Experience Havasu Falls and So Much More of Arizona

We built this itinerary knowing you want to see the iconic walls of the Grand Canyon and the incredible turquoise waters of Havasu Falls—and explore some less traveled locations while you’re in Arizona.
Prepared By:

Casey Adams

Towering red cliffs and desert climates define Arizona in our imaginations, so it’s no wonder that destinations like the colorfully inviting Havasu Falls garner so much attention and adoration. But this part of the world is rich in renowned destinations as well as peaceful locations you may never have heard of but certainly won’t forget.

This story was created in partnership with Visit Arizona.

We built this itinerary knowing you want to see the iconic walls of the Grand Canyon and the incredible turquoise waters of Havasu Falls—and explore some less traveled locations while you’re in Arizona. We recommend planning your visit for the spring or fall to reduce the impact of the larger crowds in the height of summer (and enjoy milder temperatures as an added bonus).

Load up your RV with lots of water and reusable water bottles, layers, and sunscreen and hit the highways of the American Southwest for the best of its falls, culture, and awe-inspiring landmarks.

RV on dirt road in Arizona at sunset

Day 1: Havasu Falls (and bonus waterfalls)

In early 2023, access to the falls reopened after three years of closure. Excitement to return to this special location is high, but there are specific processes to follow, including securing a permit in advance. Be sure you know what is required in advance before heading to Supai, Arizona, because without the correct permit and being prepared to spend the night, you’ll be unable to visit the falls. It will also be important for visitors to take extra diligence with the delicate landscapes, which are sacred to the Havasupai people indigenous to the area.

Once you’ve done thorough planning and preparation for the logistics, including the process of applying for and securing your permit, the final thing to do is check your backpack to ensure you’re ready for the long, stunning hike. We recommend slowing down and making the most of it, in part because it’s a demanding voyage and in part because putting your head down and powering to the destination means you’ll miss gems along the way. Gems like the relatively new Navajo Falls, which was created by a flash flood in 2008 and now lies tucked just out of sight along the trail to the better-known Havasu Falls. In fact, the twin falls’ upper cascade is even more often overlooked and worth the extra time to enjoy.

Havasu Falls in Arizona

When you do reach Havasu Falls 10 miles down the trail, whether you spend the night at Havasupai Campground or the Lodge, be sure to spend some time connecting. Not only the breathtaking view, but also with the people whose roots are here. According to the National Park Service, Havasupai means” people of the blue-green waters,” evidence of just how deeply connected they are to the water and the land, which is owned and managed by the Tribe.

Day 2: Mooney Falls & Beaver Falls

Why stop at two waterfalls when you’re so close to two more stunning plunges? Mooney Falls is only about .5 mile (less than 1 kilometer) from the Havasupai Falls Campground and well worth the extra steps. Two miles beyond Mooney Falls, you’ll find the wide cascade of Beaver Falls, which also offers smaller crowds and a peaceful setting to sit beneath a waterfall and appreciate Arizona’s wonders.

As you explore from your base camp today, stay on the trails out of respect for the people, plants, and creatures who are here for more than just a few nights. Fortunately, the trails will lead you to and around the various waterfalls of the area, helping with navigation, footing, and AppreciateAZ practices.

Two hikers at the bottom of a waterfall near Supai in Arizona

Day 3: Hike Out & Hit Route 66

After a second night in Havasupai Campground or in the Havasupai Lodge, rise and shine. Savor the hike back to your RV, remembering to take nothing more than photos with you (you don’t want any extra weight in your backpack anyway) and leave nothing behind.

Make the most of the time on the trail, then drive to Williams that night and overnight in the famous Route 66 community.

Alternative days 1–3: Williams to Phantom Ranch

Thanks to Phantom Ranch, Ribbon Falls is ​​the only waterfall in Grand Canyon National Park accessible without backpacking or rafting. What a unique way to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World! Because Havasu Falls requires a permit, this (also permitted) experience is great to line up as a backup waterfall quest in Arizona.

We recommend reserving a stay at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging below the canyon rim. Hiking down into the Grand Canyon is one of the most intimate—and physically demanding—ways to experience the canyon. After descending about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers), settle into your campsite or cabin for the night. 

The next morning, enjoy the six-mile (10 kilometers) hike to to Ribbon Falls on the North Kaibab Trail to add another waterfall to your Arizona checklist. The 100-foot travertine cascade with the red cliff backdrop is as stunning as it is refreshing to take a dip under.

Trees, cabins, and benches at Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Day 4: Discover Flagstaff

Whether you’re hiking back from Havasu Falls or from Phantom Ranch, the long, steep hike back to your RV will wear you out, but Flagstaff awaits! Just 90 minutes of driving from Grand Canyon National Park or three hours from the Havasupai Trailhead and you’ll be greeted by a brewery trail (the only trail your feet might be interested in at this point), outstanding dining options, and some fascinating museums and national monuments. Settle in for the night in Flagstaff to rest your feet before embarking on one last waterfall chase.

Day 5: Final Falls & Navajo Nation

After a leisurely start to the day including breakfast in Flagstaff, point the RV toward Payson, where you will find what some call one of Arizona’s best water hikes: the Water Wheel Falls. This short trail follows two rivers and takes hikers to a swimming hole and two waterfalls (Water Wheel Falls & Ellison Creek Cascade). Kids will enjoy watching tadpools in the pools and the adventurous may choose to top off their vacation with a jump from the cliffs (with extreme caution, of course!).

From here, you can explore Petrified Forest National Park, Navajo Nation, and so much more of Arizona’s carefully preserved, peaceful landscapes. If you’re headed back north toward the Grand Canyon, we recommend exploring the Painted Desert and stopping in the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City to deepen your understanding of the lands and their significance to Indigenous peoples. Fill up on a meal from a local business before hitting the open road again.

From Tuba City, your RV can carry you home or to even more of Arizona, whether your itinerary includes more waterfalls or not.

People looking at exhibit in Explore Navajo Interactive Museum

More Places Untraveled Stories

Discover Hidden Gem Destinations

Sign up to receive our newsletter and get travel tips to help you plan your next adventure!

Find out the location of the hidden gem pictured below in our next newsletter!

Punta Allen on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula


Thank you for signing up for the Untraveled newsletter!