Since you were wondering, yes, people live inside the Grand Canyon. Supai Village, the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, boasts a population of a couple of hundred residents. Although it is only 35 miles as the California Condor flies from the millions of annual visitors in Grand Canyon Village, Supai is considered the most remote community in the continental United States.
Supai is actually eight miles from the Colorado River, located in Huavasu Canyon, a tributary of the Colorado where the people draw their water from Havasu Creek. There is no road access to the village – you either fly in or walk in. Supai is the only place where the U.S. mail is delivered and carried out by mule.
A True Desert Oasis
Supai Village resides on tribal land and is beyond the boundary and jurisdiction of the National Park Service. The Havasupai value their privacy, as one would living in America’s most remote village, and no camping is permitted inside the village. There are no drugs and alcohol permitted on Havasupai land. The name “Havasupai” translates to “people of the blue-green waters” and it is those magical blue-green waters that draw people into the sphere of the Havasupai.
The signature hydrospectacular on the Supai tribal lands is Havasu Falls where the water plunges straight down from a wall of red rocks 90 feet into azure blue pools. Adding to an excess of riches, nature has also provided a sandy beach and cottonwood shade trees beside the swimming pools. Unlike other waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is fed by an underground spring so the water show takes place year-round. Some call Havasu Falls the most beautiful in the United States and there are not many arguments from those who have seen for themselves.
The Advantages of a Tour
It is places like Supai where a traveler can appreciate all the things a tour operator does. There are the tribal fees that must be taken care of to visit this special place. Those include a $5 per person Environmental Care Fee. There are the permits that must be obtained to travel on this land. There is the transportation that must be arranged to access Supai Village. There are the accommodations that must be booked, either in the campground two miles from the village or at Havasupai Lodge.
Just taking care of all the local regulations and permits and fees is enough to exhaust an intrepid traveler – and that is before the eight-mile trek from the parking area at Hualapai Hilltop even begins. And there is no access to drinking water on that eight-mile hike to the village. Then there is food and provisions that must be taken care of for an overnight or three-day adventure.
Beyond the logistics and safety considerations that tour companies offer there is local knowledge. Havasu Falls gets top billing at Supai Village but Mooney Falls is higher and some say Beaver Falls is even prettier. And there is Supai Falls and side canyons to explore and many more secrets that live in the heads of experienced tour guides. No one wants to make the journey to the most remote village to the Lower 48 and return only to discover something was missed. Excellent tours are offered by Four Season Guides, Wildland Trekking, Pygmy Guides and Just Roughin’ It.