It will cost more to visit the stunning blue-green Havasupai waterfalls in northern Arizona this year.
The Havasupai Tribe, which oversees the remote corner of Grand Canyon that is home to Instagram-famous Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls, has significantly raised its permit and camping fees for the 2018 season that begins Feb. 1 and runs through November.
What it will cost
The tribe has switched to a flat price instead of a menu of charges that include one-time entrance and environmental fees, a nightly camping fee and taxes.
A one-night stay at the campground, including taxes and fees, will be $140.56 per per person. Two nights will be $171.11 and three nights $201.67. Those rates are roughly $50 higher than in 2017.
Add $18.33 per night if you’re staying on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, certain spring dates and select weekday holidays including Memorial Day and July 4. The peak-time surcharge is new this year. The cost for a two-night weekend camping trip is now $207.77 per person, compared with $121 last year.
There is a new three-night maximum stay per reservation, though travelers can lengthen their trip if they are lucky enough to snag a second reservation for the additional dates.
Tribal officials say the increase — the second consecutive one after 15 years without price hikes — and other changes reflect Havasupai’s overwhelming popularity.
“With the advent of the internet and social media the Havasupai Nation has gone viral. We have many more reservation requests than available campground spaces. The impact of visitors in the canyon and the cost of maintaining trails and visitor services has been overwhelming,” the tribe says in a statement on its website.
Reservations are prepaid, non-refundable
Fees must be paid when reservations are booked, and reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable. Reservation changes, when available, will incur a $100 fee. Up to two names can be put on the reservation, and at least one of the permit holders must be present at check-in.
The only extra cost is to send your bags on a pack animal if desired. The fee is $264 round trip, up from $242 last year. That is for four bags weighing a total of 130 pounds.
Camping is the most popular way to enjoy Havasupai, and reservations for the year sell out quickly when they open on Feb. 1. Visitors hike 10 miles to the campground, which occupies a mile-long stretch on Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. The trailhead is 260 miles northwest of Phoenix.
MORE: The otherworldly aquamarine waters of the Havasupai waterfalls
How to reserve your spot
There are two ways to nab a coveted camping reservation this year: online or via phone. Online booking was briefly introduced last year but the site was overwhelmed. The tribe has a new site for online booking this year: havasupaireservations.com. Bookings begin at 8 a.m. Arizona time on Feb. 1.
The tribe has four telephone lines and busy signals are the norm. The numbers: 928-448-2121, 2180, 2141 or 2237. Phone lines will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Arizona time Monday through Fridays.
The only other lodging option is the 24-room Havasupai Lodge, which is in the village of Supai, 8 miles into the hike and 2 miles from the major waterfalls. Reservations for the lodge, which is closed through March for renovations, are sold out for 2018 although last-minute cancellations occasionally pop up. Reservations open in June for the following year. Call the lodge at 928-448-2111 or 928-448-2201.
Hiking isn’t the only way to get to Havasupai. There are helicopter rides and horse rides (a three-mile ride one way). Reservations are required for both and you’ll need lodging or camping reservations as well. Day trips are not allowed.
Questions about the trip? There is a new public Facebook group where potential visitors can ask questions about anything from meal suggestions to what city to fly into.
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