Valley of Fire and Havasu Falls

December 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

PB130055Our ride in the Valley of Fire So the last time Marcelo and I came down to Las Vegas to do a hiking trip was in 2012 and said at the time that we had to come back. We had planned on hiking Havasu Falls in Arizona but due to time constraints and the weather, we decided to try and do it another time. So this was the "next time". We flew into Vegas for just the one night but since it was a long weekend, hotel prices were exorbitant. We ended up staying at the Long Horn Hotel and Casino off the strip and yes, it was as tacky as it sounds. The good part was I could play penny slots and $2 blackjack and not lose my shirt on the first night. The next morning, we hit up the IHOP for breakfast and Walmart for supplies before heading out on the road in our very practical Dodge Challenger rental car. Since we had the whole day to get to Peach Springs, Arizona we decided to check out the Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas. I actually had low expectations about visiting the park but was pleasantly surprised and have to say that it is well worth checking out. You can do the whole park in a long day and even camp there if you wanted to. We saw most of the park and were leaving just as it was getting dark when we noticed the supermoon rising over the mountains. It was great timing as we pulled over and took a few opportune photos. It was then time for the long drive to Peach Springs and prepare for Havasu Falls the next day.

PB130056Valley of Fire

PB130077Hiking in the Valley of Fire

PB130133Supermoon in the Valley of Fire PB140180Supermoon before sunrise in Peach Springs, Route 66 PB140180Peach Springs on Route 66

The next morning was an early morning as we had an hour drive to the Havasu Falls trailhead and had to be there by 8AM. We didn't get into Peach Springs till almost 1AM the night before and then realized that we had also lost an hour as Arizona was an hour ahead! So with very little sleep, we made our way to the trailhead. At the top of the trailhead, we met Sebastian who had our permits and after introductions were soon on our way, through the switchbacks to the bottom of the canyon. There is only 3 ways to get to the village of Supai - hike, horseback or helicopter. Suffice it to say, we opted for the hiking option. It took us about 3 hrs to get to the village along a dry river bed through the red walls of Hualapai Canyon. It was a relatively easy hike as it was mostly downhill and we arrived at the village just before noon. Our permits were for the hike and the lodge so we checked in before having lunch. We ate at one of the two cafes in the village. It was standard fare, burgers and fries - there wasn't exactly gourmet options in the village. The village is situated along the Havasu River and after lunch we hiked down the river towards Havasu Falls and the campground. The campground was about an hour down river and we made our way past Navajo Falls to Havasu Falls and the campground. The campground was massive and spanned all the way down to Mooney Falls were we stopped for the day. In order to descend to the base of the falls, you had to climb down the cliff face via a series of chains and ladders that led you 100m vertically down to the bottom. It was getting late in the day so we opted to return to the village for the night. There wasn't much to do in the village at night but surprisingly there was free wifi throughout the entire village so at least we were connected although some people would say that is a bad thing...

PB140216Hualapai Canyon PB140216Helicopter in Supai Village PB140216Lodge in Supai Village PB140216Havasu Creek PB140216Havasu Falls PB140216Havasu Falls PB140216Havasu Falls PB140216My high school posing in front of Havasu Falls PB140216Sebastian, Marcelo and me in front of Havasu Falls

Marcelo and I decided to stay another night to further explore down the river. Luckily there were cancellations at the lodge so we opted to stay given how hard it was to get here (physically and logistically) and who knows if we would ever get back. Looking back, I'm really glad that we did stay, as Havasu Falls is one of the most beautiful and unique hikes I have ever done. If you can get past the frustrations of getting permits and dealing with that process then it is well worth it. We headed back down the river and past Havasu Falls to Mooney Falls. We descended the slippery system of chains and ladders to the base of the falls. It was such a fantastic sight, from the beauty of the falls to the colour and warmness of the water. We took off our shoes and waded across the river to a semi submerged picnic table to enjoy the view and have an early lunch. The water was quite warm and I think if the outside temperature had been warm enough we would have gone swimming. I can only imagine the hordes of people here during the summer heat. It was a great afternoon and after lunch we bade farewell to Sebastian as he had a long hike back to the parking lot still ahead of him. Marcelo and I continued down river after lunch with the intention of reaching Beaver Falls, the last major waterfall before Havasu river intersected the Colorado River. After a couple more river crossings, we realised if we wanted to reach Beaver Falls, we wouldn't make it back to the village before dark. So we opted to hike another 30 minutes before turning around and heading back. There were several "Little Beaver Falls" that we came across that we were told looked the same just smaller than the real Beaver Falls. So we didn't feel too bad about not making it all the way. It was late in the afternoon and we were lucky to spot a male and female big horn sheep grazing near the trail. They seemed quite accustomed to people as the we walked right past them and they didn't even move. After another night of cafe food we retired to our room for the evening as we had the usual early start the next morning.

PB150327Navajo Falls PB150339Descending Mooney Falls PB150351Descending Mooney Falls PB150378Picnic at Mooney Falls PB150392Mooney Falls IMG_3473Crossing Havasu River PB150428Crossing Havasu River

PB150414Little Beaver Falls PB150464Big horn sheep PB150486Ascending Mooney Falls

The next morning, we ate at the cafe one last time before the long hike back to the car. It took us 3 hrs to get to the village but that was mostly downhill. Now we had the ascent up the cliff to the parking lot to look forward to. It took us approximately 4 hrs to get to the top which wasn't actually that bad. Once at the top, we took a short rest before getting in the car for another travel day. We travelled east to Flagstaff where we stopped for a nice pasta dinner. After dinner we pushed onward north through Page and into Utah where we finally arrived in Kanab.

PB160496Hiking back through the canyon to the parking lot PB160500Hiking back to the hilltop and parking lot PB160500Mule train heading back to Supai Village PB160505Hiking back to the parking lotThe parking lot is the top right of the photo! You can just see the helicopter blades. PB160505Made it to the top! PB16050575 km in 3 days!

75 km in 3 days!! On to Utah!



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