Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to Get a Havasupai Permit

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How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
Getting a permit to Havasupai Falls is the first step in your adventure to the beautiful, turquoise falls, but how do you get one? And how far in advance? What about group size? These are all questions I hear all the time when it comes to wanting to travel to Havasu & Mooney Falls. I'll fill you in on some secrets, tips, and the know-how so you can have the best waterfall adventure yet!





I'll be up front with you - getting a permit to Havasupai is one of the worst and most frustrating experiences I've ever had. Now that I know what to expect, I can pass this info along to you so you (hopefully) won't become as frustrated as I did. First you need to know that as of 2016 the Supai Navajo Tribe begins accepting camping & lodging reservations every year on February 1st at 7am Arizona time. Office hours are 7am-7pm. Reservations typically fill up for the entire year within 7-10 days. There are TWO phone numbers you can call to make a reservation:


CAMPGROUND
928.448.2121
928.448.2141

LODGE
928.448.2111
928.448.2101

You may be asking yourself - why are there two possible phone numbers for each location? Due to the recent popularity of visiting these amazing waterfalls in social media, various articles, and photography, as soon as the reservations open, literally thousands of people are calling at once to get a spot. Havasu Canyon is one of those rare places that offers must-see grandeur with a tough permit system. The office is very small, and only 2-3 people are answering phones.

EMAIL
 httourism0@havasupai-nsn.gov

There is also an email which the tribe says you can make a reservation through. I have never heard of anyone being successful at getting a reservation through this email, and those who do end up hearing back get a decline on the permit (weeks after emailing them).

Now that you know the basics, let's talk about what happens WHEN you call them. Here's what happened for me:

I started calling them February 1st, around 8am. I kept calling, and calling...and calling. All day - nothing. I couldn't get through. I was trying to make a reservation for 8 people to go. I thought, "Ugh! This isn't good - I have 8 people depending on me to get a permit for the group. I guess I'll just keep trying!" Let me say that my job is an office job where it's not super busy throughout the day and I am able to make personal calls. This put me in a great position to call literally ALL DAY. I kept hitting redial alternating between the two phone numbers, thinking I'd have better luck with one. I tried one of those redial apps (which large groups will use), but it didn't work that great for me. Day 2 (February 2nd) comes around and I finally heard the ring tone. Music to my ears! Then it would ring, and ring...50 minutes later of ringing I hung up. This was getting sooo frustrating! Of course when calls came in to my office I would stop calling and take care of work stuff. This whole time I kept checking some of the popular Outdoor Facebook groups, seeing people posting and asking if anyone had gotten through yet. Slowly people responded that they got a permit, but not for the days they originally wanted. This made me not only jealous, but I also knew that at least people were getting through. I was determined to get that permit! Day 3 (February 3rd) I would hear the ring tone again, but nothing. An hour later it rang again, this time for about 2 minutes, when..."Hello, thank you for calling the reservation desk at Havasu. How may I help you?" I couldn't believe my ears when  finally, AFTER 17 HOURS TOTAL OF CALLING, that I heard someone speak into the phone.

The man asked what dates I wanted. We wanted to go over Memorial Day Weekend - I knew it was a long shot at this point but at least I had some dates to start with. He said it was already booked. I said, "Ok, how about the following weekend?" Booked. Ok, I told the man, how about you just tell me what dates you DO have available? He responded July 8th was the next open weekend with enough spots for a group of 8. I immediately said, "I'll take it!" At this point I didn't care what dates I got as long as I could go. In the back of my mind I thought, "Oh sh!t - it's gonna be extremely hot during that time! What am I thinking?!" I was very surprised that by day 3 of calling that February-June was totally booked. He asked for my name and phone number and gave me a confirmation number. It is important that you write this number down or save it someplace safe - Havasu will NOT email nor mail you any type of confirmation. The confirmation number they provide you is your key to getting into the canyon. 

NEW for 2017! (Updated Feb. 2, 2017)
You can now make ONLINE RESERVATIONS HERE! You will be able to select the dates that are available and also select your campsite. Once you complete all steps & pay for everything, they will immediately send you a Confirmation Email with your receipt. 

It should look like this:


UPDATED JANUARY 2017 - NEW PRICING RATES & RULES FOR 2017!

Camping permit: $25 per night, per person (Up from the previous $17/night)
Environmental Fee: $10 per person
Entrance/Tribal fee: $50 per person (up from the previous $35)
Tax: 10%

Here's an example of how to total all the fees. This is based on a 3 night camping stay for 4 people. I am rounding up.

($25 x 4 people) x 3 nights = $300
($10 x 4) + ($50 x 4)  = $240
add a 10% tax
TOTAL: $594

Here's another example for 1 person for 3 nights. I am rounding up.
($25 x 3 nights) + $10 + $50 + 10% tax = $149

UPDATED 2017: Payment used to not be accepted until you arrived at the Tourism Office. This has changed for 2017 - you MUST prepay via Mastercard or Visa only over the phone. The tribe will ask for ONE payment for your group, to minimize paper work and fees on their end.  Also new for 2017 - no refunds will be given. After you check in upon arrival during your trip, the office will provide each person with a wristband or tag that you have to wear the entire time in Havasu Canyon, as well as a tag for each of the tents. These are checked daily by a ranger who patrols the campground. 

How much does it cost to stay at the lodge?
If you get a reservation at the lodge, you can skip the tourism office and go straight to the Havasupai Lodge. All fees are collected upon arrival, but you can only check in between 9am-5pm daily, so plan your 10 mile hike around these times to make sure you get there before it closes. There is no kitchen or food provided at the lodge. You'll need to come prepared with your own food and stove/jet boil. You can get food from the Supai Cafe or the grocery store in the village, but hours are unpredictable due to the remote location and prices are not cheap. Keep in mind that the lodge is still 2 miles from Havasu Falls, so you'll still need to hike to get to the water.

Lodging Prices
Up to 4 people per room: $145/night
Deposit: $40 per room, per night
Entrance fee: $50 per person (up from the previous $35)
10% tax

Cancellations for Havasupai Lodge
If you need to cancel your reservations, you need to do so at least 2 weeks in advance. You won't get your deposit back.


No day hiking is allowed. There are signs posted everywhere, and if you are caught in the area without a permit (or a reservation while walking to the permit office), they will fine you. Rangers do patrol the campground and falls. We got checked once while in camp, and once while at Beaver Falls. 

NO DOGS are allowed on this trail!



How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
During Winter, when Havasupai is closed, is a great time of year to see Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon and hike along the Bright Angel Trail.

If you are worried about pack weight or maybe have knee/hip issues, an alternate way to get your gear to the campground or lodge is via Mule or Helicopter. If you aren't even up for the 10 mile hike, you can ride a horse the full route in & out. With any option you decide on, you must make arrangements a least 1 week ahead of time. Be sure that when you get a mule or horse that they are taken well-care of. Recently in the news, photos have surfaced of the animals not being cared for. Please check over the horse or mule for any signs of abuse before paying to ride them.

Rates for Mules & Horses 
(subject to change)
Round trip Hilltop TH to camp & back: $187
One way to OR from camp: $95
One way out (arrangements must be made in person through the tourism office one day prior to your departure date): $95
Havasu Falls Day Tour (Lodge to Falls): $60
Round trip Hilltop TH to Lodge: $120
One way Hilltop TH to Lodge: $70

Bringing your own Horse
You must bring your own feed and pay a fee at the tourism office. Reservations are always required to camp or lodge with a horse, so mention this when you call to get a permit. Keep in mind that parking is extremely hard to find at the TH, and with a trailer it would be even more difficult.

Helicopter Info
Helicopters depart at 10am & 1pm, and accommodates people on a first come, first serve basis. Local Supai Tribe members ALWAYS get priority to fly first. The cost to fly one way is $85. My friend arrived at 6am to get in line to fly out at 10am. Because all the tribe members got to go first, plus with strong winds, he didn't end up leaving the village until 8pm. Be prepared to wait all day. He also said that the helicopters have frequent mechanical issues, so there may only be one helicopter to service a lot of people, and they can only fit 4-6 people in at one time due to weight load.


How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
 The last stop for gas is in Peach Springs, AZ or Kingman, AZ. Fill up on gas here - you can also fill your water bladders with ice, grab last minute snacks, and use the restrooms before getting on the road for the last hour. 

On your Apple or Google Maps App, you can type in "Havasupai Campground Parking Lot - "Hill Top", Supai, AZ 86435". 
Here's a link

GPS Location of the Hilltop Parking Lot: 36.9791353,-114.1715494
How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
 Route from Las Vegas, NV
How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
Route from Phoenix, AZ

How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit
1. Plan on hiking here during the week. Weekends always fill up first.

2. Plan to come after Mid/Late August. This is when the kids and teachers are back in school, and parents are back to work. You'll have a much higher chance of getting the dates you want during late August, September, and October.

3. Have several friends calling for a permit at once. The more help you have, the more likely you'll get through.

4. Consider using an Auto Re-Dial App

5. The smaller the group, the easier you'll get a permit.

6. It may be frustrating, but don't give up on calling! If you give up, then there's no way you'll get a permit.


Was this post helpful? Please post, share, & PIN!
How to get a Havasupai Permit, How to get a Havasu Falls Permit

What other questions do you have? What was your experience like? Let me know below!



Check out my post on Hiking to Havasu Falls!
 Read about hiking from Mooney Falls to the Colorado River Confluence!



107 comments:

  1. Wow what an awesome thorough informative post! Way to go lady! This looks like such an amazing trip and this information will be so helpful- I cant believe it took you so long of calling how discouraging!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders
    www.KatieWanders.com

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  2. Alicia, I am really glad to see that you included the caveat about using pack animal service at Havasupai. What you said is exactly right - there are many horses and mules that are not being cared for (and are actually being abused), as more and more tourists are coming forward with evidence of. I would just add that unless you can see the horse or mule with NO gear on before it goes back down the canyon, you shouldn't use it at all because it likely has open sores hidden under the packs. There will likely not even be water for them at Hilltop. There is a ton of information on this situation at https://www.facebook.com/StopAnimalViolenceFoundation. Thanks for being a hiker with a conscience and helping to spread awareness about the sad situation at Havasupai!

    -Kelly

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    1. Yes, you are correct! I have seen them hide sores underneath the blankets and other gear from people's photos - it's so sad and wrong. Thank you for posting the Facebook link! It's so important for people to know about what is going on. - Alicia

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  3. Thanks so much for this information! I was foolish and booked my flight before the permit not knowing there was so much demand. :( We are visiting Arizona this October and really hoped to do the Havasupai hike. I will keep trying... perhaps someone will cancel and they will look to fill the spot. </3

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    1. I've heard you can check their Facebook page for last minute cancellations - I would try that since you already have your trip planned. Good luck! -Alicia

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    2. I called yesterday (Monday) morning at 8 am when they opened and the guy said they had nothing. I then called again 15 minutes later and they had the exact dates I'm in Arizona for! I called the following 4 numbers and got through using a different one each time:

      (928) 448-2180 - (928) 448-2121 - (928) 448-2141 (928) 448-2237

      If one line was busy I called another which would ring. I didn't seem to have trouble getting through.

      So excited! Thanks for your awesome blog post!

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  4. Hello...just wanted to know how's the trail's?..is it moderate or strestenous hike?...thanks

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    1. It's flat, but long (10 miles one way), so I would say moderate. However, if you've never hiked that far before than it would be strenuous. It can take anywhere from 6-10 hours to reach the campground, depending on your fitness level and experience carrying a big backpack. -Alicia

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  5. Is it possible to do Hasvasu and Mooney Falls by staying 2 nights? Or would you recommend 3 or more?

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    1. Yes, many people do this trip in just 2 days. I preferred 3 days just because it gave our group a whole day to relax and swim more, but you could easily visit everything in 2 days. -Alicia

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    2. And to get a permit for May/June/July 2017, I would have to wait until February 1, 2017 to start calling?

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  6. Hi Alicia,

    You mentioned the falls are closed from December - February, but how come when I called the lodge I was able to book rooms for January? I've read in some reviews that when one guy called he was told it's closed until March 1st. I'm confused....

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    1. Are you actually camping or staying in the lodge? It could be that they keep the lodge open in Winter now that it's become so popular. -Alicia

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  7. I am hoping to go during the week, the last week of March 2017. Do I still wait until February 1st to call? Thank you!

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    1. Yes, reservations do not open until Feb. 1st. I had a group of friends go in March as well, and though it took long for their call to get through, they got their pick of dates. They said it was too cold to swim though. Hope you get permits!!! -Alicia

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  8. So if I wanted to go within the first couple weeks of March, do I also wait until February 1st? And do you think those dates are difficult to get? We are thinking Tuesday march 8th 2017. I am so glad I found this. Had no idea how hard it is to get. :(

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    1. Yes, everyone can start reserving as of Feb. 1st. I had a group of friends go the last week of March and they were able to get their first choice of dates. My friends did say the water was too cold to swim at that time though. They had photos with coats on! -Alicia

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    2. Thank you so much for all the info!!!!!

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    3. Thank you so much for all the info!!!!!

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  9. So if I was to take off of work to call all day one day and my husband take off another day, which days would you suggest? I wasn't sure how realistic it is for anyone to get through on the 1st and 2nd day of February. I saw you reached them on the 3rd but no one else really posts about the exact day they reached the office to reserve their permits. Have you heard anything about what day people normally reach someone on the phone after starting on the 1st?

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    1. You call all day on the 1st, husband all day on the 2nd...then keep going until you get through! It's tough. Some of my friends got through on day 1, others day 2, etc. It really just depends. If you are going with a group, get everyone in your group to call when they can as well. -Alicia

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  10. Where did you get the information of the updated changes of 2017?

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    1. Hi Spencer, I originally heard about it through Facebook, but called to confirm this morning. -Alicia

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  11. This is fantastic information! Thank you so much for posting it!

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  12. Hello and first of all thank you for all the information provided here!
    I would like to reserve a room at the Lodge for summer 2017 and was prepared for starting to call them at Feb. 1st, but now I've read somewhere else that reservations for the Lodge are possible to make as far as a year in advance and that 2017 season might already be sold out. Do you know if this might be true? I thought Campground AND Lodge are possible to reserve in Feb. earliest.
    Greetings form Germany, Patrick

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    Replies
    1. You know, I just heard from someone else that you can call at anytime/date/month to make a reservation at the lodge. I have not confirmed this myself. If you find out this is true, please let me know and I will update this post. Thanks! -Alicia

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  13. Hello! Thank you very much for all the information and details you have provided! It is very helpful.
    I was wondering, are people able to camp at the parking lot, or near the parking lot? I've heard of people sleeping in their cars, but with 3 people, it would be difficult to sleep inside a car.

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    1. Yes, you can sleep at the parking lot. That's what we did - check out my post on Hiking to Havasu Falls (http://www.girlonahike.com/2016/07/hiking-to-havasu-falls.html). "Where can I stay before my hike begins?
      You have two options. 1) Stay at a hotel in Kingman, AZ OR 2) sleep at the trailhead parking lot. My group and I chose to sleep in the parking lot, since we arrived at midnight. We planned on hiking at 5am, so it made since to sleep there. My boyfriend and I layed out a blanket in front of our car, put our sleeping pads on top, and slept outside. Some people in our group set up their tent. There's plenty of space for you to do either, but it's not a quiet sleep. You will have people walking by your head or car super early in the morning. Bring earplugs if you want to actually sleep! There's no fee for sleeping in the parking lot." -Alicia

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  14. Love this post!! Do you know if all money for 2017 needs to be paid over the phone when a reservation is made? Or just a deposit Amount?

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    1. When I asked the front desk person, they said all of it needs to be paid up front with either a Mastercard or Visa only. Also new for 2017 is no refunds. Hope this helps :) -Alicia

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  15. Trying my luck right now!
    Any tips on calling? Switch back and forth through the numbers, or focus on one? Also, should I just hang up and call again after I get a busy tone, or wait through it??

    Anything helps ease my mind hahah

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    1. I switched between both numbers to increase my chances. If you get a busy tone, hang up and keep calling! Good luck! -Alicia

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  16. I have been calling the entire day and have gotten maybe 10 or more answers but we cant hear each other and they hang up. Its so frustrating. And Im calling with two phones.

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    1. Yah they don't have the best technology down there...don't give up! I know its super frustrating :/ -Alicia

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  17. I also read on fb others having the same issue. Did you also have these problems? I can hear them but they cant hear me. I tried yelling my number a few times hoping they would call back lol

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    1. I did not have this issue, but it just could be that combined with poor technology and the overload of people calling they are having issues :/ -Alicia

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. I have made 1127 calls with some teaser rings and busy signals...This is a bit frustrating

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    1. Keep in mind this is only day 1...I didn't talk to someone until day 3. Keep at it, and good luck! It's one of the most stressful and frustrating permit experiences ever! -Alicia

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    2. I wrote on another one of your pages trying to find this one on another computer. You went on this trip with my friends CJ and Colby....I was looking at your pictures like uhh those are my friends. haha

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    3. Haha awesome, they are the best! -Alicia

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  20. Does anyone know what time they close?

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  21. My advice to everyone is to not give up, just my phone has logged over 15k dials today, it redials every two seconds. Just keep trying!

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    1. Does your phone do that on its own? How do you do it? I did mine manually.

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  22. I have been calling all day too. I have not had anyone answer. I dialed 2622 times. Yes I counted. I switched back and forth between numbers and I had multiple people calling from our group. This is making me insane. But we really want to go.

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  23. I hot a reservation!!!! They are doing it online! https://www.sunrisereservations.com/reservation/selectSiteCriteria?cgId=461

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    1. Somebody else just posted this on my Facebook page as well - do you think it's legit?? Did you receive a confirmation number? -Alicia

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    2. I hipe it is ðŸ˜ĢI did recieve a receipt with all the info and confirmation number via email. I forgot to add my son on the reservations tho bc I pushed the back button and it must of cleared him. Do you think I can call a couple weeks from now to add him.🙁

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    3. Shoot, I hope so! At least you were able to make the reservation and got a confirmation. I know last year a ton of people would drop out, and the Havasu Facebook page would say there were last minute openings, but that was before they didn't give refunds.

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  24. The site is theofficialhavasupaitribe.com
    click 2017 cam reservations and then online registration.

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  25. Replies
    1. I would say it varies between 1-3 tents-ish. They won't assign you a campsite, you can just pick wherever you want to camp. They have close to 80 campsites or so. -Alicia

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  26. Can someone post a link to the Facebook group? I wish they would just take a deposit instead of all upfront!

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    1. I think this was the FB page they were posting openings last year: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Havasupai-Falls-in-Supai-Arizona-Supai-Indian-Reservation/148812948535656?fref=ts

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  27. Also - has anyone ever gone from Colorado? If we need to fly (drive is 17 hours) which airport is closest?

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    1. PHX & LAS are both about the same drive time to the trailhead - about 4 hours each. I'd get a ticket to whichever flight is cheaper.

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  28. Got a site for 10 through their online reservation as well! :) WHOOHOO!

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  29. Thank you for this post - it is SO helpful!! How many people does each campsite fit? I'm trying to figure out how many I will need! :)

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    1. It really depends, they aren't all the same size. Some are smaller, some really open and big. I would say...maybe 4-8 people (or 2-3 tents) per campsite.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. Thank you for notifying all of us about the online submission. You saved our asses!

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  32. As far as the online submission goes - how many did you put for quantity in ONE campsite? It's letting me go up 15+... but not sure if 15 people can fit in one site. Should I secure 2 sites? Or is it just all open ground and they go based off of how many people are signed up? Somewhat confusing...

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    1. We had 10 people last year and grabbed 2 campsites right next to each other, so if you can get 2. -Alicia

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  33. For some reason the site wont let me book more than one night. It says it is available but one night at a time but when I put 2 or 3 nights it says not available.

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  34. Thank you for this!!! Do you happen to know if its possible to add additional people to a reservation? I booked and paid for a camp site online, but now I have 2 more people wanting to join in. Do you know if they will allow that?

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  35. Anyone else have problems trying to book more than 1 night. All 3 nights we want are available but when we combine them it says they are not available. So frustrating.

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    1. How many people are you trying to apply for? It may be that if you have a group of say, 50 people (or even 10), it's too many for 3 nights. But they might have availability for just the 1 night for 50 people. This is all so new to everyone, so I'm just trying my best to understand it as well. -Alicia

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  36. Does anyone know that if the dates are booked online that that means they are completely booked for those days? My fiance and I are trying to go for our honeymoon and we've been calling all day every day since it opened with no luck. I just saw the website and it says that they are booked for august 1st. Its just the two of us and we wont even have a tent because we hammock when we hike. This is the second year we've tried and failed and I want to cry so bad...

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    1. Yah, sounds like they are already booked for those dates. Bummer! I know, it's very frustrating how quickly spots fill. -Alicia

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    2. Online reservation option is temporarily down. After calling 270+ times in 3 days, I called a couple times today, and a human answered. Gave April dates and accepted. So surprised! Thank you Alicia for all the information. Keep calling.

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    3. YAY awesome! You're going to love it, and that's a great time of year to go too. -Alicia

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  37. Thank you for the awesome blog. After trying for the last 2 days, I called the first number you had listed and got the booking done for April. All dates for summer and fall are booked throughout 2017 and so are weekends(Based on the information I got from the operator )

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  38. Thank you for posting and updating this. I called thousands of times since February 1st and tried to get permit online until it crashed. I continued to call with only a busy signal or all circuits busy. Then a miracle happened...at 3pm yesterday it rang, and rang and rang 50 times and someone picked up and I got a permit on the dates I wanted in May!!!!

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    1. Excellent news! You're going to have a blast. May will be one of the best months to go as it's not too hot yet. Enjoy! -Alicia

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  39. I hiked Havasupai my first and only time 13 years ago almost the same week! Keeping my fingers crossed for blue skies and perfect temps! Thanks again!

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  40. Hi Alicica,

    I have reserved two rooms at the Havasupai Lodge, may I kindly ask if it means I have permits to hike there? I wasn't aware of the permit when I reserved the rooms. The lady over the phone told me they will mail me a confirmation mail later on, so I didn't write down any confirmation number, should I call again to confirm?
    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Sophie

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    1. Yeah, so your reservation for the lodge is your permit. You will receive the actual wristband/permit when you check in. I would still call and get that confirmation number just so you don't stress about whether it went through or not. -Alicia

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  41. I keep calling and calling and the few times I get through someone answers and says hello and hangs up. Any suggestions? I've called hundreds (thousands?) of times over the last 2 weeks...

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    1. Have you tried making an online reservation? Those are the only two ways to get a permit...all I can say is keep trying:/ -Alicia

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    2. The online system is down and says to call. It is still happening today - I get through (both numbers) and I get what sounds like an elderly person who cannot hear me and then they hang up. I have friends calling as well who report the same (so it isn't my phone)

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  42. Hi girl on a hike,

    I have Havasu Falls permits for 6 people (25,26 April 2017) and we are unfortunately not able to go. I was told these tickets are non transferable, but feel its sad that the permits will go waste otherwise. Any suggestions on how to make the swap/change/transfer? I would like to get it changed to other dates if possible or sell.

    Do you have any suggestions to go about this? Please help.

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    Replies
    1. Bummer you can't go now! Because this whole system and rules are so new, I'm not sure how they are handling people that can't go. Best thing to do is call them and ask what your options are. Be prepared that you might be out of luck getting your money back. I agree, I'd hate to see the permit be wasted when so many others can go. After you talk with them, let me know what they say so I can advise others with this same issue. Good luck! -Alicia

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  43. hi, I just made reservations but forgot to ask the latest check in time. I got lucky to get them on the phone after 5 tries and got too excited to remember to ask. Will they let us check in at 3am? By the time we get there at 10pm and hike it will be closer to 3am or so. Thank you.

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    1. I believe the office closes at 7pm, but I would call about a week ahead to confirm their times. It could have changed from last year. Good luck! -Alicia

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  44. I was able to reserve only 1 night, late Sept., mid-week for two people....Is it possible to go there and request a 2nd night???? I don't want to go for just the 1 night!

    thanks!

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    1. Most likely not. The reason you were only able to reserve 1 night is because everything is booked for the year. You can always ask, but don't plan on it. They are pretty strict with their rules :/-Alicia

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  45. Hey there! I was successful getting a campsite through their website. I'm curious if I need to make another payment for a permit? Or is this included in what I was charged online? I saw the image of your confirmation and I have the same one (:

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    1. No the reservation IS your permit - same thing. If you got the same email then you're good! Have a blast! -Alicia

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  46. This is a GREAT blog. Thank you for all the information. I read on another site that there are actually a lot of open camping spots at the campsite once you arrive, and that if you pay double upon arrival sometimes you can get a permit/campsite? I know that sounds risky but wondered if anyone who has visited recently saw this or experienced this? Also good information to know would be what is the amount of the fine if you arrive without a permit and then have to go back out....I am sure this plan is unadvisable but just thought I would ask. I know someone who is thinking of trying this and thought I might be able to get some clarification and discourage them if a super bad idea...THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

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    1. That's how they used to do it, but with all the new rules I don't believer they will let you in like that anymore. I would call to confirm. I don't know what the new fine is either for entering without a permit...I wouldn't risk it because you are on Navajo land and have to deal with their rules, not the US Government rules. If you call, let me know what they say for all their new rules/fines :) -Alicia

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  47. I backpacked Havasu the first week of Feb 2015 and 2016. I called non-stop starting Feb. 1 to make a reservation, but both times they told me I didn't need one for the dates I was going and to just come on down. I've head from others that have gone in Dec/Jan/Feb that they just hiked down without a reservation. There were a few other visitors down there when I went. I saw above where you mentioned it was closed to visitors Dec-Feb. I'm wondering if their approach changed in 2017, or whether they just don't strictly enforce the closed period. It was awesome having practically the entire campground, trail, and falls to myself.

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  48. Thanks for a great post. The problem with people getting a permit seems to be that the tour companies get to book all that they want, and what's left over goes on sale Feb 1. You can book tours right now for next year and they will guarantee permits for you. That's why they are so hard to get for the rest of the public. A salesperson confirmed to me on the phone that the tour operators have a separate agreement with the tribe for their permits.

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    1. Ahh interesting! Somewhat of a shame it works that way. I understand the tribe needs the money right away though. I hope they change the way it works in the future, like maybe a lottery style permit system. -Alicia

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