Havasupai Waterfalls

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We’ve created a guide that goes over all the Havasupai waterfalls, how to get there, and tips for visiting. We’re also sharing our personal favorite waterfall (hint: it’s not the most famous one!).

Havasu Falls Havasupai
Havasu Falls

With cascading aquamarine waterfalls set against a backdrop of red rocks, the Havasupai waterfalls look as if they have been plucked out of a dream. 

The waterfalls are the reason you come to Havasupai, right?!

While a lot of people refer to this as the “Havasu Falls hike” (ourselves included), that is just one of the waterfalls on the Havasupai Reservation. 

In fact, there are 5 main waterfalls in Havasupai, each of which is unique and has a personality of its own. They are: Fifty Foot Falls, Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls.

We recommend trying to see all of them, if possible. 

One thing we didn’t exactly realize until we were at Havasupai is how spread out these waterfalls are. Some of them (I’m looking at you, Beaver Falls!) require a lengthy hike to reach.

In fact, it’s just over 5 miles one way from the first waterfall to the last. (And the hike between them is pretty gnarly in some places!)

We think it’s a good idea to read up on each waterfall so you can plan out which you want to prioritize and spend the most time at.

Spoiler Alert: Our personal favorite is Beaver Falls, followed closely by Mooney and Havasu Falls. 

Havasupai Waterfalls Guide

Click the links to jump to the description of each waterfall so you know what to expect and how long of a hike it is to get there from the campground. Otherwise, keep scrolling to read about all the falls, along with more important info and insider tips.

Insider Tip: When you hike to these waterfalls as day trips, you can leave most of your belongings behind at camp. Bring a small daypack (like this collapsible one!) with essentials (like water, sunscreen, first aid, and snacks).

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Havasupai Waterfalls overview

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona USA
Mooney Falls

Known for their vivid turquoise color and idyllic swimming pools, the Havasupai Waterfalls have become a viral Instagram sensation over the last decade. 

About 30,000 people make the infamous trek into this dreamy canyon oasis each year – and that’s just a small fraction of those who apply for a highly coveted permit.

The Native American Havasu Baaja, or Havasupai Tribe, have called this land home for over a millennium. Pai means “people” and havasu means “blue-green water”, so the name Havasupai literally translates to “people of the blue-green water”.

The distinctive color comes from high concentrations of calcium carbonate and magnesium in the water. Set within the deep red canyon walls and dotted with lush green vegetation, this remote paradise is truly as magical as it sounds.

Waterfalls of Havasupai map

Havasu Falls Hike Map Havasupai Arizona

This map shows the 5 main waterfalls of Havasupai so you can see how spread out they are in relation to each other.

Important notes on distances

The Havasupai campground is roughly a mile long, so the distance to each waterfall will vary depending on where your campsite is located

The distances listed in the descriptions below are based on the start of the campground, aka the end closer to Navajo Falls. If your site is at the far end (closer to Mooney Falls), then you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

It’s also important to know that GPS doesn’t work well in this area, and the information on AllTrails might differ from what you see here. We’ve done our best to be as accurate as possible based on our own personal experience, but these are still estimated distances and may not be exact.

Come along on our Havasupai adventure!

Wanna see what our Havasupai backpacking trip was like up close and in-person? Watch this video to see exactly what our experience was like, including details you won’t find anywhere else!

Fifty Foot Falls

  • Known for: the first waterfall on the Havasu Falls Hike
  • Distance from campground: 1.1 miles

Past the Supai village and just before the 9th mile of the Havasu Falls Hike, hikers will pass their first waterfall: Fifty Foot Falls.

Getting to it is a bit tricky as it isn’t a well-defined trail, and you will likely need to do some bushwhacking. But hikers who make the climb down are handsomely rewarded.

A wide section of the Havasu Creek tumbles over a cliff—you guessed it—50 feet high, streaming down in a sparkling curtain. The pools at its base are crystal-clear where the water is shallow, and that telltale blue-green where it’s deeper.

Since Fifty Foot is not as popular as some of the other falls and requires a bit of work to get to, it tends to be less crowded. You may even have it all to yourself!

These falls aren’t as powerful as some of the others (like Mooney), so you can swim or stand underneath and let the water splash over you (depending on water levels).

Be sure to always use caution when swimming and do not jump off the cliffs into the water – cliff jumping is prohibited on the Havasupai Reservation.

Navajo Falls Havasupai (AllTrails)
Image by Jerry Flores via AllTrails
  • Known for: the youngest waterfall in Havasupai
  • Distance from campground: 0.6 miles

Severe flash flooding in August 2008 destroyed the “original” Navajo Falls, simultaneously creating the landmark we know today, aka “Little Navajo Falls”.

Unlike the waterfalls deeper in the canyon, Navajo and Fifty Foot are sunnier and more open, as they are not surrounded by high cliffs. Though you likely won’t notice a big difference in water temperatures, having the warm sun on your skin while swimming is a definite plus.

Navajo Falls is particularly beautiful when captured using a long exposure, making the cascades appear soft and dreamy.

Insider Tip: We highly recommend heading straight for the campground rather than stopping by Fifty Foot and Navajo Falls on the hike in. Instead, you can come back to these waterfalls on the 2nd or 3rd day of your trip as we suggest in our Havasupai itinerary.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona USA
  • Known for: iconic waterfall synonymous with the entire hike
  • Distance from campground: 0 miles

It is a really special moment when you see Havasu Falls come into view for the first time. It’s just as stunning in real life as it is in the pictures, and it quite literally takes your breath away. We shrieked a little, and over the next 4 days, we saw many other people having similar reactions.

Havasu Falls is the one you always see photos of: a single or double chute (depending on water flow – it was 2 when we were there), cascading over lush greenery and red travertine into an aquamarine pool.

This is unquestionably the most famous of the 5 falls (for good reason!). Plus, it’s located pretty much right at the campground*. So you can see why this is the most popular waterfall (and therefore the most crowded).

*Again, we’re referring here to the start of the mile-long campground, which is still probably about ⅛ mile from Havasu Falls.

Nevertheless, Havasu Falls was our 2nd—or 3rd?… or tied for 2nd??—favorite waterfall. When we weren’t off hiking, we hung out in our hammock, swam in the pool, and used the little watercolor set we brought to paint the falls. It was magical.

Insider Tip: If you’re really into photography, try capturing Havasu Falls at night. It’s close enough to camp that you won’t have to do any dangerous hiking in the dark, and the canyon walls here are low enough that you can frame both the stars and the falls in one perfect photo.

Mooney Falls

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona
  • Known for: the infamous “ladder section” climb down to the falls
  • Distance from campground: 1 mile

Mooney Falls is kind of like a femme fatale – beautiful, but dangerous…

At just under 200 feet, Mooney is the highest of the Havasupai falls. A single chute surrounded by sheer, towering red cliffs hurtles down into an impossibly blue pool, throwing mist into the air.

There’s a lookoff where you can admire Mooney Falls from above. The view is breathtaking, and if this is as far as you’d like to go, that’s okay!

Otherwise, you can descend the notorious ladder section. A lot of people feel intimidated by this part and it’s one of the most frequently asked questions about the hike. So let’s break it down, step by step.

The ladder section

Mooney Falls ladder section Havasupai
Mooney Falls ladder section Havasupai
  1. Descend through a tunnel. The tunnel is short and not difficult, but be careful not to bump your head on the rocky ceiling.
  2. Take in the view! You’ll come to a small area with a chain fence. The view with the cave in the foreground makes a great photo op.
  3. Tunnel #2. Another very short tunnel and you’ll find yourself at the top of the ladder.
    • Good to know: There is a pile of used gardening gloves at the top and bottom of the ladder section for hikers to borrow for better grip. (It definitely helps!) One guy we were hiking with brought his own from home, which was a good idea.
  4. Climb down. Though there is a wooden ladder at the very bottom, most of this section consists of a steep climb down the rocky canyon wall. The rocks are wet and slippery due to the mist from the falls, so use the chain and take it slow.
    • Depending on what time you get here, there may already be others going down. If so, give everyone space and know you may not be able to go down as fast as you’d like. (This was the case for us). 
  5. Celebrate! You made it!! *Virtual high-five* Take a well-earned break, drink some water, and grab a snack.

Beaver Falls

Beaver Falls Havasupai
  • Known for: series of tiered cascades separated by idyllic pools
  • Distance from campground: 2.5 miles

A lot of people skip this one because it is the furthest waterfall from the campground, but we would highly, highly recommend you get here. With several cascades and perfect pools for swimming, it was our favorite of all the waterfalls. Plus, it tends to be less crowded than the others.

We recommend taking photos from the viewpoint above before you descend. 

Photo tip: The lighting is best in the early morning and the late afternoon.

If you get here early, you may have it all to yourself as most people who aren’t continuing onto the Confluence hike will get here a little later. Have a snack here and get in the water. It’s colder than it looks but it is really nice once you get used to it!

Havasupai waterfall FAQs

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona USA

Have questions about the waterfalls at Havasupai? We’ve got answers!

Can you swim at the waterfalls?

Beaver Falls Havasupai
Beaver Falls

Yes, you can swim at the waterfalls in Havasupai, but here are a couple of warnings:

  • During the colder months (February, March, November), the water may be too cold to comfortably (or safely) swim.
  • Be cautious, as the current can be very strong and the falls are powerful. People have drowned in this area, so if you choose to swim, do so mindfully.

Insider Tip: Our favorite waterfalls for swimming are Beaver Falls and Havasu Falls.

Can you cliff jump at the waterfalls?

No, cliff jumping is prohibited on the Havasupai Reservation. 

There are rocks beneath the surface that may not be easily visible, and in the past cliff jumping has led to injuries and even deaths, so it is no longer allowed.

Note: You might still see people cliff jumping, but please, respect the rules of the Havasupai Tribe. Remember, you are a guest on their land.

How cold is the water?

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona USA
Havasu Falls

Even though the air temperature fluctuates quite a bit, the water of Havasupai Creek remains at a pretty constant 70ºF (21ºC) all year long. 

That said, the air temperature can play a big role in how comfortable it is to swim. The months of February, March, and November will be likely too cold for most people to comfortably swim.

See the average temperatures at Havasupai for each month

Which is the best waterfall?

Beaver Falls Havasupai Arizona USA
Beaver Falls

This is a subjective question and there’s no right or wrong answer, but our personal favorite is Beaver Falls. It is stunning, nice for swimming, and less crowded than the other waterfalls. 

How scary is the ladder section at Mooney Falls, really?

Havasu Falls Havasupai Arizona USA

This is definitely one of the most notorious parts of Havasupai, and there are all sorts of opinions about it. 

I don’t want to downplay this section of the trail because it can be dangerous, and some people find it very scary. 

Our personal opinion: However, in both mine and Ben’s opinions we found it pretty fun and exciting. We love ladder sections on any hike because it forces you to take it slow and think through every move. 

Because of how technical the ladder section is, hikers tend to take this section slowly and it can get jammed up. Unless you get here very early in the morning or are hiking up later in the afternoon, expect a bit of a traffic jam.

Also, the mist from the waterfall adds another element to the section because everything becomes wet and slippery. Take your time and think through each step.

If you are afraid of heights, the ladders might be challenging for you. We met two people who were scared but they faced their fears in order to climb down the ladders. 

Note: If this section is too much for you, that is okay. There is a viewing platform where you can see Mooney Falls from up above, but know that the only way to get to Beaver Falls is to take the ladders down (and back up when you return).

Plan the perfect Havasupai backpacking trip

Now that you know exactly how to get a permit for Havasupai, here are some other Havasu Falls 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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Havasupai Waterfalls (Pin D)
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We want to hear from you!

Which of the Havasupai waterfalls is your favorite? Do you have any more questions about the Havasupai waterfalls? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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