Havasu Falls Camping Guide for 2024

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Camping at Havasupai is one of the most memorable parts of this bucket list backpacking trip. However, there are some essential things you should know about how the campground is laid out, what to pack, and how to find the best campsite, all of which you’ll find in this Havasu Falls camping guide.

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

When preparing for a Havasupai backpacking trip, a lot of people put most of their thought and preparation into the hike to Havasu Falls. However, the hike is just one part of this adventure, and I’d argue that you’ll be spending more time at the campground than on the trail, so it’s good to expect.

The Havasupai campground is a very special place. Honestly, we were blown away by how beautiful it is – a true oasis

That said, there’s a lot we wish we would have known, especially when it comes to choosing a good campsite. They are definitely not created equal, so we’ve gathered all of our tips on how to choose the best one for you.

In this Havasu Falls camping guide, we’ve laid out the answers to the questions at the top of your mind, like: What’s the toilet situation at the campground? (I know you’re wondering and I have all the honest details you need!)

Before you hit the trail, be sure you know what to expect when it comes to camping at Havasupai.

Havasu Falls camping guide

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Havasu Falls Campground 

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

We did a lot of research before our backpacking trip, but one thing we didn’t quite understand was what the campground would be like. 

Hopefully this list of things to know will help you have a better idea of what to expect.

Things to know about the campground at Havasupai:

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona
  • To get to the campground entrance, it is a 10-mile hike from the trailhead. It is 2 miles from the village of Supai.
  • The campground is 1 mile long. If you camp towards the end, you will be hiking about an extra mile more than those people camped near the beginning.
  • Havasu Falls is near the beginning of the campground, and Mooney Falls is near the other end of the campground.
  • It is situated along the Havasupai Creek, so many campsites are very close to the water.
  • There are small makeshift (and kind of dilapidated) bridges over sections of the river so you can get to the other side where there are more campsites.
  • Most sites don’t have much privacy, so you will likely have tent neighbors. It’s a fun way to make friends on the trail.
  • These days, the campground is almost always at full capacity, with 300-400 people staying there each night.
    • This means that if you don’t arrive early, you will have a hard time finding a good campsite. 
    • This is why we think it’s so important to get an early start on Day 1.
  • There are 3 toilet blocks in the campground: one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one near the end.
  • There is one water fill up station called “Fern Spring”.
    • It is spring water that comes out of a spigot that is always running. 
    • You don’t need to filter this water, but it’s not a bad idea to do so anyway.

Havasupai Campground Map

Below is a rough map of the Havasupai campground so you can see how it is laid out. In this map, you can see where the toilets are placed as well as the water fill up. Click on the map to be taken to the interactive option on Google Maps.

Havasupai Campground Map

Best campsites in the Havasupai campground

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

Depending on what time you arrive and what season you’re visiting in, you may or may not have much of a choice when it comes to choosing a campsite. 

Each site is a little different, but all of them should have a flat spot for pitching a tent. 

Some sites are nestled right up against a canyon wall, away from the water. Some of these sites actually have quite a bit of privacy and look really nice. There are other areas right up next to Havasupai Creek that are flat and open and kind of a free-for-all. 

Personally, we think the sites between the 2nd and 3rd bathroom blocks are the nicest

Plus, if you plan to hike to Beaver Falls or The Confluence, being located at the further end of the campground will cut some mileage (and time) from those hiking days.

Things to think about when choosing your campsite:

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona
  • Is there a nice, flat section for pitching a tent? Are there rocks or roots in the way? This is one of the most important things to look out for, as you don’t want to sleep on a bumpy surface.
  • Is there a picnic table? Not all campsites have them, so keep your eyes peeled! This was a must for us, as it is so nice to be able to sit down after a long day of hiking. Plus, it’s really helpful for cooking and a nice place to hang out and play cards.
  • Is there a clothesline? This wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker for us, but we did notice that many sites have rope that has already been strung up for hanging clothes, etc. It is pretty nice to have for hanging your sweaty clothes after a day of hiking. However, we always carry our own rope, so we could have made our own.
  • Is there a tree for hanging a hammock? We really wanted to have a site where we could hang our hammock but we just couldn’t find one. If you’re lucky enough, snag a site with two good hammock trees!
    • Tip: If you don’t get one, there are some good hammock spots on the little island at Havasu Falls.
  • Is there any sort of privacy? Compared to a typical campground in the USA, the sites at Havasupai have far less privacy. Some have a bit of separation whereas others are in a wide open spot where anyone can pitch a tent. We knew we didn’t want to be right on the path where people were walking through, so we made sure to choose a site a bit off the trail.
  • Is there shade? Due to how they’re positioned, some sites hardly get any sun while others are completely exposed. We’d highly recommend trying to find a site that will be shaded for much of the day. 
  • How far is the site from a bathroom? You don’t want to have to walk super far in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.
  • How far is it from the water fill station? You will likely need to fill your water containers at least once each day. If you’re camped .5 miles from the water station, that’s a 1-mile hike round trip each time you want to fill your bottles and jugs.
  • Is it pretty? Now this might just be icing on the cake, but some sites are breathtaking. We saw people’s tents pitched just beside a cascading waterfall and surrounded by lush trees. They truly got to wake up to an oasis. Our site was nice but not nearly as picturesque as some.
  • Do you plan to hike to Beaver Falls? Will you do the Confluence day hike? If so, you might want to consider choosing a site toward the further end of the campground to cut down the distance you need to hike on those (very long) days. If you know you won’t be hiking to either of those places, camping near the beginning of the campground will be advantageous because it will mean less hiking overall.

Toilets at Havasupai Campground

Havasu Falls campground toilets Havasupai Arizona

There are 4 toilet blocks at the Havasupai campground: 

  • one at the entrance of the campground
  • one near the middle
  • one near the end of the campground (close to Mooney Falls)
  • there’s also a toilet on the north side of the creek (if you’re camped on this side of the water you’ll likely use this one, but if not you may never see it)

The first bathroom block is the largest. It has two buildings, each with several toilet rooms. The other three bathrooms are smaller, with just 2 toilets.

We recommend trying to find a campsite that is relatively close to a bathroom block so that you don’t find yourself in a bad situation in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. 

FYI: Unlike a lot of campgrounds in the USA, you won’t have much privacy at your campsite, so it’s not as easy to “just go” in the woods as you might be used to.

The bathrooms at Havasupai have composting toilets. There is a basket of wood shavings (that should be full) and a scooper so that you can add some after each use.

In theory, the toilets shouldn’t smell. However, it really depends on how recently it was cleaned.

Related: We have a composting toilet in our campervan and love it because it is very clean and doesn’t smell!

How are the toilets at the campground?

Havasu Falls Campground toilet Havasupai Arizona

The answer to this question depends on the day you use them.

The first day I went to the bathroom, they were horrible. I opened up the door to a mound of trash and a colony of black flies swarming. It smelled. It was dirty. There was no toilet paper. 

You get the picture without me going into more detail.

The next day, I was dreading using the toilet, but when I entered, I was surprised to find it completely clean.

So truly, it can vary from day to day.

Good to know: The toilets should have toilet paper, but I would also bring your own. There were several times I used the bathroom and there was no toilet paper. I recommend carrying a Ziplock baggie with toilet paper. To save space, just start rolling TP around itself so that you don’t bring the cardboard roll.

Water at Havasupai Campground 

Havasu Falls Hike water station Havasupai Arizona

If you’ve already read up on what to expect on the hike, you should know that there are no water fill stations on the trail and you should plan to hike with ample water. 

Good to know: The official Havasupai website recommends you carry 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water per person. We personally carried 3 liters of water each, and we had one “extra liter” (7 liters total between 2 people).

Once you reach the campground, there is a place where you can safely fill your bottle. The water fill station is known as Fern Spring. It is located roughly halfway through the campground. (There are signs throughout camp that indicate where it is.)

The water at Fern Spring comes out of a spigot in the rock wall that is always running. 

While it is said that you don’t need to filter the water from the spring at the campground, we still think it’s a good idea to pack a water treatment system. (This is an essential on any backpacking trip.)

Water treatment methods

Having a plan (and the right equipment) for treating water is especially important if you end up filling up anywhere besides the spring. You might end up having to do this without planning on it. 

Our personal experience: We treated the water from the spring almost every time we filled up, just because we wanted to be safe. (We did drink from it without filtering a couple of times too and didn’t have any issues.)

There are a variety of treatment methods that’ll kill all the bad stuff! The best water treatment method really comes down to personal preference. 

We’ve detailed the best ways to treat your water (along with our personal preference) to help you choose the best method for you.

Food storage at Havasupai Campground

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

There aren’t any bears at Havasupai, so you won’t need to worry about them or other large predators visiting your campsite.

That said, there are lots of little critterslike squirrels and mice – that will be drawn to the scent of your food, so it’s important you follow protocol when it comes to storing your food.

There are a couple of options for properly storing your food:

Bear canister

This is the most reliable way to keep your food safe. This is the bear canister we personally have

If you don’t want to buy a bear canister, you can rent them from REI. If you don’t have an REI at home, there are REI locations in both Phoenix and Las Vegas where you can pick up a canister before your hike.

Tear-proof food sack

For this trip, we personally opted to pack a “critter proof” food sack because it is lighter weight than a bear canister. We have this bag which is tear- and puncture-proof (tested with bears). 

That said, we have heard stories of small critters tearing through these bags despite the mesh wire lining. We’ve never had any issues and used it successfully on our Havasupai backpacking trip. However, if you want the most secure option, a bear canister is your best choice.

Food storage tips

Camping gear Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai Arizona USA
  • In addition to all food, put your scented toiletry items (like deodorant, toothpaste, chapstick, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, etc.) inside your food bag at night. 
  • Whether you have a canister or a food sack, store it outside of your tent, as the smell can draw critters in.
  • If you have a food bag, be sure to hang it. If you are hanging it from a tree, make sure it is off the ground, away from the trunk, and hanging down from a branch. Don’t forget to pack rope for this purpose.
    • Many campsites at Havasupai have a clothesline, which could be a decent spot for hanging your food. That said, make sure you still dangle the bag down a bit as we saw mice walking on somebody’s clothesline to reach their bag.
    • While hanging a food sack is your best bet at keeping it safe, there is always a chance small critters can walk a tightrope to get it. We personally didn’t have issues, but this method comes with risk.
  • You may (or may not) see 5-gallon Home Depot buckets around camp. These have been brought for storing food. That said, we personally wouldn’t rely on this for storing your food because there may not be any available. When you’re backpacking, it’s important to bring everything you need so you are completely self-sufficient.

What to pack for camping at Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

If you’re new to backpacking, take a look at this list to make sure you have all the essentials. 

We also have some ideas for items that’ll make your camping experience more comfortable and fun!

  • Backpacking tent
  • Sleeping bag and compression sacks
  • Ultralight sleeping pad and/or foam pad
  • Lightweight chairs (optional)
  • Hammock (optional)
  • Lightweight tarp (we use this to have an “entryway” in front of our tent)
  • Headlamp (choosing one with a red light feature allows you to walk through the crowded campground without blinding anyone)
  • Inflatable solar lantern (optional)
  • Solar power string lights (optional)
  • Food storage canister or bag
  • Cards (optional)

Check out our complete Havasupai packing list so you don’t forget anything. We have tips on what to wear as well as food ideas and the best gear for treating water. Plus, we have links to all the items we personally use and love.

What NOT to do at the campground

Havasu Falls campground trash Havasupai Arizona

Okay, I’m about to get my serious face on and go over some of the things you definitely should not do while camping at Havasupai:

  • Play amplified music: Not only is it rude to your neighbors (of which you’ll have many), but the Havasupai tribe prohibits it.
  • Drink or do drugs: While we’re usually all about packing in the fixings for a cocktail on backpacking trips, drugs and alcohol are strictly forbidden on the reservation. Possession can lead to hefty fines and even jail time. Don’t pack it for this trip.
  • Leave anything behind: You’ll see a table near the campground entrance where other campers have left gear. This is something the Havasupai people have asked repeatedly that hikers do NOT do. All gear and trash must be removed via pack horse or helicopter. Please, please do not add to this problem. 

Our personal experience at the Havasupai Campground

Camping gear Havasu Falls Hike Havasupai Arizona USA

The campground was much more beautiful than we were expecting, and it was much more crowded than we thought it would be.

We were there during shoulder season (mid-October) and started our hike early. However, when we arrived at 12:30 p.m., there were hardly any campsites left. (And the ones available weren’t very good.) 

We hadn’t heard that finding campsites was a problem, so we weren’t prepared for this possibility. It became a frustrating experience since we hadn’t expected to have such an issue.

We ended up camping pretty close to another tent, but it turned out that we got along with our tent neighbors really well and had a great time. I don’t know where all the other people who arrived after us pitched their tents for the night because there were hardly any spots left.

Didn’t find a good campsite? 

We learned that a lot of people snag crappy campsites the first night, then move to good ones early in the morning when people leave to hike out. Be prepared to wake up early the next day if you want to do “the shuffle”.

Havasu Falls Camping FAQs

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona

Have questions about the campground at Havasupai? We sure did before our trip! Here are some answers to the things you may be wondering…

Can I camp anywhere, or are there assigned campsites?

The campground at Havasupai is a free for all. 

You can camp anywhere and there is no way to reserve sites. This is why it’s important to arrive as early as you can so you have a decent selection of sites to choose from. 

Are the campsites all pretty similar?

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

No, the sites are all very different

Some have picnic tables, a clothesline, and a large area for hanging out. Others are just a flat spot for pitching a tent without any other amenity.

Some are near the stream while others are right beside the canyon wall. Some sites have quite a bit of privacy, while others are essential smack dab in the middle of the trail.

Get clear on what is important to you in a campsite before your hike so you know exactly what to look out for.

Can I move campsites?

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

Yes! If you didn’t have much of a choice of sites when you arrived, it is possible to switch sites in the morning. 

If you plan to do this, here are 3 tips:

  1. Scope out your new site ahead of time and ask the people camped there when they are leaving. This way you’ll know exactly what site you’re moving to. This means you won’t have to wander around aimlessly in the morning, making the transition quicker.
  2. Wake up early. People start breaking down their sites as early as 3 a.m. and good ones will be snagged early. Set your alarm so you don’t miss out.
  3. If you know you’ll be moving, pack up some things the night before to make the move more seamless. 

What if I don’t get a campsite?

I’ve never heard of anyone arriving at the campground and not finding a place to pitch their tent – this is part of the reason why they limit/regulate permits.

It’s just that, if all the good campsites are taken, you may end up pitching right next to the trail (we almost had to do this ourselves), or another not-so-great spot. This is why I’m really pushing the tip to arrive as early as possible!

Can I build a campfire at night?

Havasu Falls campground Havasupai Arizona

No, building campfires is strictly prohibited. You should only cook on camping stoves.

You will see some fire rings that others have made, but please don’t be that person. Respect this land and the rules while you’re here.

Still have more questions? Check out the rest of our Havasupai FAQs.

Plan the perfect Havasupai backpacking trip

Now that you know exactly what to expect at the Havasupai campground, here are some other Havasupai articles to check out. We’ve got tons of guides filled with essential information and secret tips that’ll ensure you have the adventure of a lifetime!

Don’t forget to download our complete packing list for hiking Havasupai! It’s packed with good suggestions and insider tips to help plan your Havasu Falls hike. And it’s completely FREE, so why not!?

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Havasu Falls camping | Two Wandering Soles
Havasu Falls camping | Two Wandering Soles

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We hope this Havasu Falls camping guide is a big help when planning your Havasupai hike. If you still have questions about camping at Havasu Falls, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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