Bucketlist item! We went in April 2019 and the weather was warm, but the water was on the cooler... read more
Bucketlist item! We went in April 2019 and the weather was warm, but the water was on the cooler... read more
We recently went on a 3 day hike to Havasu Falls with Pygmy Guides and are so happy with our choice in destination and guides. For this review, I am focusing more on the guide service rather than destination because there are already many fantastic reviews and photos of Havasu Falls. It really is a beautiful area that lives up to it’s reputation and should definitely be seen and experienced firsthand.
Using Pygmy Guides allowed us to fully enjoy the trip. Even from the beginning being picked up in Flagstaff and driven to the hilltop village allowed us to relax for the 3 hour drive prior to the 10 mile hike in. This also meant we didn’t have to leave a rental car full of personal belongings on the road leading to the village for 3 days.
Mules were provided to carry the majority of our gear, we only carried a daypack for a camera, sunscreen etc. The packs were provided by Pygmy Guides and were already stocked with Gatorade, a LARGE Ziploc bag containing a variety of hiking snacks plus 2 litres of water. Hiking poles, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, towels, pillows etc. were all provided and in great condition.
We had 2 guides, only one of them started the hike with us (Elise) because the other (Owen) took it upon himself to hike in the day before to secure us a good campsite as it was expected to be a busy weekend, so awesome on his part! He then hiked back out to meet us as we made our way along the trail.
If we didn’t use a guide, we would’ve marched right past the pictographs in the canyon, we would’ve wandered straight past the rock formation Man Meets Bear, I wouldn’t have known that the (disgusting) flying insect was called a tarantula hawk. We wouldn’t have known that ‘last chance shade’ was called that for a reason! If we went solo, we would have spent valuable vacation time setting up/tearing down tents, walking somewhat blindly along the trail not knowing what we were missing, cooking food that couldn’t even compare to the fajitas, French toast, sausages, fresh sandwiches etc. that we feasted on. Seriously, fantastic food! We were taken off the beaten path after making our way down Mooney Falls, so we could explore another part of the canyon that we would have otherwise missed.
And one final point. We hear a lot about the condition of the mules. On the hike out, Owen spotted the mules carrying our gear. I asked him how much they carry and he said it was maximum 90lbs. He also told me that Pygmy Guides uses the same pack of mules and told me to take a look as they passed, they weren’t skinny, their coats were shiny, and they did not have any sores, they looked good.
Bottom line is, we could have done it alone and had a decent trip but we didn’t want to just go and see Havasu & Mooney Falls, we wanted to experience it and because we went with Pygmy Guides, we had an amazing trip!
By far the most adventurous thing I've ever done. I drove up Friday night and stayed at Hualapai Lodge. The lodge was very clean and for $5 they will pack you a togo breakfast tha consists of fresh fruit, yogurt, a sausage muffin, and a juice. We arrived at the hilltop to hike down at sunrise. I would not recommend hiking down in the dark the first two miles are downhill and steep. It took us four hours to make it down the eight miles to Supai (the village) where you must pay to enter and for each night you are staying.
We stopped and had lunch in the cafe, they served a variety of American food ( hamburgers, hot dogs, fries. They also serve breakfast. There is also a convenience store in the village. It has EVERYTHING food and drink wise, even toiletries . If I would have know this I would have only packed snacks and water on the hike down. There are no restrooms at all until you reach the village.
I would highly recommend not over packing. You must pack everything you bring in and out, even your trash. Carrying the backpack was the worst part, a challenge. The hike did not seem too hard going down. You are walking through a riverbed type terrain. Think dirt, rock, sand. The powered dirt portion was a little tough. No one in my group trained for the hike and we all did fine going down.
Since we were only there for one night we bypassed the first two navajo falls, only stopping to take pictures. When we arrived at Havasupi Falls, we were so amazed by the sight and sound of the fall. You could hear if far before you could see it. When you come up to Havasu falls you are at the top of the falls, you continue hiking down to the bottom. Just past the bottom of the falls starts the camp ground, which runs almost a mile long and ends at Mooney Falls. We took pictures at the top of Havasu Falls then found a stop in the campground to set up and drop off our stuff before we headed back to Havasu Falls.
Havasu Falls was amazing. The water was so cold but after we committed to getting in, we kind of got used to it. There is a strong undercurrent type effect where the waterfall hits the water below. Do not get close, it is very scary. I would also not recommend trying to go behind the waterfall. You have to swim near the waterfall then maneuver holding onto the slippery mossy rocks until you can pull yourself up the rocks behind the falls. The waterfall creates such a powerful mist that it is hard to breathe. The force of the waterfall is trying to pull you under water, so if you lose your grip, you will be sucked under. And you must have really good upper body strength the pull yourself up. Once you are done behind the falls you have to go to the edge and jump as far away as possible so the waterfall does not pull you under. I'm glad I did it, but it was by far the scariest thing I've evern done.
After a shoestring break at camp, we continued on to Mooney Falls. You can enjoy Mooney Falls from the top or brave your way down the side of the cliff. This too was very scary. You climb down 190' on the side of a cliff. There are chains and ladders most of the way to help you down. However, when you reach the spot where the waterfall mist hits you, it gets slippery and a little scary... You must go through two cave/tunnels before reaching the bottom. There is only room for one person at a time. If was tough trying to coordinate with people coming up and going down. The height of Mooney Falls is crazy! We did not swim at this fall, but the water seemed a little colder than Havasu Falls.
Since we were only there for one night we ran out of daylight before we could make it too Beaver Falls, which is another 3 miles from the bottom of Mooney Falls. We headed back to camp and made dinner. Some of the other hikers had glow Stick necklaces and braces let. It was neat to see at night, it reminded me of those crazy birds in Labrinth.
There is a natural spring that you can refill your water at. It is not what you think. It looks more like plumbing, a large conduit pipe with continuos flowing water placed very close to the ground, so people do not try to bath in it. I drank four bottles of water coming down and my husband drank two bottles. The campgrounds also have cabin type outhouses, which were actually in better shape than I was expecting.
Headlamps are a must. Lanterns are also good for the campsite and cooking. We bought dollar store plastic flamingo lanterns that worked perfect. There was a stand by Havasu falls selling drinks and Indian fryed bread.
My pack weighed 20 lbs and my husbands weighed just under 30 pounds.
If you like stars you will enjoy the millions of stars with no light pollution. The river runs through the whole camp ground and you can really hear it at night.
The next morning we were all really sore. we took the helicopter out. It is $85, you can take one bag and it is a five minute ride. The helicopter wait was horrible. We got there at 6:30 am, to try to be first in line and the sign in starts at 8:30 am. We were the 7th tourist in line. They start flying at 10am and take the locals/natives first. We finally flew out at 11:30 am and they cancelled remaining flights after us because of the wind. We barely made it out. I would not rely on helicopter for your way out.
The waterfalls were so amazing, the views are unbelievable!!!!!!
The water was not as clear as expected. Still very nice, but not worth the trip if you are not a hiker who also enjoys the process of getting there (and maybe continue to the Colorado river. I would recommend staying at the campground and spending at least a full day at the falls, thus enjoying the refreshing and cleansing aspect of the water (rather than just seeing them and hiking back up). September is the time to go.
We had a wonderful 3 day, 2 night hike with Wildland! Our guide, Kenton, was awesome and very knowledgeable! The trip was very organized and the food was great. The hike was challenging and beautiful! The food was awesome...camp was set up for us and the food was prepared. We only had to enjoy the hike and the surroundings! I would definitely use the guide company again for another trip and highly recommend them! And ask for Kenton as your guide!
I completely support the review above regarding the neglect of the animals...Let me just say, that the hike and the falls are breathtaking...However, I don't know how anyone, especially the guide companies who are contributing to the abuse by having these starving horses haul their gear up and down the canyon can walk past as if nothing happens. And they do!!. As you walk past the land where they are penned up, they are lying in their own feces, starving, hooves mangled so badly they can hardly stand, and no food in sight. My hope is that people will not support hiking there until some kind of assistance to the animals is rendered. The Supai have forgotten who they are, and they don't respect or honor themselves, and the neglect given to their animals in unconscionable...This has gone on for a very long time, and I am going to start contacting outfitters and the government, so action takes place. PLEASE DON"T SUPPORT THIS HIKE UNTIL A SHIFT IN TREATMENT FOR THE ANIMALS HAPPENS!!! K. Bennett St. Louis MO
Ok so I just got back last week from Havasu Fall. I was waiting to write this review because there are some things that will be helpful for you to know before you go. Indian route 18 is less than 30 mins. from Seligman, AZ so it would work out well if you slept there and started your journey well rested. I would leave Seligman at 3:30am to arrive at the hilltop around 4:45am and start walking from that point. When you arrive at the hilltop it will be pitch black you will smell horse manure and see stray dogs. The start of the hike is right next to the watchman's tower. There will be a small sign that reads "trail starts here". Make sure you have your flashlights, as it is really dark and hard to see the trail. It will be rocky and slippery to some degree. By 5:30-6am you will have a much better view and will be able to see the end of the switchbacks. After 1.5 miles you will reach the bottom of the switchbacks. There will be a sigh that reads "Supai village 6.5 miles to go" After that sign the trail is rocky and rough. I was wearing gym sneakers so my feet were feeling the bottom of the terrain. I would suggest bringing down 2 liters of water per person. 1 large bottle of water or 2-3 12 ozs. You will see a lot of horse droppings on the ground and it also helps you know you are on the right path. I did see horses as we got closer. I didn't see abuse to the animals, I will say I am glad I didn't utilize them just from a place of not wanting to add to their already hard job of transporting everyone's stuff up and down the canyon. I will stress to pack the most minimal items unless you are staying more than 2 days. You can buy water and basic groceries in the market in town. You can even purchase hot food at the campsite during the day. We left at 5am and arrived at the base of town by 9:30am. We stopped and had breakfast in the town cafe. Nothing exciting but after that hike I was so hungry that I didn't mind and was thankful for breakfast. around 11am we left town to arrive at the campsite an hour or so later. it is another 2 miles to the campsite and it seemed like forever to get there as the sun was beating down and the trail was basically sand. It felt like I was walking on the beach with my sneakers. Once we got to the campsite we put our tent together that we had rented from a rental company in Phoenix. It was less than 6 pounds so super easy to walk down with. After we set up the tent we ran off to the Falls which were right next to the campsite. That was the best part, playing in the water was such a relief from the morning hike. I would suggest you bring water shoes as the falls are super rocky and painful barefoot. After around 4pm we heard that the Indian's were selling fry bread taco's at the campsite so we make a bee line for that. We didn't want to trek the 2 miles back to town anyway.
around 5pm we hiked less than quarter of a mile to Mooney falls and checked them out as well. In the evening we found a spring for water by the campsite and re-filled all the bottles of water for the hike out. The stars you will see at night will be beyond amazing!! I woke up at 3:45am and begged my guy to start the hike out the next morning. I was roughing it in the tent with no sleeping bag and my bones were aching at this point. I would say we left campsite at 4:20am and arrived at 5:20am. We left the town around 5:30am and started the hike out to the top. This was tough as it's rocky and more uphill this time. I would say you need at least one large water bottle 2 liters and one 8 0z to make sure you have enough water to make it to the top. We arrived at the bottom of the switchbacks by 9:15am. 1.5 miles to go but now it's really warm and the sun is beating down. The switchbacks uphill are harder than I realized and i was struggling at some points. I just took a few breaks and eventually around 10:30am we made it to the top. It was exciting to make it up without giving in to the Helicopter option. Ha, personal achievement if you will. There are vendors selling water, soda and chips and fresh fruit at the hilltop. I was thankful that we had water in the car and bought a soda as well. I would pack basic snacks like beef jerky, dried fruits, nuts and Lara bars. These snacks came in handy. I wore the same clothes and took only a bathing suit to swim in. Pack light it is pointless to take too much stuff down, less is more trust me. Overall this was an amazing experience and I am thankful I did it the old fashioned way. I would recommend you be in fit to some degree. Enjoy nature and brace yourself to be delighted by the falls :)