How to Get Havasupai Reservations (Havasu Falls Permits)
If you are planning a trip to the South Rim side of Grand Canyon National Park in the USA, you may have heard of the five Havasupai Falls. The most popular of which is Havasu Falls, known for its beautiful blue color. However, these falls are located within an Indian reservation run by the Havasupai Tribe. You’ll need at either Havasupai Lodge or Havasupai Campground reservations in order to visit, but reservations are hard to come by. Find everything you need to know in order to get Havasupai reservations!
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- About Reservations
- Havasupai Lodge Reservations
- Havasupai Campground Reservations
- Additional Information and Resources
Havasupai falls reservations, and the associated Havasu Falls hiking permit, give you access to the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which includes the Village of Supai as well as the Havasupai Waterfalls (Navajo Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls). Those who show up without a havasupai falls permit with either be turned away or charged double. Since it’s an 8 mile hike one way from Hualapai Hilltop (the parking lot), you’d hate to hike all the way in, be turned away, and then have to hike 8 miles back.
Due to weather conditions, you are not allowed to just visit Havasu falls and the Havasupai Indian Reservation as a day trip. You must stay overnight at least 1 night, and are allowed to stay a maximum of 3 nights (4 days).
For reservations, you have two different options: Havasupai Lodge or Havasupai Campground.
Note: Havasupai Lodge and Havasupai Campground are run by separate departments within the Havasupai Tourism Office. This means the departments use completely different computer systems and have different phone numbers. This means that you cannot call the Havasu Falls Lodge to make Havasu Falls camping reservations and vice versa.
Havasupai Lodge Reservations
Havasu Falls Lodge reservations for the entire year typically opens June 1st of the prior year. Therefore, if you plan on visiting Havasu Falls in 2020, reservations for the lodge will likely begin June 1st, 2019. Spring and Fall dates usually go quickly since it will be warm enough to enjoy the area but not yet excruciatingly hot. Summer dates may be available longer due to people wanting to avoid the extreme temperatures. Similarly, winter dates may also be available since the water at the waterfalls will likely be too cold to swim in.
When planning my trip to the Grand Canyon for 2019, I didn’t realize that reservations for the lodge opened so early in advance. I didn’t try getting reservations for the lodge until the beginning of December 2018 (six months after reservations first opened). By that time, there were only openings for two days at the end of November, and a few dates in December. All other months were completely booked.
Currently, reservations for the Lodge can only be made over the phone. The lodge has two different phone numbers you can call: (928) 448-211 and (928) 448-2201.
If you don’t get a hold of somebody, keep trying. Chances are, you will either get a busy signal, or, it will ring-and-ring-and-ring until you eventually hear a beep, some white noise, and then a hang up. Personally, when I was trying to get a hold of the lodge, I just put headphones in while I was at work and alternated calling the two numbers. I just let it ring in the background while I worked. Once I heard the hang up sound, I dialed the other number and went back to working while it rang. I did this for the better part of a day before I finally got an answer. Other people on the Havasupai Facebook Page said that it took several days or longer before they were finally able to get a hold of somebody on the phone. Don’t give up.
Once you finally do get a hold of somebody, they’ll ask you what dates you would like to make a reservation for. Then, you’ll be asked to provide your first and last name, mailing address, and phone number. You will also be asked to put down a deposit for each of the nights. When I called and tried to make a reservation for two nights, it was a $40 deposit per night for a total of $80. However, prices are subject to change (the deposit price the lady told me on the phone was different from what was on their website). Also, keep in mind that this deposit is non-refundable.
Prices According to the Havasupai Tribe Website for Havasupai Lodge Reservations 2019:
- Room: $175.00 per night
- Deposit: $60.50 per room / per night
- Entrance Fee $90.00 per person
Havasupai Campground Reservations
Havasu Falls campground reservations for the entire year typically open on February 1st of the same year. Therefore, if you plan on visiting Havasu Falls in 2020, reservations for the campground will likely begin February 1st, 2020.
Unlike the Lodge, reservations for the Campground can be completed online at https://www.havasupaireservations.com/.
Typically havasupai falls campground reservations open on February 1st, but that date can change. Before reservations open, you can visit the havasupai reservation website and join their mailing list in order to get notified of when reservations will open. You can also create an account in advance as well (more on this below).
Prices for 2019 havasu falls campground permits are listed below. However, these may change at any given time, and as Havasu Falls increases in popularity, as will the prices.
- $100 per person per weekday night
- $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)
*Starting in 2019, all havasupai falls camping reservations will be for 4 days / 3 nights. This means that the total price for your reservation will be between $300 and $375 per person, depending on how many nights of the reservation are weekend nights.
If you have any questions about campground reservations, there are four different numbers you can call:
- (928) 448-2180
- (928) 448-2237
- (928) 448-2141
- (928) 448-2121
If you don’t get a hold of somebody, keep trying. Chances are, you with either get a busy signal, or, it will ring-and-ring-and-ring until you eventually hear a beep, some white noise, and then a hang up.
Creating an Account with the Havasupai Online Reservation System
You can typically create an account on the reservation website about a month before reservations open (for 2019 Havasupai reservations, account registration opened on January 8th, 2019). It is suggested that you create an account before reservations open, but you don’t have to create the account right when it opens on January 8th. Actually, I recommend waiting a few days after it opens, just to make sure all the kinks are worked out. I tried to create my account on January 8th, 2019, right when it opened, and ran into more than a few bugs.
The bugs I experienced during account creation for the 2019 season have since been fixed. However, I have included a description of some of the issues I ran into as well as the workaround for them (if I found one), just in case similar issues arrive for future seasons.
Bug #1: Website Crashing
Unfortunately, this is a rather common error. It happened during the 2018 online reservation process, and it happened quite a bit during the 2019 season. Sometimes you’ll get a “Site could not be reached (connection time out)” error. Other times you might get a 502 Bad Gateway or 504 Gateway Timeout error.
When too many people are trying to visit the same website at the same time, the website can’t handle it and simply crashes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a workaround for this issue either. Since the account registration isn’t time sensitive (as long as you get it done before 8:00AM Arizona Time on February 1st), I would wait and try again later.
Bug #2: Can’t Create Username/Password
For the few minutes the website was up, when I submitted my email and desired password, it displayed an error “shared user class has no method handling post/signup.” I never found a work around for this bug. If you are seeing this error, my only advice for you is just to wait and try again later. I waited about half an hour before trying again — and it was successful.
Bug #3: Email Confirmation Link Doesn’t Work
After successfully submitting my email and password, I was told that a confirmation email had been sent to me. However, when I clicked on the link, a new browser tab opened and gave me a 404 Page Not Found error. I tried clicking the link in the email, I tried copy and pasting the link in the email into my address bar, and nothing worked. Then…. the site went down. If you tried visiting the site, the browser just displayed an error message that the site could not be reached (connection timeout).
On closer examination of the URL, I realized that there was a slight error with the URL that was included in an email (my background in website development helped me catch it). There was an apostrophe and colon symbol ( ‘; ) in the URL that shouldn’t have been there. Once I removed that from the URL, the page loaded just fine.
URL in Email: http://havasupaireservations.com/’;public/verify/1a2b3c4d5e6f7g8h9i0j
Correct URL: http://havasupaireservations.com/public/verify/1a2b3c4d5e6f7g8h9i0j
Bug #4: Next Screen Not Displaying
After you validate your email address, you’ll be prompted to fill out additional information. On the first page, I was asked to enter basic information such as my name, phone number, and address. I was able to continue with the account creation process without any errors, but other people who went through the process ran into another issue. After they inputted their personal information, when they click the “Save and Continue” button, it seemed to reload the same page they had currently been on (asking for personal information), except the input boxes where they had entered their info was blank. However, if they then clicked the refresh button in the browser, it would then display the next registration page (asking for your credit card information) like it was supposed to do.
Making a Reservation with the Havasupai Online Reservation System
Let me preface this by saying: words cannot describe how unbelievably frustrating, stressful, and nerve-wracking this process was for me. Fingers crossed that the system is improved for next year, and you won’t have any of the problems I did for the 2019 season. However, from what I heard about the 2018 season, it doesn’t sound like it changed much since the previous year. If it doesn’t, here’s what you can expect….
The Home/Dashboard Page
When you visit the Havasupai Reservations website, you’ll have the option to create an account or sign in with an existing one. Assuming you created an account ahead of time, you’ll want to go ahead and sign into your account. I highly suggest doing this at the very least 15 minutes before reservations open for the season. I had a meeting at work right before reservations opened, so I actually opened the website several hours before hand, logged in, and just let it sit there until it was time for reservations open.
Before reservations actually open, you’ll see a clock displaying the current time in Arizona, another clock displaying your current local time, and a countdown until reservations open. Beneath that, you’ll see a greyed out box stating “Make a Campground Reservation.”
Once the countdown reaches zero, the page is supposed to automatically refresh and the button to make a reservation is supposed to become active (allowing you to click on it). However, when we were trying to get reservations, the page didn’t automatically refresh. When we manually refreshed the page, we found that the website had crashed (surprise, surprise). We kept getting 502 Bad Gateway and 504 Gateway Timeout errors. Eventually, with enough refreshing, we were able to get the page to load and click the button.
Be Prepared to Refresh
Several hours after Havasu reservations for the 2019 season opened (and long after they were all sold out), there was a post in the Havasupai and Havasu Falls Facebook Group that they had issues with “several massive bot networks pounding the reservation system,” which may at least partially explain why there were so many issues. For the non-techies out there, a bot network or “botnet” is basically a group of computers (usually thousands of them) that are used to attack another computer/website/company. For this reason, almost everybody had a ridiculously hard time getting into the website to make a reservation. Hopefully, they’ll be prepared for something like this in the years to come and you won’t run into this issue.
If not, be prepared to refresh the web page…. A lot. On occasion you may see the 502 and 504 Gateways errors I mentioned above, but more than likely the error you’ll see most often is “We’re experiencing unusually high volume” or something along those lines. If you see this error, your best bet is just to hit the refresh button in your browser and try again.
Selecting the Number of People
On the first page of the reservation process, you’ll be asked to select the number of people in the reservation.
Get comfortable seeing this page. Whenever the website failed because it was overloaded with people, it would bump us back to this page. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even make it to the next page. It just showed us the “unusual volume” error right after clicking the continue button. Even worse, we sometimes received an “invalid token” error — another bug with the website.
With any luck, you’ll be taken to the next page. If not, be patient. Out of all the times I clicked the “Continue” button on this page, I probably only successfully made it to the next page about 10% of the time. The rest of the time I received the “unusual volume” or “invalid token” error.
If you manage to make it to this page, congratulations! But don’t get too excited just yet, especially if the dates you are interested in are towards the end of the year.
On this page, you’ll select the start date of your reservation (the day you want to arrive at Havasu Falls). Dates in black are “available” while dates in grey are “unavailable.” I put those words in quotes because availability is constantly changing. You can click on a date in black, but then you’ll get an error in red below the calendar informing you that “Your selection is not available.” You could click on a date in gray and find out that it had become available since your calendar was first loaded.
One thing to keep in mind is that you do not need to find four consecutive dates in black in order to make a reservation. If there is a start date that is black, it means there is an opening for the following three days as well (since all reservations are 4 days long). When you click on a date in black, the following three days will automatically be selected for you.
Once you select a date, the spot will be held for you for 2 minutes, giving you time to complete your reservation. If you don’t finish the reservation within those 2 minutes, the spot opens back up for somebody else to grab, so it’s incredibly important that you have your account and payment information filled out ahead of time (you can do this under your account settings if you didn’t do it when you created your account).
After you’ve made your date selection, make sure to confirm the arrival date, departing date, and overall price. If everything looks good, click the “Continue” button (and hope the site doesn’t crash).
Confirming Account and Payment Information
This is technically the last step in the reservation process. Here, you can confirm all the information within the reservation, such as the name on the reservation as well as your address. Keep in mind that none of this info can be changed once the reservation has been submitted, so take a second to make sure it’s all correct (but keep an eye on the timer for how much time you have left before you lose your selection).
Here is also where you’ll select your payment method. If you entered your credit or debit card before hand, then you’ll see your card pre-selected here, meaning you don’t have to do anything extra here. All that’s left is to check that you agree to the Terms and Conditions and then click the “Buy Reservation” button.
It is still possible for the website to crash here (giving you the “unusual volume” error), before the payment can go through. This is the point where you cross your fingers and hope with everything you’ve got that it goes through and doesn’t crash. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself back at the “Select the number of people” page, and that’s the worst feeling ever. Trust me, I’m talking from personal experience here.
Join the Pack Mule Waiting List
If you manage to make it to this page, you can relax (and celebrate!). Your payment and reservation has gone through, and you can expect to receive a confirmation email soon. All that’s left is to determine whether or not you want to be put on the waitlist for reserving a pack mule.
One pack mule roundtrip between Hilltop Trailhead and the campground costs $400 USD and can carry 4 bags (maximum 32 pounds each).
For the animal lovers out there concerned about the pack mules’ welfare, I don’t have any first-hand knowledge around their treatment. According to the reservation website, there will be significantly fewer pack mules available “due to significantly higher standards for Pack Mule care and welfare.” However, I don’t have any more information than that, so I leave it up to you to research and decide whether or not to use the pack mule service.
The last page is simply informational, recommending additional steps for you to take in order to prepare for your trip to Havasu Falls. It includes recommendations for travel insurance, a list of hotels near Hilltop Trailhead, ideas for things to bring with you and more.
You’ve got your reservations. Now you just have to prepare for the trip!
Tips for Increasing Your Chances of Getting Havasupai Reservations
At the end of the day, a lot of getting Havasupai reservations comes down to nothing but luck. However, there are a few ways to increase your odds.
I can’t stress this one enough (maybe I should more explanation points to the title?). The best way to increase your odds of getting Havasupai reservations is to be flexible with what dates you go. Sure, my mom and I had specific dates we preferred, but when it boiled down to it, we would have been happy with any dates in late summer/fall.
• Reservations in September, October or August (in that order)
• Reservations beginning on a Tuesday or Monday
We wanted to go when it would be warm, but not unbearably hot. August sort of borders on unbearably hot, but we figured we would deal with it if we couldn’t get reservations in September or October.
Reservations starting on a Tuesday worked best with the rest of our Grand Canyon itinerary, but I wouldn’t have minded rearranging our itinerary to fit in a trip to Havasu Falls. Mondays were our second choice, only because it would mean all four days of our reservation would be a weekday, making it cheaper than if we were to go over the weekend. Plus, we figured most people would be trying to get weekend dates so we might have better luck going for the weekdays.
Having this decided ahead of time made the chaotic reservation process at least a little bit easier, and gave us LOTS of options for Havasupai reservation dates. If you only have one or two specific dates in mind, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself scrambling to decide on a third (or fourth or fifth) option, or simply not getting reservations for the year.
As I’ve mentioned a few times now, it’s not uncommon for the website to have major issues. It’s not surprising giving how many people are all visiting the website at the same time trying to make reservations. Sometimes, we couldn’t get the website to load at all. Other times, we would make it partially through the reservation process before we would get an error stating “We’re experiencing unusually high volume” and have to restart.
I had actually made it all the way to the point where I had selected dates, confirmed the reservation info and my payment information, hit the “submit” button, and then received the “high volume” error. At first I prayed that my payment and reservation had gone through before receiving the error, but when I didn’t receive a confirmation email and there wasn’t a charge on my card, I knew it had failed, and I had to start over.
We tried over and over and over again FOR 2 HOURS before we finally managed to successfully make it all the way through the reservation process. Be patient and keep trying.
Take Off Work That Day
My mom and I had both known that the 2019 reservations were going to open while we were at work. We were aware that there would be a ridiculous number of people trying to get reservations, but we were also operating under the rumor that the 2018 season had sold out in under 15 minutes. Regardless of whether or not we got reservations, we had expected it all to be over within 15 minutes, half an hour max. We simply blocked out a small section on our work calendar so nobody bothered us. Our bosses wouldn’t mind if we took a few minutes to try and get these reservations. We would just take a short lunch or something.
We were very wrong. As I mentioned before, we attempted to make reservations over and over again for 2 hours. It took a significant chunk of time out of our day. Thankfully our bosses didn’t mind because they’re amazing and knew we would make up for it. However, if I had known then what I knew now, I would have taken the day off work, or at least half a day. I had a hard time focusing at work in the time leading up to reservations opening. I was so nervous and jittery. Even after it was over and we had our reservations, I had a hard time relaxing, and I was so mentally drained that I had a hard time getting through the rest of the day.
Get Friends and Family to Help
Another way of increasing your chances of getting Havasupai Reservations is to have multiple people trying to get the reservations. It was only my mom and I who were planning on visiting Havasu Falls, but there were four of us trying to get the reservation. The two who weren’t planning on going were just going to fill in my name or my mom’s name for the reservation (since the reservation info can’t be edited and there’s a fee for transferring).
As I mentioned before, whether or not you actually get through the reservation process just comes down to luck. The more people you have trying to get through, the better the odds.
What if I Don’t Get Reservations?
This question definitely plagued me quite a bit in the days leading up to Havasupai reservations opening. On the bright side, 2019 is the first year that they offered an official way to transfer your reservation and get a majority of your money back. If somebody can’t make it, they have the option of transferring their reservation to somebody else (where in the past reservations had been non-refundable and non-transferable). A couple of days after reservations open, the transfer website will go live and you can begin looking for possible openings.
Alternatively, you could opt to do a guided tour of Havasupai. Guided tours not only include all the necessary permits and camping reservations, but they also include all of the camping gear you would need as well as hotel reservations for the night before the hike in and the night of the hike into Havasupai. Given how much is included in the guided tour, the high price tag is totally worth it.
Additional Information and Resources
Want to know more about Havasu Falls and the Havasupai people? Check out these books:
- 2019 Guide to Havasupai and Havasu Falls
- Exploring Havasupai: A Guide to the Heart of the Grand Canyon
- I Am the Grand Canyon: The Story of the Havasupai People
- Grand Canyon Trail Guide for Havasupai and Havasu Falls
Still have questions? Want to get to know other people who are going or have previously been to Havasu Falls? Check out these Facebook Groups:
- Havasupai and Havasu Falls
- Havasupai Falls
- Backpacking Havasu Falls
- Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon Hikers
Have questions or problems with the website or your reservation?
Send an email to Support@HavasupaiReservations.com