Hidden deep in the Grand Canyon is a turquoise oasis only adventurers will seek where a waterfall flows with distinct blue-green water enriched by minerals.
The Grand Canyon is known for its raised plateaus and sweeping basins, but few people know about a secret oasis that’s an eight-mile hike below the canyon’s rim.
It’s the remote village of Supai, Arizona, home to the Havasu Baaja, People of the Blue Green Waters, or as they are known today, the Havasupai Tribe.
Just above the village, a hidden limestone aquifer gushes forth the life-sustaining turquoise waters that have nourished the fields of corn, squash and beans.
These fields have allowed the Havasu Baaja to thrive living in the harsh desert landscape deep in the Grand Canyon for centuries.
This remoteness creates many obstacles for residents and visitors alike. The United States Postal Service office in Supai transports all mail in and out of the canyon by mule train.
Everything must make the eight-mile trek in and out of the village either by foot, on horseback.
The area is part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation and is managed by the tribe, which means the number of visitors is restricted and reservations are required (see the tribe’s website for details).
For hikers who are granted a permit, the best months to visit if you want to play in the water are May/June and September/October.
Hiking conditions are excellent in the earlier spring and later fall, but the water will be cold and less inviting. The water is delightful during mid-summer but hiking conditions are hot.
Adventurers must hike/backpack or ride horses to reach the waterfalls. From the trailhead, it’s eight miles to the Havasupai village of Supai, where you must check-in at the tourism office.
Here you can also buy basic supplies, food and drinks in the village.
Havasu Falls is located two miles below the village; Mooney Falls is a mile further down the trail.
A campground can be found along the stream between those two waterfalls. Most tourists camp, but some elect to stay in the lodge in the village (a small cafe operates in the village).
All supplies brought into the village and campground come by backpacking, mule train or helicopter.
The trek from the trailhead to the campground is steep, particularly on the upper end.
It’s also rocky and in some spots, it is fully exposed to the summer sun. Backpacking is strenuous with many visitors electing to have their packs carried in by mule trail.
The trailhead, Hualapai Hilltop, is located at the end of Indian Road 18, 60 miles north of the Junction of Road 18 and Highway 66. The junction is between Seligman and Peach Springs, in northwest Arizona.
This is a remote area about 235 miles east of Las Vegas, or about 165 miles northwest of Flagstaff, AZ.
Some online map programs show alternate routes to the Hilltop, but those are rugged backroads not recommended for automobile travel.