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Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

Quito, Ecuador
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Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

Hi all,

I am planning a road trip and thought that Havasu Falls would be a beautiful place to camp. I've been reading some TripAdvisor reviews though, and I'm a little perturbed about a recurring theme of animal maltreatment witnessed by many travelers. Many people who posted reviews even said that witnessing the conditions of the animals and feeling like, as paying tourists, they were unwittingly condoning such treatment, was so upsetting that it made the whole trip not worth it, amazing scenery and all. This has put me in a bit of a moral dilemma. I want to see the spectacular nature of Havasu Falls, but I don't want to be indirectly supporting animal cruelty. Is there any way to see the waterfalls (Havasu, Mooney, or both) without staying within the reservation? Does anyone on here have any insight they can shed on this subject? It definitely has me reconsidering my trip plan. Thank you!

Phoenix, Arizona
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for Phoenix
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1. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

The short answer is no. Havasu Falls is within the Havasupai reservation, and as such, you must pay the tribe for the privilege of hiking on their land. And it IS their land and their way of life. Please be respectful of that. We didn't see anything that would cause us not to go back; I think some reviewers are more sensitive about it than others. That said, would I do things differently if I lived there? Maybe, but it's not my land, and I'm not in the position that the Havasupai are in. I try to keep that in mind.

Edited: 01 July 2014, 21:44
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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2. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

>> Is there any way to see the waterfalls (Havasu, Mooney, or both) without staying within the reservation?

No, there is not.

Silver Spring...
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1,722 posts
6 reviews
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3. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

Hummingbird said it very well. It's not a garden paradise. The Havasupai area a poor people living under harsh conditions. Conditions for the animals (and the people) are far from idyllic, but I didn't see anything that I would describe as abuse. I too would go back if time and budget allowed.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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4. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

As concerns your road trip, if you did plan to go to Havasu Falls, you must have permits from the tribe. You need to read the Supai forum posts in more detail on permits. You also have to hike about 10 miles to Supai, and then 2 miles to the campground.

Edited: 01 July 2014, 23:50
Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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5. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

To see Mooney Falls as a day trip you would need to hike 13 miles in and then 13 miles out- that is 26 miles in one day. And that wouldn't include any time actually enjoying the falls. Plus you'd still need to pay to enter the reservation. Though the number of people wanting or able to do a 26 mile hike in one day is sufficiently limited that they may not have provisions for a day entrance fee.

What constitutes maltreatment of the animals? By paying your fees and visiting their land you are actually contributing to their economy thereby making life for all including the animals better I would think. If you are specifically asking about the horses then my simple solution to that was to not use them as pack animals myself.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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6. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

Good advice from everyone. The answer is "No"

7. Re: Can I see the falls without staying in the reservation?

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