[Info from the Official Havasupai Website as of 1/23/2019]
Pack Mules must be reserved BEFORE your visit!
ALL Pack Mules must be reserved in advance of your visit at HavasupaiReservations.com
There will be NO Pack Mule reservations done by phone
There will be NO Pack Mule reservations done in person.
ALL Pack Mule reservations must be done online.
Pack Mules (fees are per Pack Mule)
All fees are subject to change without prior notice.
Between Hilltop Trailhead and Campground Entrance: $400 round trip.
One Pack Mule can carry a maximum of 4 bags and a total of 130 pounds.
Each individual bag must weigh no more than 32.5 pounds.
Maximum baggage size: 36 inches long and 19 inches wide.
Maximum size and weight limits are strictly enforced.
Many people put their backpacks into a duffel bag for extra protection.
Ice chests, coolers, and hard-sided luggage are NOT permitted.
$300 extra for a late run (if you miss the 7AM campsite drop off).
Note: As an option it is possible to transport gear via the Helicopter. But be aware it does not fly every day. It is only transported via air between the hilltop trail head, and the village if Supai. You have to pack it yourself between the village and the campground. Check on Air arrangements and policy changes prior to your trip.
Prior info/Grayed out info, shown below is scheduled for removal.
There are 3 drop points depending on which way you are headed.
Hilltop Trail Head Parking Area
Packing “IN”. Call a week before your trip to arrange and reserve. This can be tough if you are going in a time frame the office is busy making annual reservations.
If using animals for packing “OUT” only, arrange in the Camper Check-in Office (down in the village of Supai) when you check in, on your way in. Make sure you get a pack tag or whatever the latest process dictates.
Ask what the latest procedure is if you arrive early and want to drop your gear and start hiking before any of the wranglers are around. There is normally a designated drop location. Ask about tagging procedure or how payment or proof of payment works? You may have to have your own tags along. I personally would have my own tags already made for the trip down. You need to include your name, your group leader name, and whether the pack is going to the “Campground” or the “Lodge”
Saddle Horse transport for human riders appears to be available. The following was taken off the official Havasupai Tribe website 8/13/2019.
Saddle (Riding) Horses (fees are per Saddle Horse)
Between Campground (or Lodge) and Hilltop Trailhead: $250 one way.
Between Campground and Village: $175 one way.
Limitations: Maximum body weight of 250 lbs, small daypack no more than
10 lbs, long pants, and at least some prior horseback riding experience.
Pack Animal Rates and Information
Cooler & Duffle Bag size restrictions on Pack Animals
*** Duffle bags size limts 36 inches long, and 21 inches wide (Standard Military issue size)
*** Coolers can not exceed 48qts and dimensions must be equal to or less than 24 inches Length, 19 W, 16 H.
A great source to purchase Duffle Bags is to visit your local Army Surplus store. Most major cities have such stores under various business names.
Pack Animal Round trip $264
Pack Animal One way $132
If you are an early hiker be prepared for pack animal transported gear to arrive well after you. That may delay you setting up camp for hours.
When hiking down, gear can be dropped at the Trail Head Parking area. Be sure it is tagged for Drop at the Camp Ground Entrance, or Lodge. Try to make personal contact with your wrangler. Highly recommended if this is your first trip. But if you are setting out early, this might not be possible. Try to find a fellow hiker in the know, or look for signs of where to place your gear and how to tag it.
For the trip down your pack animal has to be pre-paid for. If you are doing a drop and hike with no contact at the trail head. You should have asked and received instructions from the Camper/Tourist Office at the time you made your pack animal reservation.
When hiking back out, gear can be tagged and dropped for pickup at the Camp Ground Entrance, or at the Lodge. It will be transported to the Trail Head Parking area. For the one way return trips pay and pick up your pack tag when you pass through the Camper Check In Office once you hike down to the village of Supai. Some people get confused their first trip thinking the Camper Check In Station is at the Trail Head. It is not. It is a hike of approximately 9 miles beyond the Trail Head, down to the village of Supai.
I normally hit the trail real early. Before first light. If you are the same early bird type, and use pack animals your Gear will probably pass you on the trail and be there before you arrive. But there are stories that people have waited on Gear until mid afternoon. If you are under a time crunch when leaving you need to really think this through.
If you are leaving as a group, or needing to catch a flight home….or want to set up camp as soon as you get there, it is best to backpack all of your own belongings.
It is especially important on the day you leave if you must depart to be somewhere at a designated time. Your gear may take all day to make it back to the Trail Head. Pack it out yourself if you are concerned.
By the way, try to always tip your wrangler.
On the subject of the animals condition or as some indicate, abuse. This subject pops up from time to time on both the site and the associated Facebook Group. We are not here to take a side other than to say it is none of our business. None of our business, at least not in this format. We want to be clear we don’t condone posts or remarks on the subject. From either side since it always results in a huge battle, name calling, threats, and no resolution. There are over reactive people on both sides of this issue.
One group is claiming animal cruelty, misuse, and poor conditions, they feel some animals are subject to. Some individuals have serious negative opinions on this matter. Making a huge fuss that this treatment goes beyond normal working conditions. That all may or may not be true.
The other group is claiming the animals are treated well, by people that honor and respect their animals. Most are in fine shape. After all, these animals are the prime source of income and transportation for some people. They can’t afford to have them injured or dying. They point to the fact these are work animals. Don’t expect well groomed horses from a city dude ranch. This also may or may not be true.
All we can recommend is: If you have your own concerns with this, make your own personal choice before using pack animals.
Regardless of your opinion, this is not the venue to debate the issue. Those that don’t get what we are saying have a personal problem with knowing when and where to speak. Just because you talk louder or post with thoughts you view as effective, it doesn’t mean people are listening, get swayed to your way of thinking, or even care what you are saying.
Some over zealous people from both sides want to use our media (not theirs) to spout out their opinions from both sides of this issue. They then want to attack us and our policy of not taking a side, or even allowing comments on the subject.
These are the people that truly have personal problems and need to remove themselves from our Facebook Group and Comments. We suggest you seek professional help to cope with things you feel strongly about that don’t seem to be going your way.
These are the people that are hiding behind anonymous user names and post on other peoples social media to continually stir the pot. I love some of the personal attacks they spew out attempting to intimidate others into agreeing with their point of view. (We see it from both sides). They do not have a clue the world doesn’t all revolve around the way they think.
We don’t allow Political and Religious posts for the same reason.
If you have strong convictions on the matter we respect that and your thoughts. But our respect stops for the people that try to voice those thoughts through this site or our associated Facebook group knowing that it is not allowed.
Those creating types of comments or posts that cause arguments and veiled threats when someone doesn’t have the same idea about something. We make every effort to block, ban, and report these people as social media bullies.
There are two opinions, and we aren’t solving it on here. This site is about Backpacking and things to expect in the area of Supai. Not for opinions on animal treatment, religion, politics, fixing your car, or other side tangents.
If you need a place for soapbox type postings or comments, please take the time, and use your own money and resources, to create and maintain your own site, Then gather a following of like minded people that love sharing in negativity, and arguing back and forth with their righteous opinions, from both sides of the subject. I am sure you will get a following from either side you stand on. Allow the arguing, bickering, and name calling, on your own social media.
For those not aware of the subject of concern, please be aware.
In 2016 tribal reservation law enforcement, and federal law enforcement, addressed issues raised by horse rescue organizations. This after outsiders started a negative campaign on social media. Hopefully any actual problem has been eliminated.
That has left lasting damage to relationships between locals and outsiders visiting the area. That includes all of us that visit the area. Many of which don’t even use pack animals.
Our personal opinion is this issue should be handled locally by tribal law and tribal law enforcement.
Further, I wouldn’t be joking around about this in front of locals.
If you have a strong opinion that needs addressed, talk to someone in authority in the village. But of course you may not like their response either.
If you must react, don’t take it to social media that does not belong to you, and attempt to stir negative feelings in a group you found just because it has lots of members. If you don’t have the where with all to do this person to person with someone in tribal authority, don’t start complaining from your mobile device through our site. We aren’t on here for that. Create your own and enjoy your own following.
Most of us feel we are guests that are only visitors to this area and this society. A society with differing laws, and enforcement priorities. Most of us that have been visiting for years feel privileged we are allowed to even access the area.
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