One of the secret treasures of the Grand Canyon will remain closed to tourists in 2022.
Visitors will not be allowed at the Havasupai Waterfalls, which are located on the tribal lands of the Havasupai Tribe, as a precaution during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The falls have been closed to the public since March 2020. The tribal council had expected to open the area to tourists at the start of June, but last week, extended the ban for the remainder of the year.
“There are still so many unknowns with the new COVID-19 variants that for the health and safety of our tribal community, it is in the best interest to remain closed to tourists,” said Chairman Thomas Siyuja Sr. in January, the Arizona Republic reported.
Closing the falls for the remainder of the year will allow the tribe to undertake necessary repairs and enhancements to ensure a safe experience for future guests, the tribe said in a new statement.
“We have seen our tribal lands return to their natural beauty over the last 2 years and are eager to share their beauty once again,” said Siyuja.
Tourists with reservations for 2022 are being rebooked for identical dates in 2023. No further reservations for 2023 are currently being taken.
The Havasupai Waterfalls
Havasupai Falls is a gem in the middle of the Grand Canyon, with aqua-blue water spilling over the orange travertine cliffs. The falls drop almost 100 feet into a lake below that appears as an oasis in the middle of the desert.
There are actually five separate falls that make up the area: Navajo Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls. All are located on the Havasupai land in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon.
It is one of the most difficult areas to reach, but high in demand because of its stunning landscape. From Hualapai Hilltop, It’s an 8-mile hike to reach the Supai village, and another 2 miles for camping and waterfalls.
Because of the severe daytime heat, most backpackers make the journey just after sunrise, and there is no drinking water available at any point of the hike.
Officials warn that the hike is not for those who have never done a multi-night backpacking experience.
Prior to the pandemic, reservations for the falls would be snatched up within hours, and all reservations were for 4 days and three nights. Whether those rules will apply upon reopening in 2023 remains unknown.
“The Havasupai Tribe appreciates your ongoing patience and looks forward to once again welcoming tourists back to Supai,” Siyuja said.
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