Getting There And Getting Around Arizona

Credit: USGS/AGI, Nicole Schmidgall & Brenna Tobler Credit: USGS/AGI, Nicole Schmidgall & Brenna Tobler

The natural beauty of Havasu Canyon is well worth the effort it takes to get there. A limited number of people may visit at one time, so reservations are required and openings are often fully booked months in advance, especially during the Spring Break season.

To get to Havasu Canyon, visitors can fly into Phoenix, more than 430 kilometers to the southeast; Las Vegas, about 350 kilometers to the west; or the smaller Flagstaff airport, about 270 kilometers to the east. From those airports, you’ll need to rent a car to travel to Hualapai Hilltop, the trailhead and heliport, 100 kilometers north of Route 66. Depending on your starting point, you will exit I-40 at either Kingman (from points west) or Seligman (from points east). From Kingman, proceed east, or from Seligman, head west on historic Route 66 until you intersect Indian 18 (Hualapai Hilltop Highway). There are no services or lodging at the Hilltop, so bring plenty of water and supplies and be sure to top off your gas tank before arriving. A night watchman patrols the ample parking lot, but it is wise not to leave valuables behind.

Once at the Hilltop, there are three options to get to Supai: a beautiful hike, a short helicopter flight, or a guided ride on horseback (also available to the campground). You can mix and match: For example, if you hike the 13 kilometers down to Supai, you can opt to ride the helicopter or a horse back out. Mules are usually available to carry baggage. Helicopter flights are not available every day of the week. Detailed information about each option, as well as the required entrance fee and accommodations (a basic lodge in Supai or the lovely campground another three kilometers down canyon), is available through the Havasupai Tourist Office at 928-448-2121 or httourism0@havasupai-nsn.gov. We recommend you stay at least two nights so you have enough time to explore.

Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Terri Cook (www.down2earthscience.com) is a science and travel writer based in Colorado and an EARTH roving correspondent. Lon Abbott is a geology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 06:00