The Camper Check-in Office is down in the village of Supai. Not at the trail head as some people might image. Once you hike down you must check-in before proceeding to the camping or waterfalls area that is beyond the village another 2 miles.
Camping Tourist Office Hours (Info updated Feb 2019)
May-October 6 A.M- 6 P.M
November-April 9 A.M- 3 P.M
Be sure to stop there to get your wrist band and tent tag for access to the campgrounds.
You need to have reservations to enter the area. Don’t attempt it without them.
You or your group leader must have the reservation number, and all must have valid ID when actually hiking down into the area. Do not leave the trail head and hike to the village without having the reservation number and your valid ID.
You should have made reservations, so you need to stop in here and pick up your camping passes (Some years it has been a wrist band, other years a tag that goes on your pack, and one for tents). If that is all that is needed you can be on your way after checking in.
Group leaders (and all members), and individuals going it alone, must be checked in when passing by the Camper Check-in office after hiking to the village of Supai. All individuals must have a ID Wrist band, or personal tag, issued by the Camper Check-in office. Each group leader is also issued one group tent tag. [subject to current year procedures] If you are a single visitor that means you will have an ID wrist band or personal tag, plus a tent tag.
If a members of groups are not all arriving at the same time you need to make arrangements on how to get your ID wrist band or personal tag from your group leader that secured reservations and paid for you. It is best to all hike in together.
You will need to present your wrist band or personal tag at the entrance to the campground to gain access. If you pass through when no one is in the office checking or campground entrance (has never happened to me), you will be checked by someone walking through the campground daily. I assume you will be made to hike back up to the village the next morning to check in?. Avoid all of this by not hiking in at odd hours. You are not suppose to be hiking in the dark anyway. Nor hiking through the village during off hours.
The tent tag is affixed to your tent (if a single camper), or to the group leaders tent. In the case of the group leader it specifies how many people are in the group. I assume all people of a group need to be in the general vicinity of the single tent tag that is issued. Rangers do come through the camp area on a daily basis checking tent tags.
On your day of departure, and your hike out from the campground, (if having gear packed out via pack animal) drop your pack at the entrance (horse corral area) to the campground and it will be picked up and delivered to the trail head for you. Be sure to affix your tag that you should have from paying for the service.
I have had my gear arrive up to the Hilltop parking area, anywhere from 10AM to 1PM. I always tip the wrangler $10 or $20 if the bag is in good condition and everything is there. (I have never had anything come up missing, but damage can occur if you leave loose straps)
While checking in at the Camper Check in building purchase a few post cards and stamps (or take stamps with you). You will want to mail these for the unique postmark. Post cards are also available for purchase in the store.
Just beyond the Camper Check-in building (still on the west side of the trail) there is an open field and helicopter landing pad. Beyond the helicopter pad is the Cafe. Across the street (the east side) from the cafe is the Store and Post Office. Mail post cards in the post office. Be sure to mail one to yourself. The post mark is very unique and will be a memento of your trip, you will cherish.
The path or street within Supai is all dirt. Expect dust or mud depending on the weather conditions. Expect dogs, horses, and locals. The locals for the most part keep to themselves. Be respectful. You are the outsider and this is their home. For the most part I have found them all friendly if you take the time and sit and talk.