Havasu and Mooney Falls Offer Unforgettable Sights and Colors
Hidden away in the Grand Canyon are two breathtaking waterfalls. Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, a pair of tropical-looking cascades, are located in a side canyon on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon within the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
Marjorie Magnusson, Public Relations Manager and Calendar Editor for the Arizona Office of Tourism, says although there are several waterfalls within the Grand Canyon, the exceptional beauty of Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls make them stand out.
“I think two of the reasons people are so taken with the falls are because of their sudden appearance and their color. As you hike in, you are still seeing the Grand Canyon walls surrounding you with all their peaches and pinks, red rocks and the layers of time. Then suddenly, the falls appear from the rocks and the color of the water strikes your senses,” she says.
“The water falls into the most vivid blue-green pools you could ever imagine. They are not just a pretty blue-green pool; they are the color of turquoise. They look supernatural. It’s a sight you will never forget.”
While both Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls offer awe-inspiring scenery and a chance to play in the cool water, Magnusson says getting there is definitely challenging, and not for everyone.
To reach the falls requires a 10-mile hike through a long, dusty desert-like canyon—then the same 10-mile hike back.
“Havasu Falls is the closest to a campground and is surrounded by multiple pools of water. Mooney Falls is farther down the trail, and to get to the base of the falls, you need to climb down into the canyon,” she says.
“There is a chain and a ladder to help you back your way in – one person at a time. But Mooney is the tallest of the falls, so the lure makes it a favorite for those who are not afraid of slippery rocks and a little climbing.”
In order to get the opportunity to make the long trek to the falls, Magnusson says people must first contact the Havasupai tribe for permission.
“To hike into Havasupai requires a reservation,” she says, adding that people sharing their beautiful photos of the falls on the Internet has increased the number of visitors. “There are a limited number of visitors the tribe can accommodate, so reservations are imperative. You don’t want to hike into the village only to find you have to hike right back out.”
After securing reservations, Magnusson says people who do not hike on a regular basis should train a bit to prepare themselves for the journey. And although getting there can be difficult, the reward of seeing and experiencing the falls makes it well worth it.
“For the more adventurous, you wade or swim,” she says. “You can swim in the beautiful pools of water, climb behind some of the falls, and some will probably even want to jump in or enjoy some leisurely soaking.”
“Once you are there you just drink it all in. There is something about the sights and the sounds that lift the weight of the world from your shoulders.”