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The Waterfalls of Havasupai

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

A First Timer's Guide to Havasupai: Part 6

Havasu and Mooney Falls are the iconic, Insta-worthy crowd pleasers you all know and love, but there are more stunning waterfalls in Havasupai than just those two. Here is everything you need to know about the 5 main waterfalls in Havasupai!

A History Lesson

{navajo falls, may 2008. that blurry smudge top center is yours truly}

Once upon a time there was a beautiful waterfall called Navajo. She was wide and majestic, with water cascading over her edges into a deep pool. Not nearly as popular as her taller sisters, and tucked away off the trail, she was the ideal fall for cliff jumping and sunbathing in peace and quiet. Then the great flash flood of 2008 happened and totally obliterated her. But like, for reals.

When the flash flood ripped through Havasupai in August of 2008 it left destruction in its wake, forever changing the landscape of this beautiful place. Us Havasupi old timer's will remember peaceful afternoons spent lounging about and taking in the beauty of Navajo Falls. I have such fond memories of this place, and now it doesn't even exist, forever gone. The flood caused the creek to re-route, and in doing so it now bypasses Navajo completely. She's just a dried up rock formation now. Mother nature can be a bitch.

Navajo wasn't the only one affected from the flood. Havasu Falls received a face lift, and don't get me wrong, she's still beautiful, but just like Lindsay Lohan, she just doesn't look the same. Decades of travertine build up that sat at the very top of the fall and created a wider cascade were washed away. Nature is doing her thing, and Havasu is rebuilding and is stunning as always, but if you saw her pre-flood you'll notice the difference.

{young, dumb, and on top of the world. havasu falls, may 2008. if you tried this today you'd die}

The saving grace of this awful flood? It created two new waterfalls, Fifty Foot Falls and Little Navajo Falls. They say two is better than one, and these falls will not disappoint.

Fifty Foot Falls

One of the new waterfalls created at the expense of Navajo {may she rest in peace} is Fifty Foot Falls. These falls are actually the first falls you will hike past, but given their location you'd never know it. They are tucked away off of the main path and quite hidden, meaning if you put forth the effort to find them you will be rewarded with seclusion. These are the perhaps the hardest of all the falls to locate, but as I happened upon them by accident I am sure you can find them, no problem.

About a mile or so after the village you will notice an open area along the creek with a trail to the right leading down to the water and Little Navajo Falls. Look for a trail to the left of this open space that will lead you up stream. You'll follow this short trail until you reach the falls.

Pro Tip: You can walk behind these falls.

Little Navajo Falls

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the spirit of Navajo Falls lives on in its namesake, Little Navajo Falls. If you read through the section about Fifty Foot Falls, you already know that this fall is located about a mile after you leave the village. When you are hiking from the village to the campgrounds the creek will predominantly be on your left. When you come to the open area follow the well worn path down a short hill to the falls. If this seems confusing, and I am sure it does, don't stress. It'll make sense when you see it, and if not there are plenty of happy campers frolicking about in this area, they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

If you haven't caught on already by my less than stellar pictures of Fifty Foot Falls and Little Navajo, I regretfully did not spend much time at these falls during my last trip. Big mistake. Big. Huge! Fortunately I have learned my lesson, and will beeline it to these two beauts my next visit.

The downfall to these two falls is their location. They are only about a mile from the campground, but depending on where you set up camp it's probably closer to a 2 mile trek that is all up hill in deep sand and in scorching desert sun the whole way. Don't let this deter you though, they are well worth the effort!

Havasu Falls

This girl needs no introduction, Havasu Falls is next up, ladies and gentlemen! Name a more iconic waterfall, I dare you. Okay, okay, you're right, Niagara, Victoria, you got me. Still, you must admit that thanks to the rise of social media Havasu Falls has quickly become a sought after celebrity. Even Queen Bey wants a piece of her.

This is the next fall you will come to as you make your way to the campsites. Remember how I said the creek will predominantly be on your left? A little ways after you pass Little Navajo you will cross over a bridge and the creek will switch to being on your right. Get excited when this happens, because it means you are getting close! The trail will take you right up against a canyon wall, and as you turn the corner she'll come into full view. Get out the camera, all the photo ops are coming your way!

To reach her simmering blue pools, follow the trail down and cut to the right. You will descend through a gap in the rock to reach the water. I am sure there are multiple trails to get there, but this is the correct one to use. Also, it's a neat trail, why wouldn't you take it?

This is the fall that everyone wants to hang out by, and I don't blame them. She's beautiful, you won't find a better back drop for pictures anywhere, and you can swim not just in the main pool, but in several smaller pools as well. There is always a crowd here during the day, but I was shocked by how deserted it was in the evening.

Pro Tip: For some privacy go explore the area to the right of the fall. People don't often venture that way, and you can enjoy the beauty of the fall without the crowds.

Bonus Pro Tip: There is an abandoned mine in the canyon to the left of the falls. Go about a quarter mile past the falls and look to your right for a large opening. It is roped off, and there are open holes in the ground once you enter, so should you venture this way know that it is very dangerous and not recommended.

Mooney Falls

At a staggering 196 feet tall, Mooney Falls is easily the grandest of all the falls. This is almost a full 100 feet taller than Havasu. That's insane. And finding your way to the bottom of this beast is even more insane. The only way down is though a cave and ladder system that looks near impossible to descend. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you are willing to feel the fear and do it anyway, you will be richly rewarded at the bottom. Making the ladders even more treacherous is the mist from this powerful waterfall. It coats the rungs, making everything slick. Bring a pair of gardening gloves. You can make it down just fine without them, but the extra grip is appreciated, plus if you are like me and can't stand to have dirty hands, they will keep your hands clean from the mud these ladders are perpetually covered in.

Don't let these warnings scare you, I promise Mooney's bark is worse than its bite, it's really not as bad as it looks. It is absolutely doable, you just have to be brave and trust in your hands and feet.

As you can imagine, this area can get pretty bottle necked with only the one way up and down. Avoid Mooney during peak times; your best bet for quick travel through the tunnel is to go at the crack of dawn or evening.

Most people snap a few pictures at the bottom and then continue on their way to Beaver Falls. Don't do this! I mean, take pictures, go to Beaver, but first take some time and explore the area. If you follow the creek you will find some stunning sites and very few people.

Pro Tip: Instead of following the first trail you find at the bottom of Mooney, follow along the creek for a ways. This area seems to change a little bit each year, but it is always beautiful and full of surprises.

Beaver Falls

Four miles down river from Mooney you will find the cascading travertine pools of Beaver Falls. The trail to these falls is easy to pick up once you are at the bottom of Mooney. Multiple worn paths have been created throughout the years, but they will all take you to the same place. When in doubt, just follow the creek. There will be times when you will need to cross over the creek to pick back up the trail. These crossings never come up higher than hip level, if even that high. Sometimes there are little bridges over the creek for you to use.

The trail to Beaver is beautiful, and you will pass by many stunning scenes, including the infamous palm tree. Legend has it that a hiker cast aside the pit from his date and the seed blossomed into this beauty. Is this negligence to follow leave no trace turned happy little accident true? We may never know.

Eventually you will come to a sign letting you know you've made it. You'll find trails down to the falls and picnic tables to relax on and have a little snacky snack. This is a really fun area to explore and take pictures. If Beaver Falls is a stop on your way to the Confluence, be sure to get an early start so that you can spend ample time here before continuing your journey. If you are on the fence about about including Beaver Falls on your trip I highly recommend you just go for it and visit them. The hike is beautiful, they are beautiful, you won't regret it.

Some Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The water stays right around 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius) year round

  • Beware of squirrels. It's not just the campsite that you have to be on guard with these furry little bastards. They camp out at each fall, waiting for their next unsuspecting victim. Follow the advice I give in Part 4 of this guide. Don't be tempted to let your guard down at the falls, this is when they will get you!

  • Jumping from the falls is prohibited, but I know some of you idiots will do it anyway, so please be careful about it. Make sure the water below is deep enough and that there are no debris or hidden objects in the water.

  • Havasu and Mooney Falls both create pretty intense currents. BE CAREFUL. You do not want to get pulled in and stuck underneath the water in this current.

  • There are no lifeguards here, and medical help is very limited. Be smart. If you are not a strong swimmer, this is not a place to test your abilities. If you are a strong swimmer, this is not a place to show it off. Respect the water.

  • You may have heard a rumor that Beaver Falls has two secret caves. This is true, they are called the Blue Room and Green Room. They each require you to swim underneath and into the fall. Since I enjoy not dying, I've never attempted to find them. Feel free to google them if they sound like must dos for you, but keep in mind people have literally DIED trying to find them.

Check Out The Complete A First Timer's Guide To Havasupai Here:

Under Construction {coming soon}: The Confluence

{as always: practice LEAVE NO TRACE. stay hydrated. tell someone where you are going. wear appropriate clothing. be mindful of the weather. be nice to fellow hikers. have fun, make good choices, & hike smart}

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Waterfalls of Havasupai looks so credible guys and would like to say that love to see the beauty of this place just after mine . oi am quite sure by this way easily able to see an other exciting place.

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