A remote, southwestern corner of the Grand Canyon hides a gem. The trail head at Hualapai Hilltop is 68 miles from Route 66, on the Havasupai Reservation. This 10 mile hike to Havasu Falls remains our all-time favorite, and tramping it with great friends Connie and Colleen only makes it better.
Nowadays, you can make a reservation on the reservation for a room at the lodge, where two beds and a shower provide comfort. Camping is also available right along the river, but our group opts for lodge beds. Back in my backpacking tent pitching days, this destination provided not only the best reward for a hard day’s work, but a spiritual draw that I could feel but not understand.
“Havasuw Baaja” means “People of the Blue-Green Water.” About 500 Native Americans of this tribe call Supai their home.
Horses, helicopters and humans are the only way to bring supplies in and out of the village.
After an initial two miles of switchbacks, the trail follows a dry (most of the year) wash through a red-rock canyon along a “civilized” slope. Who would expect to meet a clan of Amish folks from Indiana on this trail?
Eight miles later you reach Supai village, complete with a modest store and café that offers delights, including fry bread with toppings.
Time for a moon pie birthday celebration for Marilynn, complete with red and white wine! Shh…no alcohol permitted on the reservation. (A box of wine feels like a bowling ball with edges in your backpack)
A few miles from the village we veer off trail to visit Navajo Falls.
Then, the jewel of Havasu Falls reveals itself from a hole in the canyon. No matter how many times you may have seen this, the experience feels like a first.
A walk through the campground brings us to Mooney Falls.
Follow the creek for about 10 miles, and meet the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, if you’re really ambitious.
Inside the abandoned gold mines, dark walls sparkle with quartz crystals.
Bob Marley and the message/prayer of reggae music transcended distant lands to connect with the souls of the Havasupai Indians. So much so, that Bob Marley planned a visit to this remote community prior to his untimely death. However, his mother, Cedella Booker, along with the “Wailers” organist, Tyrone Downic, joined the film crew and visited the village in the early eighties. A spiritual reggae festival had been going on annually each August since then. I’m not sure of the current status of the gathering, and presume that it would be a private matter.
Havasu Falls will always be a special place for Mare and I. We are fortunate to share the opportunity with friends. Thank you, Havasuw Baaja – “People of the Blue-Green Water.” Ron Mitchell
Stunning photos! Your secret about the wine is safe with me 🙂
Ron…..it was truly a magical place. Thank you and Marilyn for sharing this place with Connie and I.
To more adventures in the future…until then, take care and stay happy!
Special occasion, Jenny, you know…kills the pain too. ,
Colleen, you guys are the best!
What a marvelous trip in your corner of the world, of course with great photos and prose to describe. I hope I can join next time, or well, I just need to get myself down there regardless. Wondering what the next adventure is on your list. Happy trails!
You will love this hike, Jill. I’ve got a feeling it will happen. Our next adventure is in the works for South Africa…trying to make that one happen.
Good grief, that’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing, I want to go there now. The Bob Marley bit was interesting too. I just ate some fry bread for lunch today (I live on a rez). Thanks again for the great post
My pleasure! Doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.
Catching up with reading after completing the Semester from Hell and I’ve gotta say … I love your blog, Mitch. It’s the perfect mix of narrative and photos and it totally WORKS. Kudos to your chief photographer, too. It’s like an extension of the great chemistry of the people behind it.
Looking forward to vicariously going to Africa with you guys.
Thank you for your nice words, Marti. We’re taking off this evening for the 22-hour flight to Cape Towne…gonna dig out some sleeping pills for sure!
Hailey is the only member of our family who’s been down there, and I have always wanted to go. (just not when it’s too hot) Want to raft the canyon as well. Hiked Sedona yesterday and was reminded of the Canyon on many a turn. Thanks for showing some backyard beauty.
Get down there, Julie. You won’t regret it! We have an amazing beautiful country, for sure.
Your story regarding Bob Marley inaccurate. Bob Marley never visited Havasupai. He died just prior to a planned trip. Shortly after Marley’s mother and other family members visited in 1982 and sang Bob Marley songs. What is true is that there is a deep spiritual connection between Native Americans; especially with the Supai Tribe. They are big Reggae (Marley) fans and listen to this type of music.
Thank you, Melissa. You are correct, and I shall make appropriate edits to my post. I saw the photos of Bob Marley down there, and more than one person told me that he performed for them more than once. Upon further research, you are correct that it was Bob Marley’s mother who visited, along with “The Wailers” organist. I guess that I got so caught up in the magic of the setting that I believed the hearsay quite easily. Thanks again for pointing this out to me.
I have a request – written on the Havasupai Canyon wall is a large carefully written “pictograph” of “Marley” – do you have a photo of it as I cannot find mine. Has anyone else seen this? Please let me know. Thank you,
Sorry, Don but I was never even aware of the “modern pictograph”.