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Havasu Falls is tucked into a remote area of the Grand Canyon. While it isn’t easy to get to, it’s certainly worth the effort as one of the most stunning waterfalls in the entire country. Its name translates to “people of the blue-green waters,” and sitting against fiery red rock canyon walls, the crystal clear azure waters take on remarkable hues thanks to the high level of calcium carbonate and magnesium, which creates an especially jaw-dropping contrast. The cascading water plunges down into travertine swimming holes below, offering one of the most extraordinary spots for taking a refreshing dip. Most people have at least heard about Havasu Falls, but know little else about it.
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To get to this place considered sacred by the Havasupai, you’ll need to take a ten-mile hike, mule or horse ride, but that just means more scenery to soak up on your own, as the arduous trek prevents the area from getting too crowded. The falls are not actually in Grand Canyon National Park, but on the Reservation nearby. It’s something you have to plan well in advance for, with most visitors making the 10-mile trek that starts from the Reservation, which is a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas or Phoenix.
The Havasupai tribe controls access to Havasu and the other falls nearby, requiring an overnight stay in the canyon as well as a permit to hike to the falls that must be reserved months in advance. Most people camp at the Havasu Campground, though you’ll have to carry your camping equipment with you while hiking so packing as light as possible is a must. While there are pack horses that can be hired to help, the searing hot temperatures and rugged terrain is incredibly tough on them too.
While that may sound like a lot of work to get to this little remote corner of paradise, the journey to get there coupled with the sight of these magical falls is truly a life-changing experience.
Supai Village, Havasu Canyon, Arizona