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So You Want to Hike the Grand Canyon…

If you haven’t read my post about our own Grand Canyon Adventure to Havasupai, check it out now!

Okay, so you may be one of the many that says, “But Alesha, there’s no way I can hike 12 miles in AND 12 miles out”!  I have heard that from so many people since we started talking about taking this trip. Some have bad knees, some have asthma, some just don’t feel like they’re in well enough shape to do it, especially when it means packing in a heavy pack.

First I’d have to tell you, it really isn’t as hard as you might think.  AND, unless you’re planning to take the trip next week (good luck getting a reservation even), you have time to get physically prepared for it. I mean, look at that group in the photo above. That’s my husband, our three oldest kids (ages 8, 6, and 5) and me. We did it, I know you can too!

If you still don’t think you can make it for whatever reason, I’ve got good news for you!  You have other options!  As a matter of fact, you have multiple options.

***There is a helicopter that flies into and out of Havasupai Village regularly.  The cost (currently) is $85 one way, and that includes a 40lb pack/bag.  Gary and I each packed in a bag with enough clothes, food and other necessities for the two of us plus 3 of our kids who went with us.  Gary’s pack was about 55lbs and mine was about 33lbs, and 8 lbs of that weight was 3 liters of water.  In other words, a 40lb pack should be plenty for you.

The helicopter will take you to the village, and then you’ll have to hike from the village to the campground, but that isn’t very far, especially in comparison to the hike in.

Perhaps you think you can hike in but not out. Hike in and fly out!  Maybe you’d rather fly in and hike out. Either way, it’s an option.

***There are also pack/saddle mules available for you.  You may “buy” a spot on the mule to pack your pack in, or you may ride a mule in.  Same goes for the way out as well.  Prices appear to be the same whether you ride in or send your pack in only.  Current rates are $187 round trip or $93.50 one way.

The mules take you (or your bags) to/from the campground, meaning you don’t even have to do the mile or 2 hike from the village to the campground.

The restrictions seem pretty reasonable to me.  If you are riding you must be less at least 4′ 7″ tall, less than 250 lbs, and you can only carry a small day pack of 20lbs or less with you.  Again, depending on what you bring this should be ample weight, especially if you are just packing for yourself.  Remember that 8 lbs of the weight in the packs we carried in was water.  Riding a horse in shouldn’t require you to need 3 liters of water, so I’d say you’re pretty good there.

If you are only sending your bags on a pack mule, you may send no more than 4 bags totaling 130lbs.  When we went with our group there were a few who sent their heavier items in a duffle bag on the mule and only packed in a backpack with water and snacks.  Since they didn’t need the entire 130lbs they ‘split’ the mule with another person(s).  This made it far easier for those who felt less in-shape but knew they could walk the 12 miles with just a pack of water.

Alright, so maybe you want to visit Havasupai but you’re not the “camping type of person”.  Perhaps the photo to the right isn’t your idea of fun. Or perhaps not having a flushing toilet is keeping you away.  You’re in luck there too!  There is a lodge in the village that you can stay at.  It’s not the Hilton, but it’s indoors with a 2 double beds, a shower, a/c, and a toilet.  Current price is $145 per night for up to 4 people.  You will be required to put down a deposit of $40 per room/per night. From the village you can walk down to the falls and enjoy them for the day, then head back to the village for a shower and a bed to sleep in!

I’d highly recommend you start planning your trip as soon as possible, then call to make reservations.  Reservations fill up FAST.  We called in February to make our reservations for our end-of-September trip.  Cost to camp per person is $17 per night, $35 entrance fee, and $5 environmental care fee.  If you are planning on passing on camping but do plan to stay in the lodge, you will still be required to pay the $35 entrance fee.

So, you ready to plan your trip?!  Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing how to get prepared for your trip, including the must-have items you’ll want to pack in with you!


  1. I would love to hike the Grand Canyon.. not sure I could convince my hubby, but I'd love to. It is so beautiful.

  2. Naomi Shapiro says

    on my bucket list, for sure!

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