There are a few simple rules to follow when training for any hiking trip, these all apply when preparing for a hiking trip to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. Keep in mind that it is always better to be over-prepared for a hiking trip in the backcountry than to be under-prepared. Give yourself plenty of time to get physically prepared for your adventure. There’s no reason to be scrambling frantically to get into shape in the final weeks before your trip.
Training for your Hike to Havasu Falls
Your goal will be to simulate the strain of the hike itself as closely as possible. Depending on where you live, this may be more or less difficult. Walking on a treadmill with a simulated incline will improve your cardiovascular health, but it won’t take into consideration the uneven surfaces, walking in sand, or hiking in heat. Consider the suggestions below to balance out your training plan and account for the unique conditions you will encounter while hiking in the Grand Canyon.
- Hike outside. Don’t expect that cardiovascular fitness will be enough. The hike to Havasupai is hard to directly replicate, but you can build important stabilizing muscles in your legs and ankles by walking on a rocky beach or riverside where you will encounter sand and loose rocks.
- Try hot yoga. Most people choose to visit Havasu Falls during spring and summer. Air temperatures in the canyon are quite high, and summer temps often exceed 100 degrees F. Hot yoga can help to enhance your cardiovascular health in a warm environment and increase your heat tolerance. It will also help to build strength and work on the stabilizing muscles mentioned above.
- Stairs stairs stairs. If you are not accustomed to hiking over elevation change, climbing stairs will be your best friend while training for Havasu Falls trip. If you have strong quadriceps and appropriate long-distance endurance you will be able to manage this hike.
- Elevation training. Plan a few training hikes at a higher elevation. Havasupai hilltop is at about 5200ft. While this is not very high, coupled with the other factors that make this hike difficult, it is something worth training for. If it’s winter while you are preparing and hiking at elevation is not an option, find another activity that will test your cardio health while at high elevation such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or even running on an indoor treadmill during your mountain stay.
How do I know I’m fit enough?
You should feel confident that you are capable of hiking at least 10 miles (16 km) in a hot dry environment. The hike in is only the first step, so more importantly you should only begin this hike if you are certain that you will be able to hike out as well. Your training expectations should set you up to successfully hike about 25-30 miles (40-45 km) throughout the duration of your trip. This means if you are only staying one night in the Havasu Campground, you should feel comfortable with your ability to hike 20+ miles over 2 days.