The Havasupai Tribal Council has good news for anyone whose plans to visit the beautiful Havasu Falls have been on hold since 2020.
The tribal council announced the falls, which are on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona, will reopen to some tourists on February 1, 2023. However, there are important restrictions.
Havasu Falls And Why It Closed To Tourists
Havasu Falls is the most famous and most visited waterfall along Havasu Creek, which runs through the Havasu Canyon and into the Grand Canyon. Havasu Canyon is the home of the Havasupai Tribe, which administers the land.
Located outside Grand Canyon National Park, Havasu Falls is known around the world for its blue-green waters and stunning landscape. Since Havasu Falls is located on the reservation, the Havasupai Tribe requires permits to visit the falls. The tribe, however, has not offered tourism permits for 3 years.
First, the Havasupai Nation was on lockdown and the tribal council suspended tourism in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That temporary suspension was then extended several times.
“With limited access to meaningful healthcare, closing the reservation was the best way to keep our community safe and healthy,” the tribal council said in a statement. “We have remained closed to tourists since that time.”
Then, the tribe “experienced ongoing issues with the individual and company the Tribe had contracted with to provide online tourism operations and customer service,” the Tribal Council continued. That, in turn, led to an ongoing legal matter and also required the tribe “to engage with a new tourism operator and spend significant time and financial resources rebuilding the online tourism platform in order to be ready for the anticipated opening of the 2023 tourism season.”
What The Reopening Means
While the Tribal Council announced it will reopen its campground and lodge to tourists starting February 1, 2023, there are some important restrictions.
“As a reminder, there are no NEW reservations/permits for 2023,” the Havasupai Tribal Council said in a statement on Facebook. “Only those reservation holders that were impacted by the COVID-19 tourism suspension have a confirmed reservation.”
If you didn’t plan a trip that was later postponed due to the tribe’s COVID-19 pandemic-related closure and then rescheduled for dates between February 1, 2023, and May 31, 2023, there is still a way you may be able to visit Havasu Falls this year.
“If you are looking to purchase a reservation for the Campground and/or the Lodge, reservations are often posted to the Cancellation/Transfer List,” the Havasupai Reservation Support team told TravelAwaits. “You can check at 8 a.m. Arizona time every day for new public Cancellations and Transfers.”
If you have already created an account in the Havasupai Campground Reservations system, you can check to see if any openings are available on the Campground Cancellations/Transfers webpage. If you don’t have an account yet, you’ll need to create one.
“This has been a trying experience for all involved and we appreciate your patience as we move through this transition. However, there are many positive things as a result,” the tribal council explained. “This is truly a great time to visit, and please know that we are eager to welcome tourists back to our beautiful Reservation.”
A Trek Worth The Effort
A trip to see this remote waterfall isn’t easy. First, visitors must apply for and receive a permit from the Havasupai Tribe to camp or stay overnight in the lodge. Day trips are not allowed.
Next, if you are at Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll need to drive from Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park to Hualapai Hilltop. This takes about 4 hours via State Route 64 south, Interstate 40 and Historic Route 66 west, then Indian Road 18 north. The last stop with services is Peach Springs, 60+ miles from your destination.
“The trek to Havasu Falls is — to state it simply — difficult,” Visit Arizona explains. “Depending on your fitness level, the hike can be extremely strenuous, beginning (and ending) with switchbacks that change in elevation by 1,800 feet in the first 2 miles. The difficulty is compounded by heat in the summer.”
“Bring sunscreen, a hat, a first-aid kit, snacks, and plenty of water,” Visit Arizona says. “There is no water available on the trail, and it’s recommended each person bring at least a gallon for themselves.”
If you love waterfalls and hiking, the trek is worth the effort. Heading to the campground, you’ll pass three waterfalls: Fifty Foot, Lower Navajo, and the spectacular Havasu Falls.
As always, it’s imperative that you respect tribal lands and those who live there.