On this trip, I chose to only go as far as Mooney Falls because I was only there for the day and I wasn't sure how much more hiking I could take. Mooney Falls was not as striking as Havasu Falls in my opinion but was much taller. Mooney Falls was named for a miner from the old west that died after a fall while trying to climb to the cliff above. I have read in places that he was drunk at the time and was trying to help a dying friend out of the canyon who had injured himself previously.
Like Havasu Falls, there is an overlook of the top of the falls to the right and a trail to the bottom of the falls to the left. This trail, however, was much more difficult than the trail to the bottom of Havasu Falls. In fact, at one point you had to go into a hole in the ground in order to get to the base. I chose not to go through the hole because it was rediculously small and I really had nowhere to stash my backpack safely.
The falls are definitely worth the relatively short hike from Havasu Falls. Each being unique but both sharing the same source stream of amazing blue-green waters.
At first, the top of the falls looks just like any other cliff top. That is until you step closer to the sign that says "NO DIVING FROM THIS POINT". Once you reach that spot and look down, there you see the waterfall. A walk over to the right will take you to the top of the waterfall. To the left is a trail that takes you to the bottom of the falls.
Once you reach the bottom of the falls there is a great pool for swimming (especially in the heat of the day after hiking). I watched several people swim from the shallow side of the pool to the place that the water crashes down from the falls above, climb the cliff behind the falls, then jump into the water. If I was a more experienced swimmer and wouldn't have been travelling solo, I would have likely tried that myself. As it was I felt content to cool my feet in the water and watch the other tourists enjoy themselves in the water. I found it interesting that there were only about 60-80 tourists total in the canyon and most of them were from foreign countries.
From Havasu Falls there are a few more options further down the trail that a person can chose to visit if they like. Mooney Falls is 2 miles further downstream just beyond the visitor campground. Beaver Falls is further downstream and further yet is the convergence of the blue green waters into the Colorado River.
Havasu Canyon is magical if you can hike to Havasu Falls. I took a week long raft trip down the canyon, and we hiked up from the river to the falls. When I was there you could swim up under the falls to a hidden cave. The travertine landscape of the falls and pools gets changed by occasional flash floods.
We were hiking in mid October and were surprised to see so many desert flowers in bloom. We also noticed many small desert lizards and birds. From the parking lot we saw a black tailed fox with a fresh kill in its mouth.
Keep your eyes open and your camera ready.
Although we were quite hot by the end of our hike, we found the water temperature in October a bit too chilly for our liking, so unfortunately we didn't get to swim. However, many brave souls did and you can swim all the way out to Havasu Falls and swim underneath it if you like.
I suggest you bring water shoes or Tevas with you as will have to wade across the natural terraces which can be quite sharp on bare feet and slippery. There is even a sandy beach and plenty of rocks to sit on to enjoy the beautiful scene.
This waterfall is twice the height of Havasu Falls and also crashes into a beautiful turqoise coloured pool surrounded by red cliffs. Your first sight of this 200 foot waterfall will be from the top, after a one mile hike from Havasu Falls.
You can continue on the path which descends the cliff side along a series of steps, through caves and by scaling the cliff face with the aid of chains. We quite enjoyed our view from the top so didn't venture any further. Although, on a hot day, it would have been a great place for a swim down at the bottom. If you do plan to "go all the way", carry as little as possible since it is a tight squeeze through some of the narrow openings.
From Havasu Falls you have another one mile hike before reaching Mooney Falls. It is a very pleasant, level walk that will bring you through the shady campground and alongside the quiet blue waters of Havasu Creek.
The hike was very rewarding and perhaps a bit tiring, but from the village it is still another 2 miles to Havasu Falls. Follow the path to the left of the church and keep to the right when you come to a fork in the road. This is also the path that leads to the campgrounds. The path will be a bit sandy in places and there will be some hills, but it is all worth it once you get your first glimpse of this spectacular waterfall.
The water descends 100 feet and splashes into a turquoise coloured pool set against what looks like a red petrified curtain. Throw in some pretty green trees and grass and it truly is an oasis.
The last mile of the hike will bring you alongside Havasu Creek, you will hear it before you will see it. You will also be walking under a shady canopy of trees. After crossing the aqua blue water by a small footbridge, you will soon see the first homes of the village and nearby the two towering rock formations, called the Watchmen.
The next 6 miles of the hike will bring you deeper into the canyon where the open vistas are lost and you are walking between the soaring orange cliff sides of the Grand Canyon. The colours and rock formations were quite beautiful and we enjoyed these views as much as the views from the top.
You can see more views from the hike in my travelogue.
Once you have completed the first mile downhill, you will be on the canyon floor and the path will veer to the right. Now you will have great closeup views of the colourful canyon walls and some open vistas looking east and west into the Canyon. It will be like this for the next mile. The path is well travelled and easy to follow. If you are ever confused just check the gound for footprints or hoofprints, then you'll know you are on the right track.
The only way into Supai is by helicopter, mule or your own two feet. The hike is 8 miles and apart from the first mile, it is fairly level and easy. However, in that first mile, you will descend over 1000 feet by a series of switchbacks down the canyon side. It took us 4 hours to hike the 8 miles to the village, but we stopped often for photos, snacks and just to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
This photo was taken very close to the start of the hike. There were many interesting rock formations that we passed by, or as in this case, under, along the hike.
If you are planning to hike down to Supai, you "must see" Hualapai Hilltop, for this is where you will park your car. It was a large and secure parking area, free of charge. Some hikers spend the night here in the parking lot before beginning the hike down in the morning. There is also a port-a-john, the last such facility you will encounter before reaching the village. This is also the spot where you will catch your horse if riding into the canyon. You can also send your luggage down by mule for a fee if you like. You can arrange this with the men who staff the parking lot.
From the parking area you have a great view down into the Grand Canyon and of the path that you will follow to Supai.
To begin your hike head to the far north east corner of the parking lot.
To get to Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, and Ferngrado you must scale the cliffs beside Mooney Falls. Fortunately there are chains to hold onto. My hands were shaking the first time down, but after that I climbed up and down it daily with the greatest of ease and skill.
You will never see more stars in your entire life! Ask the locals for the best path to the rim. Be prepared to spend another 2-3 hours making your up the cliff. The best time for this activity is at sunset.