Good question, and one we often get from our guests. Many people have heard of Havasu Falls, and the other waterfalls near the Havasupai village, or seen photos of these extraordinary places. But the short answer is no, you will not visit Havasu Falls on your GCW river trip. Why? Well, that requires a somewhat longer answer.
The easiest way to explain it is by looking at a map of the Grand Canyon region. Some of our trips (our Upper Canyon trips) don’t even pass by Havasu Creek — which is, of course, the creek on which Havasu Falls lies. Our Upper Canyon trips end around mile 88 on the Colorado River; Havasu Creek doesn’t meet up with the Colorado until just past river mile 157. So, if you’re on one of our Upper Canyon trips, you’ll end your river trip long before you’re anywhere near Havasu Creek and its waterfalls.
If you’re on one of our Lower Canyon or Full Canyon trips, you will pass by the Havasu Creek confluence, and there’s a very good chance you’ll stop there and play in the turquoise creek. (Unless the creek has recently been hit by a flash flood, the water at the mouth of the creek is the same crystal blue color as the upstream waterfalls.) You might even wander a mile or so up Havasu Creek, if time permits.
But … Havasu Falls is about 8 miles up the creek, and much of the “trail” to the falls is through the creek itself (scrambling over slippery river rocks) or through heavy brush. We just don’t have the time or the ability to bushwhack our way up to Havasu Falls on a river trip. But, not to worry — Havasu Creek has lots of smaller pour-overs near the mouth, which are a blast to play in and slide down, and an endless number of secluded spots to relax and enjoy the incredible beauty of the canyon.
If you’re determined to see the bigger falls upstream, you’ll have to make reservations with the Havasupai (the falls are on their reservation, and not technically within Grand Canyon National Park) and hike down to the village and the falls from the rim of the canyon. That hike is about 12 miles long and begins at a place called Hualapai Hilltop, and reservations can be exceptionally difficult to secure. But, if you’re an avid backpacker, we think combining a Grand Canyon river trip with a pre- or post-trip hike to Havasupai is an awesome idea. That way, you can see the creek both from the top down and the bottom up.