Havasupai in October offers crisp air, cold stream crossings, and comfortable days!
Step 0: Understanding all the names! Havasupai = the reservation. Supai = the campground. Havasu Falls = easy waterfall. Mooney Falls = waterfall that requires the ladder climb. Beaver Falls = requires an 8 mile RT hike from Mooney Falls
Step 1: Get your permit! Sign up on the official website’s list to get notified for 2019 openings. Getting a permit is unfortunately really difficult. We had 9 people online/calling at the same time and when the website finally loaded (it breaks every year), the only spots open were in April or October. Having done a bit of spring hiking, I know fall hiking > spring hiking so we naturally chose October
Step 2: Organize driving logistics. Getting to the trailhead is a 8 hour drive from LA, 3.5 hours from Las Vegas, and 4 hours from Phoenix. Most people start hiking early around 6AM which means you should be in the area the night before and drive early, or sleep at the trailhead like many people do
Step 3; Think about camping and packing logistics. You can hire horses/mules to carry your gear down. It’s about $30/bag. We chose to hike down with our bags and eat really well, which means we packed about 10 lbs of produce - heh. It was heavy but you’re walking downhill on the way down so it’s actually very relaxing.
Step 4: Think again about what you’re going to pack. It gets really cold at night in October! I wore fleece pants, a down jacket, a beanie, and fuzzy socks once the sun set.
Here is the gear I brought:
Water Shoes. I have special felt-bottom water shoes from Taiwan that aren’t available online, but Keens are an ok substitute.
2L of water (there are many water fill up stations)
Your Hiking Days
The trailhead to Supai Campground (10 miles): The first day is really relaxed. As I mentioned above you’re walking downhill most of the day which makes for an easy day. The trail itself is rocky and not super comfortable though so I’d recommend good hiking boots over sneakers.
After mile 8, you will reach Supai Village which has a store and flushing toilets.
Once you get to the trailhead, you should definitely spend the extra 20 minutes looking around for a good campsite. There are a bunch of cool hidden ones, so keep searching!
Supai Campground to Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls (10 miles): On your first full day you should hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls. The trail gets crowded even in October so it’s recommended to start around 7AM or at first light. The climb down the slippery ladder to Mooney falls is a bit tricky but fun! It is extremely slippery though so be careful.
From there, follow the trail until a stream crossing. This is one of many many cold stream crossings. In October, the water was about thigh high. It’s a bit of a longer trek to get to Beaver Falls but well worth it. You’ll see a clear sign pointing to the Falls.
If you follow the trail along the river, you’ll also find some folks cliff jumping. We watched and did not participate :) PS if you keep going 3 more mikes, you will reach the confluence with the Colorado River (which is very brown). The total trip from Mooney to the Confluence is 16 miles RT.
Top Tips for Havasupai in October
Wear water shoes but pack warm clothes in your daypack!
Bring comfy warm camp clothes
If you’re ok with the weight, pack real food over the dehydrated stuff. Your stomach will thank you
You don’t need to hike to the campground early, but you should start the hike to Mooney and Beaver early
Sleep at the trailhead in your car. Take out your sleeping pad/bag and make it comfy for the night.