Waterfalls of Havasupai

Havasupai Falls – The Waterfalls of the Havasupai Reservation

The Havasupai Native American Reservation, located within Havasu Canyon in Arizona is a picturesque area known for its six waterfalls. These waterfalls, with the exception of the dry Navajo Falls, are fed via a tributary of the Colorado River known as the Havasu River. These waters are famous for their blue-green color and their near constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The reservation is filled with dense vegetation making it an ideal place to visit for anyone who is physically fit enough to navigate the rugged terrain found throughout the canyon. The first major waterfall one encounters when entering the canyon through the small native town of Supai is Navajo Falls.

Prior to a massive flash flood in August 2008 which altered the creek bed resulting in the diversion of the river’s waters, Navajo Falls dropped its water from a height of 70 feet. Due to this flood the waterfall was rendered dry. However, the new path of the river’s waters naturally formed two smaller waterfalls known as Upper Navajo Falls (also known as New Navajo Falls) and Lower Navajo Falls (also known as Rock Falls). It was a waterfall known for possessing several water chutes and a few safe cliff diving locations. New Navajo Falls stands at a height of about 50 feet, releasing its water through several chutes, much like its predecessor. Accessing this waterfall is no easy task as it surrounded by dense vegetation. Approximately one-sixth of a mile away is where Lower Navajo Falls is located. This waterfall is quite unique as it is an incredible 100 feet wide while only being 30 feet tall. This large water curtain creates a pool at its bottom that is ideal for large groups of swimmers. While descending further into the canyon, hikers come upon the second waterfall known as Havasu Falls.

Located about a quarter of a mile downstream from Lower Navajo Falls is Havasu Falls. This famous waterfall is the most frequently visited when compared to others found within the Havasupai Reservation. It is noted for having only one water chute that is 120 feet high. However, this waterfall often changes its appearance as it sometimes splits its single chute into two only to change back again. Its cliff is almost completely vertical, making it treacherous to hike down. Havasu Falls is perfect for swimmers as it possesses several safe pools existing behind the water’s fall and all around it. Although, prior to the early 1990s, when large floods swept through the area there were many more pools. Recently, a manmade damn was constructed in an effort to save the remaining pools, a major attraction for tourists. This waterfall has undergone many natural changes over the years. In fact, before a gigantic flood of 1910 it was referred to as Bridal Veil Falls. In those days it had many water chutes running across a wide curtain as opposed to the single chute seen currently. Approximately 1.5 miles further downstream, or 2.5 miles from Supai is where one finds the awe inspiring waterfall known as Mooney Falls.

Mooney Falls is the next waterfall visitors will encounter as they continue their trek downstream. It is a particularly dangerous cliff to climb as is evidenced by its name. In 1882 James Mooney, while heroically attempting to save the life of his fellow miner tumbled to his death; his companion incredibly survived his injuries. Of all the waterfalls found on the Havasupai Reservation, Mooney Falls boasts the highest water drop of an astounding 190 feet. It is known for its vivid blue waters that become even bluer over time in the deep pool below. The pool is divided into two parts as there is an island located near the center of it. Due to the height of the cliff, those brave enough for cliff diving get the biggest thrill in comparison to all the other waterfalls in the canyon. Those continuing downstream for roughly three miles will reach the fourth waterfall referred to as Beaver Falls. This waterfall shares nothing in common with any other found on the reservation.

Beaver Falls is so different in appearance many argue that it does not qualify for being called a waterfall. It is a series of short cascading miniature falls found in close proximity to each other. However, prior to the flood of 1910, the waterfall had but one fall with a height of fifty feet. It is surrounded by the densest vegetation found in the canyon, making it the most difficult waterfall to access. The trail leading to Beaver Falls is about 3.5 miles in length; it is replete with several small bridges, large boulders, and dangerous terrain. Only those hikers with the most experience are seen visiting this area.

In conclusion, the Havasupai Native American Reservation, found inside Havasu Canyon, Arizona is a fine example of beautiful, natural land that as remained largely unaffected by human interference. Its waterfalls, consisting of five that are still flowing and one that is dry, share many characteristics while also having many differences. Visiting these waterfalls requires outstanding hiking skills and the ability to find comfort while having no modern amenities. It makes for an exhilarating experience that is ideal for those who enjoy hiking while being close to unbridled nature.