Monday, October 5, 2009

Hiking Havasupai - Havasu Falls - Mooney Falls - Hike to Colorado River

Just spent the last three days in the Havasupai Indian Reservation exploring one of the most beautiful places in the world. I highly recommend that you add Havasupai to one of the places that you must see in your lifetime. Havasupai, outside the Grand Canyon, is famous for Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls which have been on the cover of every nature magazine known to man.

Anyone can do this adventure at different levels as there are mules to carry you and your gear from the parking lot hilltop all the way to Supai Village. For those that want to get some hiking in it is 8 miles from the parking lot to reach the Supai Village and another 2 down to the campsites.

For an added treat we did the hike into the canyon in the dark. We have an unbelievably bright full moon the hike under. The trip down to the Supai Village and campground is pretty easy so hiking in the dark wasn't a problem. I had my headlamp off for half the 10 mile hike and just used the moon light to guide my way. It was almost like daytime when the moon was directly overhead.

We passed the famous Havasu Falls which is photographed all the time for major publications in the dark so it wouldn't be until later that we would get a good look at it.

Up and ready to go the next morning, we were off to Mooney Falls and then to the Colorado River. Mooney Falls is breathe taking. I have heard it is any where from 200 ft high to 300 ft high, though needless to say it is big. The falls plunge into turquoise colored pools which you can swim and play around in. Limestone bleeding into the water makes give the whole place this crystal clear turquoise water that doesn't even look real.

To get to the bottom of the falls you take a chain linked fence which has a couple exposed areas near the bottom. You do have to be careful though I saw people of all fitness levels making it so with care you can make it down.

The Colorado River is 5 to 8 miles (no one really new the exact distance) of hiking, scrambling, and wading through Havasu Canyon. If you follow the canyon there are more cool waterfalls some bigger than others and many places to jump into the refreshing water.

With every mile the traffic gets thinner and thinner as most people can't make it all the way to the Colorado River and back in a reasonable amount of time. If you can make the trip is worth it. Besides the amazing waterfalls and the fun jumping off rope swings and boulders, the site of where Havasu Canyon's turquoise water mixes with the brown Colorado River is a site. Right before the Colorado River the canyon becomes a cathedral, which you scramble over and you see the two rivers converge and the Havasu Rapids of the Colorado River.

The Colorado River trip is an out and back so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back in the day light as you don't want to be climbing back up Mooney Falls in the dark, to get back to your campsite.

The other great attraction is Havasu Falls which we spent time checking out on our hike out of the canyon. Havasu Falls is another big waterfall which is definitely worth the time in advance it takes to get reservations to get into Havasupai Indian Reservation.

The only problem with the hike out is that as everything was downhill on the way in, everything is uphill on the way out. You have 10 miles of uphill hiking with the last mile being the toughest as it is switchbacks straight up to the parking lot. For added pleasure for us was a 30 mile per hour or greater wind that picked up as we reached the switched back which at one point almost blew me so hard that I started to tumble down the path. Luckily, I was able to re-balance though I did stumble a good five heart pounding feet before regaining my balance.

One tip I have is take extra precaution to not lock your keys in the trunk of your car, which we found out the hard way. There no cell reception and no radio at the parking lot. You are in the middle of nowhere. I also don't recommend AAA and would cancel my service immediately if you have them as they were called by no more than 5 people including one of our parties husbands and they never came. AAA was ok with just leaving us in the middle of nowhere standed with our keys in the trunk. I want to give a special thanks to the firefighters from Pine/ Strawberry who were amazing and were able to get into our car. Without there help I know I wouldn't be home yet and able to write this post. Thank You Very Much.
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