Havasupai means “people of the blue green water.”

Havasupais have dwelt in the Grand Canyon and the rest of north central

Arizona for more than 1,000 years, practicing summertime

irrigated farming in the canyons and wintertime hunting on the

plateaus.

 

The Havasupai Reservation of the Havasupai Tribe is at the end

of Indian Route 18 off of Historic Route 66. The reservation consists

of 188,077 acres of canyon land and broken plateaus abutting the

western edge of the National Park along the south rim of the Grand

Canyon. All the residents live in Supai Village, in 3,000-foot-deep

Havasu Canyon, through which a perennial creek flows over three

breathtakingly beautiful high waterfalls and several smaller ones.

The reservation was established in 1880 and substantially enlarged

in 1975. An encampment at Grand Canyon National Park still

remains home to several Havasupai families.

 

The tribe is best known for its location, traditional cultural life,

beautiful arts and crafts, and community alcohol and drug abuse

prevention efforts.

 

Tourism is the basis of the tribe's modern economy. More than

12,000 guests a year hike or ride horseback into the canyon to stay

at the village's Lodge or campgrounds near Havasu Falls. Guests

arrive via an eight-mile trail from Hualapai Hilltop, most by foot or

horseback and a few by chartered helicopter. The number of visitors

allowed is limited to prevent overcrowding. Guests must make

advance reservations by phone or mail with the Tourist Office or

Lodge before embarking; a deposit is required.

The tribe also operates a full-menu cafe with an outdoor seating

area, a fully stocked grocery store, a museum and cultural center,

and an art and silkscreen studio. All supplies, including the mail,

are packed in by horse and mule train.

 

The location of the Havasupai Reservation, deep within an inner

gorge of the Grand Canyon, provides startling and spectacular

scenery. Called the “Shangri-la of the Grand Canyon.” the reservation

is surrounded by layers of cliffs towering more than half a mile

above the canyon bottom, the village itself forms an oasis of greenery

within the desert environment. Havasu Creek flows through the

village, over a series of waterfalls, and joins the Colorado River in

the bottom of the main canyon. Four of the waterfalls form gorgeous

morning-glory pools around their base. These natural travertine

tubs filled with sparkling turquoise water are irresistible to photographers

and swimmers.

 

The annual Havasupai Peach Festival is held the second weekend

of August and includes a rodeo, traditional dancing, and

pageantry. A community health fair is held once a year and a

Grandmother Canyon Gathering every fall.