"Hiking to Supai" Supai by Duke7

Supai Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 58 photos

In early October of 2007, I was finally able to make it to the base of the Grand Canyon to visit the Indian village of Supai and the amazing nearby turquoise waterfalls. Supai is inhabited by approximately 450 people from the Havasupai (people of the blue green water) tribe. To get to the village is a 1.5 mile hike down the canyon and then a 6.5 mile trek over the sand and jagged rocks of a dry creek bed. The waterfalls are another 2 miles or so beyond the Supai. The only way in and out of the canyon is by hiking, by horseback, or by taking a helicopter ride. Supai is the only village in the US where the mail is still delivered by horseback riders and the Havasupai tribe is the only tribe in the US where 100% of its people speak the native language. I have added some pictures below with descriptions for those who are interested in the trip.

The Descent

I started off my day hike from Hualapai Hilltop in the dark at 5 AM so that I could make it back by day's end. The trail was a little interesting at times but I never felt in danger despite the dark and unfamiliar conditions. I took with me in a backpack only the bare necessities (several bottles of water, trail bars, a change of clothes, and my cameras). I knew any extra weight would be felt by the time I completed my 20+ mile day hike. It is worth mentioning that I had never walked or ran over 4 miles before in my life so this adventure was either very brave or foolish.

Once I reached the bottom of the 1.5 mile trail descent into the canyon the trail took the form of a dry creek bed. The canyon started off very wide but became very narrow before reaching the clearing where the village of Supai was located. I have read and heard storied from the villagers that when it rains it can become very dangerous on the trail due to flooding. There are signs all along the trail that warn to take to higher ground in the event of rain. Fortunately I was there in cloud-free skies and the tempertures were very tolerable as well being that it was October. The creek bed was not the best footing for hiking as you were either walking in deep sand or over sharp rocks a large portion of the time. I kept watching for rattlesnakes but fortunately never came across one. The only live animals that I did see before reaching the village were numerous fluttering bats and a few stray dogs and horses.

After approximately a 6 mile hike, the canyon opens up into a clearing with numerous green trees. The trail also thins out and I got off the track a bit and ended up lost in a thicket of thorny plants. Fortunately I found my way out and located the right path to take with the help of this nifty little worn out sign. From this sign it was only a few steps until I caught my first glimpse of the blue green waters that give the Havasupai their name. I was in awe of the unique color the waters held.

The Long Hike Back

The walk back was of course up hill and much more difficult. I used every ounce of water that I took with me and nearly all of the energy I had. The worst part of the walk out was the 1.5 mile walk back up the cliff.

All in all the trip was an amazing time. Beautiful and exotic but yet still relatively near my home state of Colorado. I have to admit that I was so sore that I couldn't walk normally again and pain free for 3 days. In fact, the next day I was in Laughlin, Nevada and almost borrowed a wheelchair to get around the casino. If I was to do it again, I might camp in the canyon one night and take the helicopter ride out, but I wouldn't trade this first Supai experience for just about anything.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unique, beautiful, isolated
  • Cons:Too long a hike for most and a lack of amenities
  • Last visit to Supai: Oct 2007
  • Intro Updated Jan 22, 2008
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