Havasu Falls, the place that kickstarted my whole hiking obsession in the last year. I was on a job and talking to a model about exploring and finding enjoyment in getting out of the city. During our chat she whipped out her phone and Google image searched “Havasu Falls.” My jaw dropped when I scrolled through the images she pulled up on her phone. Breathtaking, teal-blue waterfalls galore! I had to go. She told me she that her and her boyfriend were going to make a trip on her birthday. The trip required a drive out to Arizona and roughly a 24 hike (roundtrip) while lugging a 30lb pack. When I got off the job that night I glued myself to Google in order to figure out how does one backpack?
After doing numerous day hikes around Los Angles I finally geared up with a few friends and embarked on the hike to the falls.
Length: 24 miles RT
Duration: 3 days minimum
Trail Condition: Well maintained (watch out for mules and mule poop)
05/2016 Update – Havasu was my very first backpacking trip. Since then a lot of my backpacking equipment and photography gear has changed to accommodate creating more travel photography. See the following posts for more details:
You begin the long trek down by parking your cars at the top of the canyon. There you’ll throw everything you need on your back and head out.
For the most part the trail is well maintained and pleasantly easy –minus these switchbacks. Going downhill on these guys are no problem. However, when you come back on them on your return trip they seem never-ending! It’s best to leave between 4-6am to escape the scorching noon sun.
There are other ways you can get down into Havasu.
1. Hire a pack of mules to carry your gear and equipment down. You’ll still have to make the hike down yourself.
2. Pay $90.00 for a one way 10-minute helicopter ride for you and your pack.
Around 2pm we arrived at the Havasu Village, picked up our permits, and paid our fees. I’ve heard in the past it’s been difficult to get permits for Havasu. Supposedly David kept redialing the reservation land line until someone at the office picked up and registered us.
After you pass the village’s church you have about two more miles of hiking to get to the campgrounds.
After we set up camp and replenished our hydration packs our camp was free to explore and hike! Once you’re down in the valley there are several hikes (each are 6 miles roundtrip) that reward you with beautiful blue waterfalls. Immediately after dropping our heavy packs the photo enthusiasts in our group ran over to Havasu Falls.
We even went back to the falls in the evening to attempt a few night shots. Since the moon wasn’t on our side I decided to experiment with my headlamp and paint in the falls. I locked my camera down on my Mefoto Tripod (which is outrageously light weight and perfect for carrying on long hikes) and took 10-20 second exposures.
Here’s the result. You can see the moon barely peaking over the cliffs.
The following day we set out to explore Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls. Mooney Falls is a 90ft waterfall that requires climbing down a rock tunnel and a few wooden ladders to get down into a river it flows into. Go 3 miles down the river and it will take you to Beaver Falls.
It’s hard to believe that an oasis like is located in Arizona. And frankly I’m a bit jealous that they have all this beautiful, blue water since California is running out of water. This trip definitely ignited my desire to see the world more. More adventures to come!
Reservations/Permits – havasuwaterfalls.net/reservations.html
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