lI’ll keep it short and sweet. Havasupai has quickly gone from a hidden gem on a quiet Indian Reservation, to a bucket list item for millions of people. Havasupai Reservation is home to Native American residents, incredible waterfalls, and turquoise waters seen in viral videos all over Facebook, but what you don’t see on social media is how hard it is to get there.
To enter Havasupai and have the privilege of making the 11 mile hike down into the canyon, one MUST have a permit to do so. The Havasupai people issue 300 permits for each night, for the whole year, and you CANNOT day hike (meaning you must hike down and stay at least one night). And on February 1st each year, thousands of people scramble to become one of those lucky permit holders.
Up until February 1st, 2017, the only way to receive a permit was to jump on the phone the minute the Havasupai office opened, and begin dialing one of the four provided numbers, until you finally get though to someone on the other end to reserve your spot. It was well known and understood that the Havasupai people did NOT work with technology and they did not have a website. This year, after countless phone calls from every person in our party of six to those four numbers for over TEN hours, we gave up discouraged and defeated for that day, assuming all the permits had gone and we did not receive any of them. Skip to February 2nd.. We wake up and continue calling…calling…calling…
We then received a text in our “Mission Havasupai” group chat from Blake that says “I got it!!! We’re in!!!”We all immediately assume he got through the phone lines, so we were extremely skeptical when he said he booked our reservation on a website. Let me rephrase… We were all very upset and somewhat panicked when he said he booked on a website. We thought we had just lost all of our reservation money and had gotten scammed.
Long story short, Blake saved the day. He constantly refreshed every social media site using the key word “Havasupai” to monitor what was going on, if anyone else had gotten reservations, etc. Someone posted about the website within minutes of its launch, and Blake was able to get in contact with him and confirm its legitimacy, and book our reservations… And thank God he did! Within the next hour, people were starting to spread the word on social media and realize the Havasupai tribe just launched its first website…and it was real… after years of complaining from hikers that the permit process was impossible to deal with. We just happen to be some of the first people to find out about it. Within two hours, every permit was booked up for every single day the rest of the year.
Now, from my understanding you can still use the phone numbers to the office to reserve a spot. Permits become available for the year on Feb 1st, so if you are trying to receive a permit for Havasupai, make sure to start dialing and using the website as soon as the office opens at 9 am (MST). The more people you have one the phone or on the website the better your chances, just make sure whoever gets through is prepared to front the total cost for your group at one time. There are no refunds and no transferable reservations so be 100% sure before your make these reservations. If you do not get one right away, be patient and continue to call the office and check and see if there are any cancellations for your dates. People often make reservations and end up cancelling or not being able to go even up to a few days before your preferred hike date.
This was our first time going through the Havasupai permit process, and it was definitely a learning experience, so I am so glad to be able to write about it and pass on the things we have learned or answer any questions to anyone who is interested in pursuing a permit to this magical place! We are scheduled to make the trek in May of 2017, and we are so excited to experience this sacred land and share it with others. I cannot wait to travel through this place and even more excited to write about it and help others get there.
Havasupai was pricey, but we are confident that it will be so worth it. For our upcoming road trip through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, this was definitely our splurge. Be sure to check back in May 2017 for our Havasupai experience and picture overload!
2018 PERMIT PROCESS UPDATE:
The following information is directly from the Havasupai Tribe Website, TheOfficialHavasupaiTribe.com
"Campground reservations for all of 2018 (February 1 to November 30) started on February 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM Arizona Time.
The campground is a "camp wherever you want" campground running for over a mile on both sides of Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls in the Grand Canyon. There is a maximum of 4 Days / 3 Nights per reservation (but you are welcome to make multiple back-to-back reservations to extend your stay if those dates are still available).
Pricing for 2018 is as follows and includes all necessary permits, fees, and taxes:
One Person, 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56
One Person, 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.12
One Person, 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67
Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Holiday weekday nights (February 19, May 28, July 4, September 3, October 8), and Spring Break weekday nights (March 5-8 and 19-22) are an additional $18.34 per night.
When making a reservation, you will have the option to add the name of a person you authorize to be able to use your reservation to check-in at the Tourist Office as if they were you. The reservation is only valid if at least one of the two people named on the reservation is present at the Tourist Check-in Office in the Village of Supai (on the way to the campground) with photo ID - otherwise the reservation is NOT valid and will NOT be honored.
All reservations are paid in full at the time the reservation is made and are non-refundable and non-transferable (i.e. the individual listed on the reservation cannot transfer the reservation to another individual). Reselling of reserved permits is strictly prohibited. Any person caught reselling or buying a reserved permit may, at the discretion of the Havasupai Tribal Tourism Department, be permanently banned from Havasupai. Military and tribal discounts are processed upon check-in with a valid reservation and identification. No day hiking permitted - all visits require at least a one night reservation made prior to arrival."
Below is the ONLY official website of the Havasupai Tribe, as well as the office phone numbers.
(928) 448-2180 or (928) 448-2237
FOR INFO: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/
FOR RESERVATIONS: https://www.havasupaireservations.com/
Go With It-
Havasupai Seal Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanenglish/