The Grand Canyon was always something I had heard about growing up. One of the Seven Natural Wonders Of The World? OK, you have my attention! This beautiful place at the bottom of the Grand Canyon kept popping up on my Facebook feed. It was an Indian Reservation that you hike down to, and camp right on the water with the most gorgeous waterfalls you have ever seen. It looked like a cartoon almost. Ok, so again it had my attention. It was called the Havasupai Indian Reservation. I called the reservation line and got no luck. After researching, I found that it is one of the most desired places in the USA to see. Wanderlust at its best! I did more research and found that if I ever wanted to secure a reservation in the peak season, it was going to take a ton of tenacity. Once the phone lines opened up, I gave it my all for 4 days. A busy signal for 4 days straight can make you go kinda nuts. Everyone told me to give up. “I’m not giving 4 days of my life to something with nothing to show for it” said Me. I actually kept trekking for 7 more days, calling 8 hours per day, every day. I clocked over 4,100 calls getting a busy signal (yes, I tracked it). You ever felt like a stalker? I stalked the hell out of that phone number….and guess what?? After 11 days someone answered.
“OMG. Hello, I have been calling for 11 days (tear) and would like to make a reservation”
“Sorry, we are full and all booked up for the summer months.”
I won’t go into the embarrassing things I said to secure this reservation but the point is that I got it. Never take no for an answer! When it’s important to you, make it happen…..write that down.
To get to the bottom is about 11 miles down. You need to carry everything in. Your tent, your sleeping bag, your food, your wine (which is not allowed and I never break the rules), clothes, etc, etc, etc…you get the point. I was going into the Canyon for four days. I consider myself to be in great shape however I found this hike to be much more pleasant by throwing my 65 pound pack on a horse which met me down at the campground. I think it’s awesome how hard core people are to carry those huge packs on their backs for miles and miles. But quite honestly, it was 90 degrees out and I had much more fun climbing rocks and taking selfies while being pretty much weightless. To each their own!
Once, I reached the Havasupai Reservation it was completely surreal. This village at the bottom of the Canyon was a little city. School, post office, church, store….everything you need. It’s considered America’s most remote Indian Reservation. My camp was another 2 miles past the Reservation where there aren’t many Indians, and the grounds along the creek are filled with campers feeling like they won the lotto. I picked up my pack from the stables and set up camp right on the water.
I spent the next two days hiking to the most majestic waterfalls I have ever seen. Sounds so cheesy but it’s true. The water is the most beautiful color of turquoise. Every day I had to filter my water right out of the creek, and make my dehydrated meals, which were surprisingly delicious. I also indulged in the yummiest Frybread. It is an Indian specialty, and there was a little stand selling this at the campground. Mmm mmm good!
The most beautiful falls of all were Havasu Falls. Photos of these falls is what really ignited my desire to get here. It was just as beautiful as the photos! No filter needed.
There are other beautiful falls and hikes to see while you are down there. I did Mooney Falls on Day 2, and also hiked further into the Canyon. I wish I had more time to see everything. One more day would have been perfect. If I am lucky enough to visit again, I will plan on five days total down there.
If you want your pack on a horse on the way out, you need to wake up while it’s still dark to pack up, and have your pack to the stables at 6am. This, in my opinion, was much more important than having a horse carry your pack on the way down. The way out is 13 miles straight up from the campgrounds…no thank you to that 65 pound pack! So many people we met at camp were actually thinking they would take the helicopter out because they had no idea how they would be able to hike out. People wait in that helicopter line all day long in hopes to get flown out, and the line is so long that some people have to wait until the next day to try again.
I dropped my pack at the stables and power walked my way out passing all these people who looked like they might die from heat exhaustion. It was so freaking hot! September in the Canyon is no joke. And these people carrying those huge packs…so core!
Reaching the top of the Canyon was one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever felt. I hiked 39 miles on this journey. Another trip that tweaked me a little as a person. I grow just a little bit from every adventure.
Hotel I stayed at before hike: Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. This place is in Peach Springs on Route 66. It is as close as you can get for lodging prior to starting the hike to Havasupai. Bonus, it has the largest dry cavern in the United States. Going down into the cavern on a tour was interesting…and scary. You can actually rent the space and sleep down there. It is super cool!!
Havasupai Tribe: People of the Blue Green Water.
Route: I flew into Las Vegas, rented a car, checked out Hoover Dam, and cruised Route 66 to Peach Springs. After hiking Havasupai, I drove an hour towards Las Vegas and stayed in Kingman. I soaked in the hot tub, ate an entire medium pizza to myself, and watched movies before catching a flight out in the morning. Las Vegas to Oakland.
Recommend this trip to: EVERYONE!! Well, I take that back. No young kids. You have to be in good shape to hike this trip. But if you’re not in the best shape, you can just take the helicopter. You can also scrap all the do it yourself work and headache of securing your own reservation and join a tour. I opted to do this on my own because I like the freedom to hike at my own pace, and wanted my camp to be my own little space. I don’t mean to sound antisocial because I love meeting new people, especially when I camp. But I love my own area too. To each their own! The tours hike down together, camp together, and eat together. It’s all inclusive so they cook you gourmet meals which is pretty cool. The price ticket is much higher for a tour but some prefer being in a group in adventurous situations, and from the reviews it is also a great way to go. Either way, find a way to make it here sometime in your life. It will change you…I promise.