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Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls will reopen to visitors after 3 years of closure

(CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will reopen to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch.

The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will initially be limited to a certain small group.

People whose previous reservations have been suspended will have the first chance to reschedule a visit to the falls and the charming aquamarine pool at its base.

Havasu Falls is on Havasupai Indian Reservation land and is controlled by the tribe. The preserve is adjacent to but not part of Grand Canyon National Park. The tribe controls all access to the falls.

No new bookings for 2023 are on offer, but if you’re really keen on going this year, there’s a potential loophole if you’re lucky and able to be flexible.

If those whose visits have been suspended are unable to reschedule their visit, their places will be opened via an online listing.

Tight schedule to see Havasu Falls

The response time for people to reschedule is tight, and the tribe warned that “this is a new registration process and there may be delays while we work through the system.”

On Thursday, Jan. 26, the tribe sent out detailed and informative emails to trip leaders who had arrival dates from Feb. 1-28, 2023, according to its latest Facebook post.

Some hopeful visitors have reported finding it difficult to make new arrangements so quickly and work with check-in times to begin the trek.

One person posted: “I appreciate the update, but I really wish it was quicker. It really changes my travel plans, so my childcare arrangements. You provide one day notice. week. My booking is for 2/3.”

Why has Havasu Falls been closed for so long?

Havasu Falls is only part of the larger Havasupai Reservation. The unique health issues faced by Native American tribes contributed to the long shutdown, the tribe noted.
“We closed our reservation in March 2020,” the tribe wrote on its website. “With limited access to meaningful health care, closing the reserve was the best way to keep our community safe and healthy. We have remained closed to tourists ever since.”
Then in October 2022, severe flooding damaged trails and bridges used not only by tourists but also by tribal members in the village of Supai, where about 200 people live, according to VisitArizona.com.

Finally, the tribe said they have issues with their third-party tour operator.

But with the debris cleaned up and a new tour operator on board, the Havasupai has set the reopening for February 1.

The difficult trek to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls: A tough hike to a delicious destination.

Richey Miller/Cal Sport Media/AP

It is not easy to access or leave the site.

It’s a long hike from the rim of the canyon – eight miles (13 kilometers) to the village of Supai and another two miles (3.2 kilometers) to the falls. And then you have to go back up and out.

Visitors should be physically fit, able to carry at least a gallon of water (there are no water sources on the trail), and be prepared for a tough trek in the desert, NPS said.

In summer, temperatures can reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Trails are closed when the temperature exceeds this number.

Top image: Havasu Falls in Supai, Arizona. (Photo by Richey Miller/Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

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