Heavenly Havasu

Arizona Grand Canyon National Parks & Monuments Travel

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

How could it be? We’ve made it to our final full day in the Canyon. Today we wake early for a quick continental breakfast and make a sack lunch for a picnic later. It’s going to be another eventful day! We head out on the rafts and surf down the river for about an hour, entering the Mojave Desert on our way to Havasu Canyon. Anticipation is high! We’ve heard so much about this place from the guides, we can’t wait to frolic. We stop right in the middle of a rapid and the guides do an expert job of parallel parking our boats as the rapids bump on.

Lower Ledges campsite, Grand Canyon
Our parking spot for the Havasu Canyon hike was right in the middle of a rapid.
Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon

Hiking beside the Havasu Creek towards the canyon, we can see the calcium carbonate mixing into the water for that delightful, pearly blue color. I don’t know about everyone else, but I had a little hop-skip-jump to my step with the excitement of what was around the corner! Yippee! Let’s play!

Havasu Creek, Grand Canyon
Our first glimpse of the wonderland that is Havasu Canyon! Our group set up base camp here but we wanted to wander farther.
Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon

So how cool is this?! A magical porthole to the next universe? It sure felt like it! We climbed up the cliff, through this small tunnel and entered a land like no other. A trail led us alongside Havasu Creek and we wandered upstream, passing pools and waterfalls, grottoes and amazing vistas of the surrounding canyons. We came to a rock scramble and a steep cliff and here is where I learned a really good lesson from the canyon: don’t sit down unless you look first! Seems like common sense, but well, you know, it’s me we’re dealing with here.

You’re probably chuckling a bit, and you should be, because sure enough, in an attempt to make it down a steeper portion of the trail, I had inadvertently sat on the remnants of a dried up thorn bush! Note to self: even dead sticker bushes are prickly! So now, Daniel and I are both giggling trying to pluck minuscule thorns from the butt of my nylon shorts. I decide, well, screw it, I’m just going to take my shorts off for easier plucking. Sure enough, just as I get my shorts off, our guide Lucky, rounds the corner and sees me standing half naked in the middle of the trail with a sheepish look on my face. He pauses, smiles, asks if we need tweezers and when we decline, he heads off full speed ahead up the trail. Daniel and I look at each other and full belly laugh as I struggle my wet shorts back on over my sandals. We continue trucking upstream.

Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon

We find a spot upstream with a pretty little waterfall above a large pool. The time flew by as we jumped from the rocks and floated around the pool, gazing up at the wonderland that is Havasu Canyon. It was another one of those moments where we just wanted to take a deep breath and inhale all the magic of this incredible place.

Our time in Havasu Canyon was much too short, but we were grateful for this little glimpse of heaven. Back we went to the boats to travel downstream for a picnic lunch in Tucked In Canyon where Travis read us an excerpt from the Wind in the Willows. We munched away while he read….

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing…about in boats — or with boats… In or out of ’em it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, that’s the charm of it.” – Kenneth Grahame.

Next stop, Lava Falls, then our last campsite of the trip. Lava Falls is the only rapid on the Colorado that is actually called a ‘falls.’ Believe me, this did not disappoint! WHITEWAAATERRRRRR! We all hooted and hollered and squealed with joy as we dropped 30 feet down Lava, there was an air of happy excitement as we landed on the beach just below the Falls to set up camp. Tonight, Lucky tells us, is the Captain’s Dinner! All the boys need to fashion a tie out of something, girls need to dress to the nines! Challenge accepted.

Epic last night dinner, awesome music by Travis, and we tuck ourselves in for one last Canyon sleep on our Grand Canyon Western River Expeditions trip . Tomorrow we helicopter out!


I'm an only child who grew up on a sailboat, a lover of adventure, a mom, wife, an RN, and a friend of all dogs.


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