When I think about the Grand Canyon, many iconic images come to mind: red rocks, dry desert heat and the Colorado River snaking along the canyon floor. However, on my recent trip to the area not only did I find red rocks and dry desert heat but I was lucky enough to experience a little pocket of Eden in Havasu Canyon just off the main Grand Canyon. It was incredible! Teal blue waters, lush foliage, squash and wild grape vines growing like weeds, pomegranate and apricot trees lining the dusty path and waterfalls all around. So unexpected and so beautiful!
Havasu Canyon is carved by the sparkling, crystalline Havasu Creek which springs out of the canyon floor and makes its way all the way to the Colorado River. This creek has a unique mineral content giving it an extraordinary color and these minerals also form the striking travertine formations that adorn this canyon. It is an ever changing landscape sculpted by ebb and flow of Havasu Creek and the incredible travertine deposits. When I returned home from this beautiful area I was excited to share my photos with friends and family. The handful of friends who had been to the area several years ago hardly recognized the waterfalls in my photos. Major flooding in the area in 2008 completely changed the landscape of the canyon. One of the major waterfalls, Navajo Falls, disappeared after the river re-routed. What seemed devastating to the area just a few short years ago has proven to be just resurgence in the canyon. New falls have developed where Navajo used to thunder and they are quite stunning! This constant change is just one more reason to visit time and again.
Getting to this lush, gorgeous area is a bit of the challenge. It is an 8 mile hike to the village of Supai and another 2 miles to Havasu Falls and the Campground. You can horseback into the canyon or even hire a helicopter but I think the hike truly makes you appreciate the stunning beauty of the canyon.
If you go, be prepared for intense sun and heat. Daily temperatures can be quite warm, which makes playing in the water a necessity to stay cool. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and other sun protection so you can continue to enjoy your time in the water without dealing with sunburn. Beginning your hike to the area early in the morning will help you beat the intense heat of the day. After walking 6.5 miles you will first encounter Havasu Creek. It is the perfect time to stop for lunch or a snack and cool off in the crystal clear water. This short break will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated for the rest of your hike to the falls. The rest of the hike goes quickly as you will be captivated by all the gorgeous sights of the area.
Preserving this area is extremely important. Visitors to the area are guests of the Havasupai people and should view their visit as a privilege. Remember, everything you carry in you must carry out. There is no garbage truck or waste removal in this remote region so each visitor must do their part to keep Havasupai clean so it is just as beautiful for generations to come!
Your friendly travel expert,