Guided Backpacking Tours to Havasu Falls
Taking a backpacking and camping trip to Havasu Falls is an epic vacation you have to do at least once in your lifetime. Disconnect from our busy, materialistic world and rely only on yourself, the experience of your professional guide, and the gear you carry on your back. Backpacking is the most strenuous way to visit Havasu Falls. You will carry all of your gear including tents, sleeping bags/pads, food, and even group gear like the kitchen equipment will be shared among hikers. You must be comfortable carrying 35-45lbs on your back during the (10 mile) hike in and out of the canyon. Don’t have the gear? AOA can provide everything you need.
Why travel with AOA? – Find out more
Price: $1075 pp
Activity: Hiking, Camping
4 days, 3 nights
Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip
2017 Price- $1,075 pp
2018 Price- $1,125 pp
- Price is per person, shared occupancy in all accommodations.*
- Book a 2018 trip online and use the code NIFTY50 for $50 off per person
*Find out more about solo accommodations under the “Upgrades & Additions” tab below.
Your guide will lead you through this beautiful and unique canyon, weaving a natural history of how it was formed and who calls it home today. You’ll sleep under the stars and enjoy delicious backcountry meals prepared by your guide while you soak your feet in the healing waters of Havasu Creek.
Click here for an explanation of AOA’s trip ratings.
Where to Meet
START: 6:00pm on Day 1. Meet your guide at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn Campground on Historic Route 66. (CLICK HERE for map.)
END: Hualapai Hilltop after hike-out on Day 4 (usually between 11:00am and 2:00pm).
GUESTS: 4 min to 12 max
- Reservations and overnight permits on the Havasupai Indian Reservation
- Grand Canyon Caverns camping fee
- Meals starting dinner Day 1 through lunch Day 4
- Professional Wilderness First Responder certified guides,
- All necessary high quality backpacking gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, double occupancy tent)
- Trekking poles complimentary upon request
- Kitchen and group gear (cooking utensils, stove, fuel, water filter, food storage where needed, dish washing necessities)
- Personal mess kit (bowl, mug, fork, spoon)
- Personal insurance and expenses
- Pre- or post-trip lodging
- Transportation to and from Grand Canyon
- Airport transfers
- Breakfast and lunch Day 1
- Dinner Day 4
- Gratuities to AOA Guides
*Round trip ground transportation from Phoenix/Scottsdale to Grand Canyon Caverns/Hualapai Trailhead and back to Phoenix/Scottsdale is available for purchase as an upgrade package. See “Upgrades & Additions” tab below for details.*
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When’s the best time to go on this trip?
A: Early Spring through Summer and Fall are excellent times to visit Havasupai. The weather is warm enough for comfortable swimming in the waterfalls of Havasu Creek.
Q: How much am I expected to carry in my pack?
A: Backpacking trips are challenging by nature. Expect that you will need to carry a backpack with a capacity of at least 50 liters. In this pack you will carry all of your own clothing and personal items, your personal water, your tent, sleeping bag and pad, kitchen utensils and other group gear, and group food. You must be comfortable carrying at least 35-45lbs on your back on the hikes into and out of the canyon, 10 miles each direction.
AOA works hard to adhere to Leave No Trace Principles. In Havasupai, there are composting toilets but on this and all backpacking trips you should expect to carry all trash out of the canyon in your backpack.
Q: What are the trails like?
A: Hiking in Havasupai can be challenging, in places the trails are uneven, exposed, and composed of fine gravel or sand. Comfortable, supportive, and well-broken in hiking boots or shoes are an absolute necessity when hiking in the Grand Canyon. The trail from Haulapai Hilltop to our camp along Havasu creek is 10 miles and for much of the hike there is little shade available. The hike into the canyon is a sandy and rocky downhill hike, which means the hike out of the canyon is a steady 10 mile incline. When hiking in the canyon itself we will have access to the creek and shady trees for cooling off.
Q: How do I train for the trip?
A: Before embarking on any Grand Canyon hiking trip you should do significant training to ensure your trip will be an enjoyable and memorable experience. For this particular guided backpacking trip, you should carefully read all pre-trip training materials that are sent to you after you sign up. This is a strenuous trip suitable for experienced backpackers or fit and dedicated first timers. You must be comfortable carrying 35-45lbs on your back.
You should also be sure to break in any gear that you will be using well in advance.
Q: Why should I travel with AOA?
A: We are the Havasupai experts! Arizona Outback Adventures operates more tours here than anyone else. Each of our guides spends as many as 120 days every year in Havasupai. Only they have the intimate knowledge and understanding that comes from essentially living in one of the most beautiful and secluded places on earth. AOA promises to exceed your expectations in 5 key areas: Safety, Comfort, Food, Education, and Exceptional Guides. Our guests return to travel with us again and again. To hear what they have to say, read our Testimonials page.
Q: What is Havasupai?
A: Havasu Canyon is one of over 600 side canyons forming the 277-mile long Grand Canyon. While over 5 million people per year visit Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, far fewer venture to the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation deep in the heart of Grand Canyon. Home to the Havasupai Tribe for hundreds of years, the canyon is a land of towering waterfalls, beautiful cascades, and tropical blue-green pools. This lush oasis is considered the “gem” of Grand Canyon.
Read our Havasupai cultural history page for more information about the Havasupai Indian Tribe. Still have questions? Read our detailed Havasupai trip FAQ for more information on: weather, accommodations, training, etc.
Grand Canyon Information
Some say you haven’t lived until you have hiked in the Grand Canyon. A guided trek through the heart of the canyon will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, awe, appreciation, and love of the grandest place on earth.
The Grand Canyon is a complex and mysterious place that continues to evolve. As the canyon itself is constantly changing, so too are the hypotheses as to how it was formed. New questions and discoveries are nearly as plentiful as the visitors who come to gaze into the vast chasm. Geologists, archaeologists, and adventurers alike have been canvassing the canyon for decades trying to come to some sort of understanding of the place. The canyon is still very much a wild frontier.
How old is the Colorado River? What sort of creature created this fossil? How is it that rocks only 500 million years old are found at the same altitude as those that are nearly a billion years old? Why is a type of rock found in one area of the canyon and not another?
Geologists are able to date the ages of the rock layers with accuracy. We know that the oldest rock layer, the Vishnu Schist, lies deepest within the canyon and is the layer through which the Colorado River currently flows. This ancient Vishnu Schist is considered some of the oldest exposed rock in the world, dating its birth to approximately 1.7 billion years ago. Scientists generally agree upon the ages of the rock layers and the means by which they were formed, but it is the age of the canyon itself that is debated. Some say the river began cutting into the canyon a mere 5 million years ago, others claim it was as long ago as 70 million years. By as recently as 1.2 million years ago, Grand Canyon had come to look much the same as it does today. The beautiful and complex rock layers that have been exposed offer a glimpse into the incredible tectonic forces that have impacted this part of the world over a span of nearly two billion years.
For more information on Grand Canyon flora and fauna, geology, and weather visit the Grand Canyon Natural History page.
Recommended Reading List
- I am the Grand Canyon – Stephen Hirst
- Grand Canyon: Solving Earth’s Grandest Puzzle – James Lawrence Powell
- Grand Canyon: True Stories of Life Below the Rim – Sean O’Reilly, James O’Reilly and Larry Habegger, Editors
- Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon – Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers
Upgrades & Additions
Solo Accommodations Upgrade
**This option requires you to meet at 1:30pm in Scottsdale on Day 1**
- Ground transportation from Host Hotel in Scottsdale/Phoenix area to Grand Canyon Caverns campground on Day 1.
- Ground transportation from Trailhead back to Host Hotel on Day 4 (ETA 3:00-5:00pm).
- Bottled water and snacks during transfer.
- Purchase: 3-liter Camelbak reservoir/bladder ($35 per)
Optional upgrades, additions, and rentals subject to tax (7.95%).
2017 Trip Dates
- July 14-17
- July 20-23
- July 28-31
- August 10-13
- August 18-21
- August 24-27
- September 28- October 1
- October 6-9
- October 12-15
- October 19-22
- October 26-29
- November 2-5
- November 9-12
2018 Trip Dates
- March 6-9
- March 12-15
- March 19-22
- March 26-29
- April 10-13
- April 17-20
- April 24-27
- May 1-4
- May 7-10
- May 22-25
- June 8-11
- June 14-17
- June 26-29
- July 5-8
- July 16-19
- July 26-29
- August 21-24
- Sept 7-10
- Sept 11-14
- Sept 25-28
- Oct 5-8
- Oct 19-22
- Oct 22-25
To see all multi-day guided tours, visit our Adventure Tour Calendar.
Reservation & Cancellation Policy
Reservations, Payments and Cancellation
Havasupai backpacking tours are very popular and advanced planning is often necessary. We recommend making your reservations at least 3 to 5 months in advance. We can accommodate last minute bookings provided space is available, so please call our office to check. Each trip requires a minimum number of participants for departure. Arizona Outback Adventures (AOA) reserves the right to cancel scheduled trips that do not meet minimum sign-up requirements (usually 4 guests).
AOA is a licensed outfitter on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. All of AOA’s trip departures are subject to approval by, and to the policies and regulations of, the Havasupai tribal council. Changes to regulations for licensed outfitters, and any potential effects to AOA’s scheduled departures, are at the discretion of the tribe.
For more details please see our comprehensive Trip Policies and Payments page.
We recommend Travel Guard insurance.
DAY 1: MEET AT GRAND CANYON CAVERNS, ORIENTATION
Grand Canyon Caverns is a remote motel and campground located on Historic Route 66 about 1 hour from the Havasupai Trailhead. Here we meet for dinner and an orientation from our guide. We’ll distribute gear (tents, sleeping pads, kitchen equipment, etc), and get our backpacks fitted and packed before our big hike tomorrow.
After setting up your tents for a night under the stars, a campfire and amazing guide-prepared meal will await. We’ll enjoy some frontcountry aspects of this established campground (flush toilets and hot showers) before venturing deep into the Grand Canyon tomorrow. Backpacking is a shared experience that builds camaraderie and friendships in a unique way. Spend the evening getting to know your fellow travelers, tomorrow you toil together and relax together in the heart of the canyon.
- Hiking: No hiking today
- Meals: Dinner included
- Lodging: Camping at Grand Canyon Caverns campground (gear included)
DAY 2: HIKE TO HAVASUPAI
Today we will descend 10 miles into the Grand Canyon. All of your training will lead up to this day. Be prepared to stretch your legs and be rewarded with astounding canyon views around every turn.
Your backpacking trip begins today at 5,200 feet in elevation. The trail to Havasupai switchbacks down until it reaches a dry streambed and levels out. After a trailside lunch, the canyon walls seem to grow taller alongside the trail as you descend deeper into the labyrinthine red sandstone of Hualapai Canyon. At mile 8, the canyon begins to widen and the vegetation turns lush as you enter the village of Supai, the most remote village in the U.S. where even the mail still arrives by packhorse. Here at 3,200 feet, after a welcome rest stop, the Cottonwood-lined paths will lead you through the village and into the canyon’s backcountry. A little further down the trail, you hike past 70ft. New Navajo Falls, 35 ft. Rock Falls and 100 ft. Havasu Falls. From there your group will explore the vast campground for that perfect spot to call home. Estimated arrival time is between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. The reward for our 10-mile hike is a hearty and delicious guide-prepared dinner, served under the stars before we retire to our cozy tents for the night.
- Hiking: 10 miles
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
- Lodging: Camping at Havasu Falls campground (gear included)
DAY 3: ADVENTURE IN THE “GEM OF THE GRAND CANYON”
Awaken in camp, nestled beneath the towering cottonwood trees along the banks of Havasu Creek and a short walk from the canyon’s enormous waterfalls. You will find coffee and breakfast each morning. Your guides will lead you on hikes around Havasupai, some of the most spectacular in the world. Cross tropical blue streams and wade through lush meadows of wild grapevines. Clamber up narrow side canyons with red rock walls towering thousands of feet overhead. Even take a swim beside a 200 ft. waterfall. Each day you will dine on healthy, hearty meals prepared by your trip leaders.
All the guided hikes are optional and you are welcome to choose to instead spend a lazy afternoon or morning relaxing by Havasu creek. Remember, it’s your vacation. Make it what you wish. We have options from high adventure to peaceful relaxation.
- Hiking: 4-8 miles
- Meals: All meals included
- Lodging: Camping at Havasu Falls campground (gear included)
DAY 4: CONQUER THE CANYON
The scenery and magic of Havasupai and its majestic waterfalls will make you never want to leave, but after breakfast it is time to conquer the canyon! While always challenging, the exhilaration of reaching the rim is an amazing feeling you will never forget. Hiking out of the Grand Canyon is a strenuous endeavor, especially on any backpacking trip. Remember, you will be carrying a large and heavy backpacking pack. This is the goal you should prepare yourself for most. Expect to arrive at the rim between 11:00am – 2:00pm.
- Hiking: 10 miles
- Meals: Breakfast and lunch included
- Lodging: On your own
Check out this trip’s route
Click here to see the route we take for the Havasu Falls Backpacking trip.
Tips for Planning a Trip to Havasupai
If you’ve never been on a backpacking trip before, going guided is a great way to get started! AOA staff and guides will show you the ropes when it comes to how to prepare, what to pack, tips for the trail and an abundance of information about the area you plan to explore. But before you hit the trail, be sure to read up on how to prepare for your first-ever backpacking trip!
Many see the photos, but only a few know the names of all of Havasupai’s waterfalls. Read on for a guide to the main waterfalls of Havasupai.
Not sure which guided trip to Havasupai is best for you and your group? Don’t worry! We wrote a blog that breaks down all of our guided trips to Havasupai for you.
Ready for your adventure to Havasupai but still wondering what the trail to paradise is like? Find out more about the trail to Havasu Falls here.