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Overview of the Havasupai West Mesa Trail

If you have already seen Havasu Canyon’s five majestic waterfalls (Upper Navajo Falls, Lower Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls) and you are looking for yet another adventure in the canyon, then you should check out the West Mesa Trail, HIGH above the Havasu Canyon Campground. Beware that this trail is NOT for the faint of heart; one wrong move on your part (or on the part of “nature” or of someone you are exploring with) and you will fall either to your death or you will fall and land in such a way that leaves you catastrophically injured. No joke! Before reading any further on how to access this potentially catastrophic (and equally awesome) trail, please re-visit the Best of Zona Disclosure Page located here.

Okay, now that you have assumed all responsibility for venturing on the Havasupai West Mesa Trail (if you choose to do so), please feel free to continue reading and learning the details for one of the best excursions in Havasu Canyon!

For more details on accessing and staying in Havasu Canyon and seeing the many glorious waterfalls in this amazing oasis, see the Havasupai Guide.

Hiking on the West Mesa Trail

Logistics

The West Mesa Trail trailhead is only a few hundred feet away from the entrance to the Havasupai Campground; most people walk past the trailhead for the West Mesa Trail without even knowing it (see clip below with green highlight and arrow for the location). The trail goes BEHIND the Havasupai graveyard (please observe and abide by ALL posted signs in the vicinity of the graveyard). At approximately the location of the arrow shown below, there is a steep ascent that you will need the assistance of a rope for (unless you are an AMAZINGLY EXPERIENCED rock climber). Every time I have gone, there has already been a rope in place that is sturdy. That said, bringing an extra rope along that you can use to lasso on a tree at the top of the ascent wouldn’t be a bad idea…just in case the courtesy rope isn’t there when you go. If there is an existing rope there, be sure to test it out thoroughly to ensure it can hold your weight (before putting your full, unsupported weight on it).

Havasupai West Mesa Trail

Once you have ascended this first and only major climb, walk a bit to the west and you will run into a well-worn trail. If you head north (right) you will run into awesome views of Mooney Falls at about 1.5 miles (one way) and you will run into views down on Beaver Falls at about 3.5 miles (one way). If you head south (left), you will run into awesome views of Upper Navajo Falls at about 1.25 miles (one way). PLEASE NOTE: you will get awesome views of these waterfalls, but on this trail, you will NOT have access to get down to the respective waterfalls.

I have ventured to Havasu Canyon half a dozen times at the time of writing this post. The only time I have ever seen a rattlesnake was while on the West Mesa Trail – BE CAREFUL! Also, beware that some would say there are mountain lions present up on the mesa; I have never seen one, nor do I believe they are present, but I would be remiss by not mentioning it since I read elsewhere that there is a chance they are present (if you do see one, do NOT run and DO make yourself as big, scary, and loud as possible to try and scare it off).

A few special notes for the West Mesa Trail:

  • Never do this trail alone; always hike with at least three people in your hiking party…and STAY TOGETHER!
  • Be sure to bring PLENTY of water along with you. There are no springs up on the mesa and it gets much hotter on this trail than down in the lower oasis of Havasu Canyon.
  • Be careful, be careful, be careful. Do not attempt this hike if you are a novice, have a fear of heights, have any equilibrium or balance issues, or have any inkling of a reservation about attempting it after reading the warnings and disclosures in this post.

Gear & Gadgets

Do not attempt this hike if you are only in Havasu Canyon for the day or for a single overnight; you won’t have the energy, time, or supplies to do so. Assuming you are staying in the area for at least a few days, you should get by just fine with a day pack. Check out my Day Pack Gear Guide for some ideas. Aside from that, bring plenty of water and snacks, and possibly even a good two-way radio so you can communicate with people down below you (or elsewhere along the trail) if needed.

Further Reading

Day Trip Gear Guide

Photography Gear & Gadgets

Havasupai Guide

Leave No Trace Principles

Outdoor and Wilderness First Aid

Beaver Falls

Havasu Falls

Mooney Falls

Lower Navajo Falls

Upper Navajo Falls

Exploring Havasupai, by Greg Witt

About The Author

Jeremy Meek is a native Arizonan with a passion for adventure and discovery of unique experiences. Whether exploring Arizona or setting out on an adventure abroad, Jeremy is constantly scouting truly great adventures and experiences.

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