Nestled in the Grand Canyon is the remote village of Supai, the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
Hilltop, which is a large open area for parking, is the farthest you can get with your vehicle. Hilltop has a trailer manned with a couple of staff that can provide information. On certain days and times, there may be vendors selling 7-11 style fare: bottled water, soda, chips, and other snacks.
After gearing up, you’re ready to start!
A side entrance leads you to the start of the trail and to the 1/2-mile long series of switchbacks.
After descending, the land will eventually flatten out, though there will always be a slight decline in elevation all the way through to the village.
No turning back now.
Whether the walk is strenuous ultimately depends on your fitness level. This hike is not for someone who has very limited daily movement. The walk into the village is definitely easier because of the decline. The incline on the trip out is brutal. Add to that the hot sun and sweltering heat: energy blasters.
Along the way, there will be plenty of opportunity to take photos of the majestic formations that surround you. Feeling small in the concrete jungle with skyscrapers surrounding you is one thing; being surrounded by giant rock formations with millions of history etched into its structure is an indescribable feeling.
At this point, you’re probably another mile or so before you get to the village. After all the walking you’ve already done, another 30 minutes is a piece of cake! 😉
The path to the village.
Supai Cafe serves fry bread, burgers, burritos, and other comfort-style foods. Behind it (to its left in the photo below) is a small convenience store selling lots of packaged and canned foods, drinks, and basic toiletries. There is another convenience store near the tourism office where you can pick up more food before heading to the campgrounds.
Yes, we grubbed.
They served nachos, breakfast burritos, and delicious fry bread topped with an assortment of meat and veggies. These were seriously the best nachos. Ever.
From the cafe, head back onto the path and take a right at the fork in the road. This path will lead you around and through the residential area and to the tourism office where you can check in and retrieve your wrist bands and tent tag, if camping. If you decide to fly in and/or out of the village, make note of the helipad, which is located on the open field next to the tourism office.
Havasupai Elementary School
Supai Village Church
1. Start early
A good time to start the hike is at 5 am.
Although a bit long, I would consider the hike into the village and to the falls as easy. The hike out is another story. Its difficulty is purely subjective, which is why you’ll find so many varying opinions. Your fitness level, endurance, stamina, and overall health will determine how easy or hard this hike is.
3. Bring a hat and shades
We were fortunate to do the hike on a mostly overcast day in the beginning of August, but don’t leave it to chance for a cloudy day. A little bit of sun peeking from behind the clouds is more than enough to feel the desert’s scorch.
Because we were only staying overnight and without knowing what to expect in Supai, we didn’t bring cookware and we only brought food bars, such as Kind and CLIF. Each of our backpacks were loaded with about 15-20 bars. Had I known there would be plenty of food options in the village, I would have packed about 5 bars for each of us (for a total of 15 bars) to eat during the hike. Bring as much food as you need to feel comfortable, but keep in mind the convenience store sells hot dogs, buns, canned meals, such as soup, and plenty of beverage options.
5. Don’t do this in one day.
Even if you’re able, the falls and canyon need your time and attention. An early morning hike into the village, a quick dip in the falls and river, and a nighttime hike out are not enough time to truly soak in the beauty and splendor. At the very least, an overnight stay… but if you have the time, spend about 3-5 days and hike out to Beaver Falls (5 miles from Supai Village) and the Colorado River (11 miles from Supai Village).