Hiking to the waterfalls of Havasupai, whether your goal is to see Havasu Falls, Beaver Falls, or simply swim in the many small waterfall terraces, is an adventure everyone should experience. If a visit to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon is on your bucketlist, you’ll want to make sure you see the best of the best. Read on for more information on each of the major waterfalls in Havasu Canyon.
Havasu Falls is the most well known of the Havasupai waterfalls. It is 100 feet (30 m) tall and cascades into a crystal blue-green pool just a 5-minute walk from the Havasupai Campground and about 2 miles from the Village of Supai. Picnic benches dot the dirt-and-rock shore while cottonwood trees shade several smaller waterfalls below the picturesque landmark. Havasu Falls is the visitors’ favorite and most crowded because it is so close to the campground.
At just about 200 ft (60 m) tall, Mooney Falls is the tallest of the waterfalls in Havasupai. Mooney Falls is at the end of the Havasupai Campground, about a mile downstream from Havasu Falls. Some people like to camp close to Mooney for the thrill, but this can be a dangerous spot in the event of a flash flood. Mooney Falls is not safe to swim behind or under as it has a dangerous recirculating current.
The waterfall was named for D.W. “James” Mooney who, in 1882, plummeted to his death over the side of the falls. A former sailor who came to the canyon as part of Alphonso Humphreys’ mining party in 1880, Mooney attempted to descend the falls to discover the riches the party was sure laid within the then-little-traveled lower canyon. At that time this section of the canyon was mostly inaccessible. It wasn’t until Alphonso’s brother, Mat Humphreys, returned in 1883 that the current descent route, involving two tunnels through the travertine and 100 feet of ladder-like rock scrambling, was blasted into the rock surrounding the falls. Climbing down to the lower canyon below Mooney Falls is a tourist favorite today, requiring daring adventurers to climb down the same rock face chipped out by Humphreys. Since then the route has been improved by the introduction of pieces of rebar and the occasional chain handrail. (Story from AOA Adventures.)
Beaver Falls is actually a series of smaller cascading waterfalls. These falls are found about 3 miles down canyon from Mooney Falls and are a popular excursion for canyon visitors. The 6 mile round-trip hike is difficult for many and will require most of the day. The waterfalls here are just above the confluence of Havasu Canyon and the Beaver Canyon. Beaver Falls is also a day-trip destination for many Colorado River whitewater rafting trips hiking up from the eddy at River Mile 157.
New Navajo Falls
When talking about the “new falls” in Havasu Canyon, people are talking about the waterfalls created during the famous August 2008 flood. Navajo Falls, now called Old Navajo, was made dry when the water course diverted to the southeast. Now visitors can see 30-foot Rock Falls and New Navajo Falls (also known as 50ft). These falls are located near each other about 1 mile down from the Village of Supai, or 1 mile up from the Havasupai Campground. Rock Falls is a favorite stop, especially for families, as people can easily swim around the falls and safely climb onto a ledge behind the water flow to a low ledge. Exploring New Navajo and Rock Falls’ various cascades and swimming holes will make you realize you are in Grand Canyon paradise.
This waterfall is a favorite for swimmers. At about 30 ft tall and close to 100 ft wide Rock Falls is picturesque and fun to hang out at. A ledge behind the falls allows adventurers to make a small jump from about 3ft through the waterfall’s cascade. This waterfall tempts the occasional daredevil but jumping from the top is not allowed. The pool depth is not reliable and changes with each flood season making high jumps very risky.