Havasu Creek in the Grand Canyon National Park

Friday, 20 December 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Environment
Reading Time:  9 minutes

Havasu Falls at night © flickr.com - Jeremy Evans/cc-by-sa-2.0

Havasu Falls at night © flickr.com – Jeremy Evans/cc-by-sa-2.0

Havasu Creek is a stream in the U.S. state of Arizona associated with the Havasupai people. It is a tributary to the Colorado River, which it enters in the Grand Canyon. Frequent flooding changes the appearance of some waterfalls and causes others to appear and disappear. Navajo Falls is one such example. Havasu Creek is the second largest tributary of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. The drainage basin for Havasu Creek is about 3,000 square miles (7,800 km²). It includes the town of Williams, Arizona, and Grand Canyon Village.

Until the August 2008 flooding, Navajo Falls was the first prominent waterfall in the canyon. They were named after an old Supai chief. It was located 1.25 miles (2 km) from Supai and is accessed from a trail located on the left side (right side when heading upstream) of the main trail. This side trail leads down to the creek, where there is a crude bridge that crosses over the creek. The trail then leads back into the trees, where the main pool and falls were located. The pool was popular for its seclusion and its ease to swimmers. The falls were approximately 70 feet (21 m) tall and consisted of separate sets of water chutes, the main one located on the right side where the water cascaded down the canyon hill. To the left of the main chute there were other smaller ones that were steeper and more vertical. There were a few places that are viable for cliff jumping, although caution was necessary.

The Fiftyfoot Falls, also called Upper Navajo Falls, became more prominent in the 2008 flood that bypassed Navajo Falls, and is now the first waterfall in the canyon. The falls are about 50 feet (15 m) tall and fall into a rocky pool. Originally known as Supai Falls, this waterfall has been the most unstable waterfall in Havasu Canyon since 1885, disappearing and reappearing several times. The most recent reappearance was in 1970.

The Lower Navajo Falls, also called Rock Falls, was created by the 2008 flood, about 0.15 miles (0.24 km) below Fiftyfoot Falls. The creek falls about 30 feet (9.1 m) into a swimming hole.

Beaver Falls © Gonzo fan2007/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fiftyfoot Falls © Gonzo fan2007/cc-by-sa-3.0 Havasu Falls at night © flickr.com - Jeremy Evans/cc-by-sa-2.0 Havasu Falls © flickr.com - Jeremy Evans/cc-by-sa-2.0 Lower Navajo Falls © Gonzo fan2007/cc-by-sa-3.0 Mooney Falls © Robertbody/cc-by-3.0
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Havasu Falls at night © flickr.com - Jeremy Evans/cc-by-sa-2.0
Havasu Falls is the third waterfall in the canyon. It is located 1 ½ miles from Supai and is accessed from a trail on the right side (left side when heading upstream) of the main trail. The side trail leads across a small plateau and drops into the main pool. Havasu is arguably the most famous and most visited of all the falls. The falls consist of one main chute that drops over a 100-foot (30& m) vertical cliff (due to the high mineral content of the water, the falls are ever-changing and sometimes break into two separate chutes of water) into a large pool. The falls are known for their natural pools, created by mineralization, although most of these pools were damaged and/or destroyed in the early 1990s by large floods that washed through the area. A small man-made dam was constructed to help restore the pools and to preserve what is left. There are many picnic tables on the opposite side of the creek and it is very easy to cross over by following the edges of the pools. It is possible to swim behind the falls and enter a small rock shelter behind it. Before the flood of 1910, the falls were called “Bridal Veil Falls” because they fell from the entire width of the now-dry travertine cliffs north and south of the present falls.

Mooney Falls is the fourth main waterfall in the canyon. It is named after D. W. “James” Mooney, a miner, who in 1882 – according to his companions – decided to mine the area near Havasu Falls for minerals. The group then decided to try Mooney Falls. One of his companions was injured, so James Mooney decided to try to climb up the falls with his companion tied to his back, and subsequently fell to his death. The Falls are located 2.25 miles (3.6 km) from Supai, just past the campgrounds. The trail leads to the top of the falls, where there is a lookout/photograph area that overlooks the 210-foot (64 m) canyon wall that the waterfall cascades over. In order to gain access to the bottom of the falls and its pool, a very rugged and dangerous descent is required. Extreme care and discretion for the following portion is required; it is highly exposed and should not be attempted when the weather and/or conditions are not suitable. The trail down is located on the left side (looking downstream), up against the canyon wall. The first half of the trail is only moderately difficult until the entrance of a small passageway/cave is reached. At this point the trail becomes very difficult and very precarious. The small passageway is large enough for the average human, and leads to a small opening in which another passageway is entered. At the end of the second passageway the trail becomes a semi-vertical rock climb that is similar to descending a ladder. Strategically placed chains, handholds, and ladders aid in the climb. Mist from the falls often makes the rock slippery, and the climb is also difficult because of having to pass people going in the opposite direction. The pool is the largest of the three, and some people jump from low cliff ledges into the pool. It is possible for strong swimmers to swim to the left of the falls to the rock wall and then to a small cave that is located just above the water line, approximately 15–20 feet (5 to 6 meters) away from the falls. An island breaks the pool into two streams.

Beaver Falls is arguably the fifth set of falls, although many claim that it is not a waterfall, but merely a set of small falls that are located close to each other. The falls are located approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) downstream of Supai, and are the most difficult to access. After the descent to Mooney Falls, a visible trail leads downstream. About 0.25 miles (0.40 km) down, a small stream feeds into the creek, over the side of the cliff, effectively creating a place to shower. The trail leads to the right towards the creek, then back towards Mooney Falls to get to this mini-waterfall. The next 3–4 miles are remote and rugged. The trail is not always easy to follow and requires multiple crossings of the creek. At one point, after a large, oddly out of place palm tree, a rope had been placed for climbing a rock wall in order to further traverse the trail down the canyon. This has now been replaced with a much more navigable ladder. Farther downstream, a rock chute/slide provides one access to Beaver Falls. Easier access is further along, just before the trail turns north to continue down the canyon. River rafters have beaten a path to the ledges where they jump. Turning upstream from here, it is possible to gradually get to the creek bed and follow it further upstream to the falls. The pools here are small, but still offer good swimming. Beaver Falls was once much more impressive. It had a height of about fifty feet in one fall, at the junction of Beaver Canyon and Havasu Canyon. The great flood of January 1910 destroyed it, leaving the falls over the limestone ledges as they are today. Rotted cottonwood logs near the aforementioned junction show how high the water rose during that flood.

Read more on VisitTheUSA.co.uk – Havasu Falls and Wikipedia Havasu Creek (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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