Friday, July 15, 2016

Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!

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Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River confluence is a must-see on your adventure to Havasupai! Only half of the people visiting will hike to Beaver Falls, which is on the way, yet almost nobody will make the entire trek down to the confluence. A confluence is where two rivers meet - in this case the turquoise Havasu Creek meets the brown Colorado River, creating an interesting mix of colors and water temperatures. 

This is an all day hike - not because its hard (it's fairly easy), but because you'll stop and take tons of photos and want to swim! My favorite part of this hike was the confluence because there is a perfectly clear pool in a small slot canyon perfect for hanging out for a few hours. Although this hike is only 5.5 miles from the Havasu Campground, it took us about 10 hours round trip. We literally stopped every mile or so to take a dip, and hung out at the confluence for a good 2 hours swimming and eating lunch. 

We never saw a single hiker on this trail until we got to the confluence, where rafting companies stop to let their clients out. They park their rafts at the confluence, and let everyone out to hike up Havasu Creek for 1/2 mile or so, so that they too can enjoy the clear, turquoise water. What was surprising to me, is that the guides didn't let their group swim in the slot canyon...there's no danger in the canyon. The only part you should stay away from is the narrowest part in the slot canyon, where the current will become very strong and can pull you through to the Colorado. You don't want to swim in the Colorado River because the current is very strong and past, and people can die very quickly without a life vest due to the cold water temperature and rocks under the water.

Since we didn't start hiking until 6am or so, we decided to hike all the way to the confluence first, then work our way back up to Beaver Falls. We figured that with the daily high temperature at 100F, that we should get to our destination first to beat the heat. Of course, it's not that big of a deal since you can swim anywhere in the river along the way. Just our preference. If you have time to hike from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River - do it! Totally worth the hike.
From Mooney Falls, hike down the canyon until you reach the trail split for Beaver Falls (there's a brown sign with an arrow pointing left for the falls). To get to the confluence, go straight past the brown arrow. Follow the canyon & cairns until you reach the end.

Distance: 5.5 miles one way from Havasu Campground
Elevation gain: 1,000 ft
Time: All day
Dog friendly? No, dogs aren't allowed
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits: Yes, see my post on How to Get a Havasupai Permit
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Start hiking from camp, until you reach this sign. If you look over the cliff you'll be able to see Mooney Falls. To get to Mooney Falls was only a 10 minute hike from our campsite.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Looking over the cliff to the rest of Havasu Creek.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
#Selfie!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Climbing down through the cave.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Getting a peak at Mooney Falls.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Climbing out from the tunnel.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
The climb down is super steep! You can use the chains to hold on to.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Looking back up to the ladders from the base of Mooney Falls. If you have a fear of heights, you probably won't want to hike even this far.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Standing at the base of Mooney Falls! Photo by @iBoyer.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Group shot at Mooney Falls.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Beautiful view of Mooney Falls by @iBoyer
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Another group selfie using my Rif6 Mini Tripod.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Jumping at Mooney Falls! Photo by @iBoyer.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Standing in the mist of Mooney Falls was so fun and crazy! The mist was so heavy I couldn't open my eyes. Photo by @iBoyer.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Continue following the side trails past Mooney Falls, and you'll see this cool waterfall. It's really fun to stand under!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Lisa & Byron make their way past the small waterfall, and check out their surroundings.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Along the "trail" you'll walk in and out of water. It's important that you have really good, sturdy water shoes. I use the Merrell Capra Rapid - they work great to keep rocks out of my shoes. Even though I am a huge Chaco fan, you'll get too many rocks and sand underneath your feet. Even Keens will get rocks in them.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Cutting through the fields of tiny grapes.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Crossing over a sketchy bridge. It looks really flimsy, but it's got 2X4s underneath for support.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Crossing over another bridge. Anytime there is a bridge I suggest using it, instead of walking in the water, because where ever there is a bridge, its most likely crossing over a strong current area in the creek.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Along the trail you will have to climb several ladders. To do this hike, you should be generally fit and able to climb up to 15 feet on a ladder. This is one of the smallest ladders.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Looking down to Beaver Falls from the trail. Nobody there at 7am!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
You'll want to keep an eye out for this important brown arrow. Going left and down takes you to Beaver Falls, but to get to the confluence, go straight past it. We decided to hit the confluence first, then come back to Beaver Falls on the hike back to camp.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
You'll come across this brown sign, looking back. There is where you are officially in the Grand Canyon.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Continue following the cairns and well traveled trail.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Work your way down the side of the cliff, so that you reach the creek again.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
This is where the dry trail meet the river - there is a log on it's side, a cairn, and two orange tags hanging in the tree. Remember this spot, for when you hike back up.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
For the rest of the canyon, the trail alternates hiking on both sides of Havasu Creek, often crossing the river several times. If you get too hot while hiking, find a nice deep swimming hole to cool off.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Back on the dry part of the trail.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
When you get close to the end, you'll hike through this small cave. A relief from the heat!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
We could finally see the canyon wall across the way - we knew we were very close now. 
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Ahh...the end of the trail. Oh darn, guess it's time to swim a little! The confluence is literally about 100 yards through this section. It was about waist deep.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
This is the narrowest part of the slot canyon, and you don't want to swim past this. The current was strong here, and could easily pull you out to the Colorado River. This was as far as I went, to where I felt comfortable stopping.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Swimming in the most amazing water! Photo by @iBoyer.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
I decided to climb up to the ridge where the rafters were hiking in. You get a good view of the slot canyon.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River! Colorado Confluence
The confluence!
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River! Colorado Confluence
A look back into the slot canyon, where the rest of our group was swimming.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Panorama of the Colorado River.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River! Beaver Falls
Once we got back to the trail split for Beaver Falls, we followed the ladders down to the creek.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!
Stopping at Beaver Falls to swim and hang out.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River! Kroex Double Hammock
Hanging out in my new Kroex Double Hammock at Beaver Falls. Photo by @iBoyer.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River! trail map
Trail map from Mooney Falls to the confluence.
Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River trail map
Another angle of the trail map to the confluence. 


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Hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River!

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4 comments:

  1. Wow this spot looks absolutely amazing! Love the idea of a lazy day of hiking stopping to swim along the way! What a great trip!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders
    www.KatieWanders.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do believe this part of the trip would be the best. Another blog friend also made this trip. I was wondering where the cave, chains, and ladders were! Oh, on the second part! I just love the looks Of Beaver Falls. This sure looks like an incredible day...wow! Thanks for sharing it all with amazing photos:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do believe this part of the trip would be the best. Another blog friend also made this trip. I was wondering where the cave, chains, and ladders were! Oh, on the second part! I just love the looks Of Beaver Falls. This sure looks like an incredible day...wow! Thanks for sharing it all with amazing photos:)

    ReplyDelete