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Take a Hike With Kate! Here’s What to Pack …

Hey, hey! We have a new series of posts coming at you for the next few months: Take a Hike With Kate! Kate Crowley is a freelance marketing and PR consultant living in Phoenix with her husband, dog, five chickens and busy schedule of hiking, swimming, running and yoga. This summer she plans to go on a pretty epic hiking adventure, and we get to follow along as she shares her adventures and top backpacking and hiking tips! 


Well it’s official; I’ll be hiking to Havasupai in June! The stunning waterfalls with blue-green water and isolated community in Havasu Canyon within the Havasupai Indian Reservation is a must-see when in Arizona — if you have time and plan ahead. Although not technically part of Grand Canyon National Park, the canyon is geographically part of the Grand Canyon.

Before you plan your own trip — be aware — you need a special pass for this hike, as only a certain number of people can enter the canyon at one time. It’s usually a pretty big commitment with time to drive to Northern Arizona. A day to hike the 10 miles into the canyon, a few days to camp, hike and explore once in the Supai village and waterfalls, and a day to hike out and drive home. In total, it’s roughly 35 miles of hiking.

Like most tribal communities, the Havasupai are closely connected to the water and the land. I’m an avid hiker, have had an interest in Native cultures and after spending four years of my career at the Heard Museum, it’s tough to believe I haven’t done this hiking trip!

Lucky for me, a local outfitter, Arizona Outback Adventures (AOA) takes small groups on the hike from the Phoenix area. Many visitors use a mule service to carry camping equipment into the canyon, and AOA utilizes this service, making this tour really accessible. You’re allowed to pack 15 pounds worth of items on the mule, not including your backpack. Basecamp amenities are provided by AOA, as well as the majority of our meals, making this an easy “yes” trip for me.

I do a lot of day-hiking, but not a ton of camping, so this type of tour appealed to me. AOA sent over a great intro packet and packing list, and I hit the REI spring sale (I’m a member) and finally got my own big backpack and sleeping bag, which I’ve been borrowing until now! So, here’s a partial list of what I’m bringing …


My Havasupai Packing List

  • Dayhike backpack with internal frame and room for water
  • Bladders to fill with water — more than 100 ounces
  • Duffel bag
  • Sunscreen (LOTS!)
  • Biodegradable soap and shampoo (a must in the canyon!)
  • Ziplock bags
  • Extra batteries and cell phone battery power bank and solar charger
  • GoPro waterproof camera (gotta get great photos of the blue waters!)
  • Waterproof watch
  • Watershoes
  • Trekking poles (Parts of the in-canyon hikes consist of fixed chains bolted into the limestone rock for support)
  • Travel pillow
  • Swimsuit and sportsbras that work as swimming tops
  • Travel towel
  • Book: I Am the Grand Canyon by Stephen Hirst
  • Leave-in hair conditioner
  • Flashlight
  • Lots of extra socks
  • Natural bug repellent
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes, maybe even a trowel in case nature calls
  • Body Glide (between the heat, hiking and water — it might be needed)
  • Margarita-flavored Shot Blocs (I have extra low sodium and will need extra salt. Oh, the things you learn via blood tests!)

Anything I’m forgetting? Any advice? Lay it on me! —Kate 

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1 Comment
  1. Jessica says:

    I hiked to Havasupai last August. We didn’t use mules so it took a little longer for us to get there. The waterfalls were beautiful. We were pretty bummed though with the reservation itself. It was very dirty and the people were very mean to us. They really did not want us there. Don’ even think about taking out your camera while in the reservation. Also we didn’t pack food because they said there was a restaurant. Well when we got there we found out the restaurant had burned in the kitchen so we had to order out food to some guy who was allowed to live in the village with his wife. $15 for a grilled cheese sandwich! Just stick right by the amazing waterfalls and definitely take time to go swimming!

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