Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

Jan 27, 2023, 6:00 AM
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit: Richey Miller/Cal Sport Media/AP

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch.

The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group.

People whose previous reservations were suspended will get first crack at rescheduling a visit to the falls and the enchanting aquamarine pool at its base.

Havasu Falls is on the lands of the Havasupai Indian Reservation and is controlled by the tribe. The reservation is adjacent to but not part of Grand Canyon National Park. The tribe controls all access to the falls.

No new 2023 reservations are being offered, but if you’re really itchin’ to go this year, there’s a potential loophole if you’re lucky and able to be flexible.

If people whose visits were suspended aren’t able to reschedule their visit, their spots will become open via an online list.

On its official Facebook page, the tribe says that “the only way to get a reservation for 2023 is to purchase off the official transfer list. Open an account at www.havasupaireservations.com to see what is available.”

Tight time schedule to see Havasu Falls

The response time for people to reschedule is tight, and the tribe warned that “this is a new check-in process and there may be some delays as we work through the system.”

On Thursday, January 26, the tribe sent detailed, instructional emails to trip leaders who had arrival dates of February 1-28, 2023, according to its latest Facebook post.

Some hopeful visitors posted they were having a hard time making new arrangements that quickly and working with check-in times to begin the trek.

One person posted: “I appreciate the update but I really wish this would have been more timely. This really changes my travel plans, therefore my childcare arrangements. You are providing a 1 week notice. My reservation is for 2/3.”

Why was Havasu Falls closed for so long?

Havasu Falls is just one part of the broader Havasupai Reservation. The unique health-care problems faced by Native American tribes contributed to the lengthy closure, the tribe noted.

“We closed our Reservation in March 2020,” the tribe wrote on its website. “With limited access to meaningful healthcare, closing the reservation was the best way to keep our community safe and healthy. We have remained closed to tourists since that time.”

Then in October 2022, severe flooding damaged trails and bridges used not only by tourists but also by members of the tribe in Supai Village, where about 200 people live, according to VisitArizona.com.

Finally, the tribe said it had problems with its third-party tourism operator.

But with debris cleaned up and a new tourism operator on board, the Havasupai set the February 1 reopening.

The hard trek to Havasu Falls

It’s no easy feat to get to the site — or to leave it.

First of all, this is not a day-trip hike, according to the US National Park Service’s information page on the adjacent area. This is an overnight affair. You must arrange to stay at a campground or at the Havasupia Lodge.

It’s a long hike from the canyon rim — eight miles (13 kilometers) to the village of Supai and another two miles (3.2 kilometers) to the falls. And then you have to hike back up and out.

Rock climbing and night hiking are not permitted, according the tribe’s instructional page. No one is allowed to bring in drones, alcohol or weapons.

Visitors should be physically fit, able to carry at least a gallon of water (there are no water sources on the trail) and be ready for a hard desert hike, NPS said.

During summer, temperatures can reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius). Trails are closed when the temperature goes over that number.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Outdoors + Recreation

On the latest KSL Greenhouse show, Taun and Maria gave tips on what you can do if you're seeing sno...
Michelle Lee

What you can do about snow mold in your lawn

SALT LAKE CITY – Snow is starting to melt in some areas, which means you might be seeing some snow mold on your lawn. Although there isn’t much you can do to prevent that from happening, Taun and Maria gave some tips on the latest KSL Greenhouse show. How can you tell if there’s snow […]
2 days ago
National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Z...
Devin Oldroyd

Zion National Park crews responding to road damage after rockfalls

National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Kolob Canyons Road.
3 days ago
A Utah man is recovering from a shark bite he suffered while swimming in the waters near Hawaii on ...
Mark Jones

Utah man recovering from shark bite while swimming in Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources says a 62-year-old Utah man was bitten by a shark on Sunday, March 19. He was brought to shore and taken to an area hospital.
4 days ago
FILE - In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the world premiere of "Avenger...
Lindsay Aerts

Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial begins in Park City, lawyer calls it “B.S.”

PARK CITY, Utah — In the opening day of the 2016 Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial in Park City, opening statements were given and a witness has testified. The Hollywood actress is being sued by Terry Sanderson, who claims she skied into him on the slopes at Deer Valley Resort.  Her lawyer didn’t mince words […]
5 days ago
dps helicopter pictured...
Adam Small

DPS helicopter rescues trending up this year

The Department of Public Safety says preparation and caution go a long way toward staying safe outdoors.
5 days ago
a skier is pictured at brighton...
Adam Small

Brighton hits a milestone with 700 inches of snow

Brighton Ski Resort's snow milestone is impressive, but it'll get even more snow after a Tuesday night storm.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure