So you’ve seen photos of the exclusive and beautiful Havasu waterfalls and now you want to go? I highly recommend it, and I had only gone camping once and never backpacked properly before in my life. However, getting a reservation can be a bit more complicated than you expect. So as someone who did it last year, here’s everything you need to know before you sign on tomorrow morning to make a reservation!
Make the reservation ASAP!
I underestimated how tough it was going to be to get reservations at the campground last year. Before Feb. 1 comes around, make sure to create an account. On Feb. 1, make sure to sign in to make a reservation at exactly 8am MST (10am EST) — that’s when they open and they will go fast!
Some people have gone a year or two without getting reservations. And honestly, I think they just gave up when their dates looked blocked off or the booking didn’t go through after the first 1-2 times they tried.
Also, experiment with browsers. I remember one being more finicky than the other but can’t remember which — so try it out with Chrome and Safari to see which responds faster!
You have to be relentless.
My fiance gave up after a few minutes, and I opened my phone to the page and had my laptop open and was refreshing on both like a maniac. You’ll see the calendar update in real time but it won’t be consistent each time you attempt a booking because of the number of people trying at the same time. Just keep trying.
When to go?
You have to be flexible. Originally, we decided a weekend we knew we wanted to go. We had it all worked out to go after a wedding in Denver in September, but things didn’t go as planned. I had to make a game time decision when I found three nights in late October.
My suggestion is to pick a general time of year. Ideally, April-May and September-October are best because they are cooler months but not cold. The summer and winter can be brutal because of extreme temperatures, but just take appropriate precautions and you’ll be okay. There isn’t any shade on the hike either and even though we went in late October, we were dealing with ~90 degree hikes during the day and ~30 degree nights.
Maybe you’ll get the dates you want, but make sure to have talked through backup plans just in case!
How many nights?
We booked our trip for three nights, but we left after the second night. Why? Because we had done everything and felt ready to go.
I suggest planning for two nights. The first day is the 10-mile hike in, past the Navajo falls and enjoying the Havasu falls next to the campground, and the second day can be the hike (a total of 7 miles) to two other waterfalls. Then, leave the third day. I’ll expand on the itinerary in a follow-up post, but overall, aim for two nights. They don’t allow day hiking because of the distance/safety and one night seems brutal for the physical work you have to put in to get to the campground just to do it again the next day!
After you click dates, you’ll have a couple of minutes (I can’t remember how long the timer is) to finish the booking — ie enter your information. It’s roughly $75 per person/per night, and you have to pay upfront when booking. Also, make sure to put the right names (or just use one name), because whoever’s name is on the booking has to be there with ID to sign in to the campground. Don’t put someone’s name who may not end up going because you can’t transfer the name after you book.
Try to be quick when you get to this form; just because you’re at this page doesn’t mean your spot is guaranteed, and sometimes you’ll get kicked back to the beginning after trying to finish booking.
Seriously, don’t give up.
Just keep trying every time you get dates that look good. It probably took me about 40 minutes total to get and successfully book a reservation, but I was relentless. You got this! Good luck!
Follow me @sahajkohli or subscribe to this blog to get a notification about the follow-up post on what to expect, how to get there, and how to pack once you get a reservation! Will go live in a few weeks!