Camping at Havasupai Falls – August 2011
I talk a lot about cross-training but not enough about getting back to nature. Our camping trip to Havasupai, the Havasupai Falls and west end of the Grand Canyon was as expected, spectacular both cross-training and getting back to nature.
This video will give you a good idea of what you are in for. I show the hike, the campgrounds and fun things to do. Below are a few extra tips for your Havasuapi experience.
Our destination was the beautiful waterfalls and turquiose waters Havasupai offers. The trail is difficult in the summer heat but did offer shady spots so we weren’t exposed the entire hike. The hike back up to your car is even harder after days of exploring. Please make sure to stay well hydrated and wear sunscreen.
The hike to the campground is 10 miles. Between pictures, lunch, a long stop at the village and moving slow in general, it took us about 6 hours to get to the campgrounds.
Once in the Havasupai Falls area we probably walked 10 miles a day exploring. I used the Addizero Trail XT shoes for the hike then water shoes for the rest of my exploring. You are getting wet all the time. water shoes allow you to scramble around the rocks, whether you are in the river or hiking around it.
The entire Havasupai area was changed by a flash flood in 2008. This was my first time visiting this area so I can only imagine the pristine grotto the campground used to be. In August of 2011, you can still see the ravaging effects of the flash flood. Dead or dying older trees, new falls, loss of the old ones, changes in the river and streams, are all part of the Havasupai rebirth experience.
Highlights are general exploring. Mooney Falls at the end of the campground is awesome and as I show in the video. The hike to the bottom of Havasupai’s Mooney Falls is worth the trip all by itself. As a warning, the hike down and up can be scary for many but as long as you take your time it is safe.
Playing in the water is funtastic. Scramble around in the river. The rocks look slippery but actually provide decent footing considering you are in water.
I didn’t need a sleeping bag but I wished I had brought a tent instead of a REI Bug Hut. July and August are monsoon season and it rained on me two of the three nights. The last night was thunder, lighting and hard rain for a couple of hours. I had to crowd into a friend’s tent.
The easiest way to do The Havasupai trip is to let the mules bring your heavy gear down and you hike with a daypack. Check for the per bag charge and weight limitations but this allows you some extra luxuries.
I have read some on-line reviews of the Supai Village that I didn’t think were completely fair. You have to realize where you are, the farthest city from an actual road in the United States. The village and animals are not pristine, in fact parts are dirty but it is a difficult way of life and the hikers are probably a dirty demanding bunch too.
The only bummer is the lack of respect many campers have for their surroundings by leaving trash on the trail and in the campground. Some trash must fall out when the mules carry it up to the top and flash floods push trash in to weird place but campers, please remember where you are and treat it with respect.
We made the hike back our training day. Moving quickly, stopping in the village for a quick snack, limiting stops on the trail and I even ran the last, steepest mile I made it from campground to car in 3 hours and 46 minutes. It was hot and I was sweaty but buying a couple of ice cold waters to pour over me and a Otter Pop made it worthwhile.
I will be back because Havasupai it provides some very unique potential camping, hiking and fun experience that you will be hard pressed to find any other place in the world. Be respectful and don’t forget to get an icee at the General Store in Havasupai Village.
Steve Mackel, Sole Runners Marathon and Half Marathon Training Programs Head Coach
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Born a runner but really picked up distance running in the late 90′s, when he started competing in triathlons. Read more
I have been running for about 20 years and doing marathons for the last five years.