Distance: 8mi to town of Supai; 2mi to campgrounds
Cost: $35/person entrance fee; $17/person/night camping fee; $5/person environmental fee; 10% tax
Today we drove to Hualapai Hilltop, which is the trailhead for Havasupai. We parked our car on the side of the road, wove our way through the groups of backpackers and pack mules, took a deep breath and began our descent into the canyon. The initial slope is pretty steep and made of slick rock, but after the first 1.5 mi, you hit the canyon floor and are mostly walking on loose gravel, sand and rocks. The only shade comes from the shadows cast by large rocks and a fair amount of time is spent dodging trains of pack-mules carrying supplies.
The first eight miles were pretty standard desert beauty – something you’d expect from looking at pictures of the Grand Canyon (which is technically where this is located). Around the eight mile mark, we reached the town of Supai where we bought our permits. Supai and the surrounding area is home to many of the Havasupai Tribe – there is a school, meeting hall, grocery store, etc. in addition to the camping permit office. Once we passed through Supai, we began to see more greenery, more rivers, until we came to this:
Not knowing how large the campsite was and not wanting to stray too far from that natural beauty, we picked out a patch of dirt relatively close to the campgrounds entrance. I set up the tent (be impressed) and E set up the rest of camp before we went to go for a swim in the falls. We returned to camp to take a nap and then woke to the sounds of a million Boy Scouts eating dinner. Nota bene: The campsites near the campgrounds entrance tend to be popular for large groups of kids – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school groups, you name it. Families and normal people tend to walk a bit farther in and camp by the river or Mooney Falls. There are composting bathrooms scattered throughout the campgrounds, but best to bring your own toilet paper. E whipped us up some free-form spam onigiri (all the ingredients for spam oni in bowls) and then we took a walk through the rest of the campgrounds and returned to sleep.