main trail that are worth the view of both Fifty-foot Falls and Little Navajo Falls simultaneously.
Pause at the Terraces and Hidden Falls Overlook to glimpse future activities of fun and exploration!
10:00 AM Established camp site. Fortunately, there were people that just left and we found a great spot close to the Fern Spring (does not require filtering or purification). I went through the campground to secure a 5-gallon bucket. Score! I use the 5-gallon bucket to store all of my food. Squirrels have yet to steal my food when in these 5-gallon buckets. I highly recommend, especially between April and October when the squirrels run rampant. The squirrels are viscous. Not sure who came up with the idea of hanging packs and food bags from a tree, as squirrels are fairly adept at climbing and chewing through cord/rope.
Noon Camp established. Lunch. Off to Mooney Falls. I make it a priority to go to Mooney Falls as soon as possible, hopefully around noon – 1:30 PM. Why? Because tomorrow morning when on the way to the Confluence, I do not want people in my group stopping to take photographs. I like the Confluence hike to be a point-A-to-point-B hike. Why? Because the longer it takes, the hotter it gets, the more water a person is likely to consume, the lighting at the Confluence is best around 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM (depending upon the month – shorter in February, March, October, November), AND the rafters will arrive somewhere around 10:00 – 11:00 AM.
We look over the 200-foot cliff to gaze upon the mighty Mooney Falls. Then, the descent and the chatting begins. Ooh! Awe! The chains are slippery. The rock is slippery. And then there are the three make-shift ladders. Last year a rung on the top ladder came loose on one side. Not confidence inspiring. The second ladder, which is the middle of the three ladders only has three rungs. Be careful. If one pulls on the ladder enough the ladder will come away from the cliff and hopefully will stop after traveling about 6 inches as the chains securing the ladder catch. Heart stopping the first time that happened. It is still like that as of Saturday afternoon.
The Rope Swing – always a must. Once down the cliff side, head directly across to the opposite side of the canyon where there is a tree with a rope swing. There is usually a picnic table near this tree in the water. I place my pack on this table. Why? Squirrels.
The Rope Swing Cave – once in the water after swinging on the rope swing, look back toward Mooney Falls. There is an opening that since last year one can walk right into the cave. The cave goes back about 20 feet. One of my favorite caves and the easiest to access, yet most people do not notice it. I did not see it for years – always thinking and playing on the rope swing.
Grotto Falls – we headed down stream from the Rope Swing. There is one 8-10 foot waterfall and then Grotto Falls. This was one waterfall and is now sort of 4 waterfalls. These are small waterfalls. The water will feel much warmer at Grotto Falls. Why does the water feel warmer, say 75 F degrees? Because Grotto Springs is nearby and the water has not traveled miles to these falls as it has by the time the water goes from Havasu Falls to Fifty-foot Falls, Little Navajo Falls, Hidden Falls, Havasu Falls, and Mooney Falls. At Mooney Falls, the water in Havasu Creek has traveled over 4 miles exposed to air temperature.
The Stairway to Paradise – this is a cool feature of Grotto Falls where there is what appears to be steps up the side of the hill/cliff with water cascading down the stairs. Cool.
We walk up the Stairway to Paradise and join the trail back to the bottom of Mooney Falls (this trail is dry – that is, it is in the dirt and not in the water and does not cross the water between Grotto Falls and the Chains and Ladders of Mooney Falls. This dirt trail is much quicker than going upstream in Havasu Creek.
Dinner and turn in early as it has been a very long day and, we start the hike to the Confluence at 6:00 AM.