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Beginning of a trip to Southwest: Havasupai – Part II

This is the second part of our trip to American Southwest on July 2015. The part one of this series follows the beginning of our journey to Supai, a remote village of Havasupai people and the capital of Havasupai Indian Reservation. This second part continues and also concludes our stay at Supai.

This part follows our hike to Mooney Falls, another spectacular but less known waterfalls of Havasupai. It is quite an adventure trip to the base of the falls. The trip requires 2.25 miles hike from the village and requires a descent down 210-feet cliff to the base of the waterfalls.

Trip Detail


Total hiking distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Helicopter waiting time: 4 hours
Trip members: Ting and Putt

Day 3

We had a bit longer sleep as we did not plan to catch the sunrise and wanted to recover ourselves from yesterday hike.

Our plan today was to walk to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls. Our first stop, Mooney Falls, is 2.25 miles away from the village passing through the campground. After a short walk from the campground, the trail leads to the view of the top of Mooney Falls. The view from the top is already spectacular.

Mooney Falls from Trail Head
Mooney Falls from Trail Head
PTT-web-0452
The point where we decided to hike back

Reaching the base of the falls can be quite challenging. The hike down to Mooney Falls is a descent down a 210 feet (64 m) cliff with ladders, bolts, and chains. At first, we were not thinking about going down as the trail looked really difficult, especially with our photography gears. There also were signs along the way saying that “descend at your own risk”. In the end, we decided to hike down and stopped if the trail seems too dangerous.  After passing the halfway down to the base, the trail looked quite scary to use. What was left is just a pair of chains and the cliff. It seemed like the view of the waterfalls at that point was good enough for us and we did not want to risk ourselves. So, we decided to hike back.

After climbing up to a rather secure and safe spot, we started to regret our decision. After a short discussion, we hiked back down to the bottom of the falls again. This time, we changed our strategy a little bit. Instead of front-facing the cliff, we turn our back to the cliff while going down and it was a right decision. We just had to make sure that one of our feet touch a secure spot before let our hands go and stepped down.

And... we made it to the base of the falls!! It was really worth it. The view was totally different from the top of the falls. We would be ashamed of ourselves if we did not go all the way to see the falls up close. As a bonus, there were less people and we almost had the falls just for us.

Me and Mooney Falls
Me and Mooney Falls
Another angle of Mooney Falls
Another angle of Mooney Falls
A trail to Mooney Falls
Mooney Falls Trail

The next stop in our plan was Beaver Falls; however, it seemed like it was too difficult. Other hikers told us that we have to walk in the water the whole way there and it is 3 miles (4.8 km) below Mooney Fall. Since we came unprepared, we decided not to go and just enjoy Mooney Falls.

During our time at the falls, a lucky marmot just found its way to my backpack, bit the front pocket, and took my snack bar back to his home :’(. My word of caution here is "Do not leave your bag with food unattended".

After spending a couple hour, we climbed back and head back to the village with an extra hole on my backpack. Our way back was quite a challenge as it was climbing up 210 feet cliff on the extremely hot (about 104F) day. Apart from that, we did not bring enough water!!. Considering our conditions and the weather, hiking 0.75 mile (1.2 km) back to Havasu Falls and another 1.5 miles (2.4km) back to the village was really something. We decided to stop at the Havasu Falls to take some rest. I swam at the falls while Putt was looking after our stuffs under tree shade. The heat from the weather and the cold of the water from the falls had a really big contrast, but it was so satisfy. I can still recall how refreshing I was when I swam at the base of the falls.  Havasu Falls was really crowded at this time but everyone still had their own space to enjoy the falls.

We arrived back to the hotel safe and sound. We needed to pack our stuff tonight as we were leaving the next day by helicopter. We were told that we should line up for the helicopter service as early as 7am. The helicopter is first come first serve. Priority is given to the locals first before they start taking tourists.

Day 4

We woke up early and had our breakfast at the cafeteria, which is close of the helicopter spot. After the breakfast, Putt went to register for the helicopter ride. Only one person from a group has to register and give the number of people within the group. Some big groups might be separated to different rounds of helicopter ride. We waited almost 4 hours. The ride was about 10 minutes. It was my first helicopter ride, so I was quite excited. Even better, I was riding shotgun, so it was really nice 🙂

Ting and helicopter
Bye Bye Havasupai..
This is the end of our Havasupai trip. We then headed to Grand Canyon.

Stay tune!!

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