The trip was a hit! Despite the lack of training and planning everything went smoothly! The hike down took about 3.5 hours to town where we signed in no problem. We were the first to the camping office that day and had our pick of the campsites. We selected a modest little area near the back of the grounds. A little side stream cut through our camp and under our hammocks. There were lots of pools and a pleasant cascade of falls along side our site making for a nice soundtrack to relax.
Nearly 15′ down stream from our camp the top of Mooney Falls marked the trail; you could hear the roar of the water falling below. To get to the bottom of Mooney Falls you scaled the cliffs holding onto chains and weaving through caves. Once on the bottom a series of wild trails woven through the thick grape vines and grass lands takes you to another waterfall called Beaver. Here you can jump from the top 20′ into a deep pool below. The trails are not maintained and often there are so many that your trip down is remarkably different from out. If you were to keep heading down stream another 6 miles you would hit the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
Upstream from camp another series of falls could be found. My favorite was the Navaho Falls. This particular waterfall Has multiple breaks and twists into itself like a french braid. Another notable feature is that you can climb under the falls and jump through it or you can take the higher road and jump from the top about 25′.
All and all the trip was wonderful. There were no major problems with bugs, squirrels tend to get into your trash if you don’t wash it out (or your food if you leave it out), there is plenty to do and lots of room to enjoy the falls, and despite what I have read about the trail I felt that it was fairly moderate, if not easy. The hike out-of-town also took 3.5 hours but we didn’t stop to take pictures.
What I liked and wish I had known:
Take tons of pictures and take a waterproof camera
If you go anywhere after 4 p.m. take your flashlight, it gets dark early!
Take a lantern so you can enjoy your campsite after 7:30 at night.
Break in your water shoes before your trip so you don’t get blisters.
A waterproof wrist watch is always a nice thing to have.
Leave about 4 liters of water per person in your vehicle to wash off after your hike out. It will be the only hot shower you get during your camping trip and is a wonderful treat after a 10 mile hike out of paradise. Also, leave a fresh towel and a fresh set of clothes to put on. Do this and you will feel like a million bucks.
Haulapai Hilltop Highway doesn’t have a street sign so if you pass a sign that says Supai this way that’s the way you want to go. Drive slow at night, there are lots of animals on this road!!!
Take an extra flashlight incase you set up camp over the water and drop your flashlight in the stream.
Having a few pieces of soap is great incase someone sends your bar down the river and a rag or two is nice for working a lather and washing with that so your soap can stay safe near the shoreline.
Having a hat is nice but I found there was enough shade that I didn’t need one most of the time.
Definitely take a hammock and sleeping bag. It’s way more comfortable than the ground and a lot more fun to relax in during the day, not to mention a lot lighter in the pack than a tent.
And lastly, take cash, if you need anything from the village cash is a lot easier to deal with than a card.