We hung around Mooney Falls too long before continuing our journey down Havasu Creek to Beaver Falls. The trail thus far into Havasu has been well defined and easy to discern. However, the path leading away from Mooney Falls is narrow, splintered, and initially hard to follow. We were told by others that the “high road” which is the trail onto higher ground went nowhere and that we were better to enter into the creek a short distance down from Mooney Falls. Either way, hiking Beaver Falls is often through Havasu Creek so a good pair of water shoes are highly recommended.
Shortly through the canyon along the creek, there is another smaller 30’ waterfall located on the left. It is very beautiful and different from the massive waterfalls we had previously encountered on this journey to Havasu. We hiked the creek bed through this section before exiting the creek to round a smaller 4’ waterfall. We relocated the trail just in time to cross back through the creek and onto a steep section of the trail consisting of mud and dirt. The path crosses through a wooded area before once again finding the creek and crossing through it.
The Valley Inside the Canyon
This time the trail climbs away from the creek and into a type of valley inside the canyon. Lots of low shrubberies surrounded by the towering red cliffs. The path through this section is over a mile long and while scenic the only point of note is when the trail comes to a dried-up wash where a makeshift bridge has been constructed. The bridge looks like little more than plywood that was thrown together and laid across. I cautiously stepped out and thought that this was at best capable of ferrying one person at a time safely across the gap.
Hiking the Creek Instead of the Valley
After a mile or so away from Havasu Creek the trail once again winds its way back and once again crosses through it. I was later told that some people hiked the creek instead of the valley route and that it was a better way to go. I can’t say for sure that is the case since we didn’t go that direction. There are a lot of travertine obstacles in Havasu Creek so it is hard to believe that it would be easier. Either way, the path climbs out of the creek here and onto the other side.
The Ladder Section
This is where the area known as the ladder section begins. It is a steep climb up that at times uses ladders. It eventually leads to a ledge on the canyon wall. The section isn’t terribly difficult but can be slow when waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. There is one section just beyond a palm tree (yes, in the canyon) that is the most difficult section. It can be a little technical but it is nothing when compared with the climb down to Mooney Falls.
The Beaver Falls Ranger
Shortly after the trail levels out on the ledge above the ladders, it will pass by a ranger’s hut where the ranger once again took our names. The Supai people have rangers throughout the canyon who periodically stop hikers to take reservation information. If someone goes missing this is a good way to determine where they were last seen.
The Final Descent to Beaver Falls
After the ranger hut, the terraced cascades of Beaver Falls come into view in the canyon below. It is another descent via several ladders before we arrived at the cool blue waters. Beaver Falls, in my opinion, is the most unique and beautiful of the major falls in the Havasupai area. That being said the distance and poor construction of the trail make it the most challenging to reach.
The travertine terraces along the Havasu Creek as well as the rich blue color in the water are created by a high concentration of lime in the area. At Beaver Falls the terraces are perfection and a great spot to swim in the deep pools. As we arrived very late in the day we didn’t want to linger too long. The way back is the way in which we had arrived and I didn’t want to do the tunnel section at Mooney Falls via a headlamp. Still, that being said the benefit of arriving late was that we ended up with the place entirely to ourselves. By the time we crawled back to the ranger station above Beaver Falls, we hadn’t seen another soul for almost over an hour. It was so peaceful in comparison to the zoo that we had arrived to a short two hours prior.
The Colorado River
It should be noted here that the Havasu trail doesn’t end at Beaver Falls. It continues another 4-miles (one-way) to where the blue-green waters of Havasu Creek intermix with the muddy Colorado River. For those intrepid travelers wanting a challenge, it is said to be a beautiful but strenuous hike down. We contemplated taking on this challenge. Instead, we choose to take it slow and really take in the Havasu area rather than push for the Colorado River.
Conclusion for Hiking Beaver Falls
The trip back to our tent was uneventful other than finding the occasional day hiker returning from the Colorado River and swapping trail stories. Although the descent of Mooney Falls is challenging and dangerous, the side trip to the base of Mooney Falls and then on to Beaver Falls is without a doubt a must-do when camping at the Havasupai Campground.