4 day/ 3 night Camping Trip to Havasupai Indian Reservation with BG Wild
Seeing these insta-famous waterfalls up close and personal when you can’t get a permit of your own, or you just want to glamp it up
Getting a permit to hike Havasu Falls is an incredibly difficult feat, so nowadays there are some major operators that bring people into the canyon with secured reservations. BG Wild is one of those companies, and is more affordable than the rest ‘em. The 4 day, 3 night extravaganza includes 20-miles round-trip through the Arizona desert, incredible views of Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls and all the other waterfalls in-between, and some of the most scenic yoga you’ve ever practiced. Read on for our experience visiting Havasupai with BG Wild.
We opted for the RT transportation from Phoenix because we flew in from SF the night before and didn’t want to rent a car that would just sit at the trailhead for 4 days. You will need to be at the BG Wild kitchen in Tempe at 3:30 AM, which is questionably early, but do-able. While it is an early wake-up call, it does the trick, and you can sleep the entire 5 hours it takes to drive to Havasupai.
Getting back to Phoenix at the end of the trail was a little bit tricky because our departure was dependent on the supplies, packs and people in our van. While we hiked out, our packs came on the helicopter as did our van-mates. By the time we hiked out and reached the trailhead, it was 12PM. Our packs did not arrive until 2PM and our van-mates did not arrive until 5PM. We actually ended up hitching a ride back to Phoenix because we were worried about making our flight. Disclaimer: BG Wild did warn us about the tight timeline for making a flight, but we had no option so we took the risk and had to improvise.
With a group size of 30, we were pretty interested to learn how the hiking logistics would work out. Turns out the BG Wild group doesn’t hike all together, and you’re pretty much on your own as far as getting down to the campground. This is great because you can hike at your own pace and you aren’t stuck in a flock of people you barely know. The trail is pretty straightforward (you cannot get lost) and fairly populated.
There were 4 of us who came in the van from Phoenix, which turned out to be the perfect sized group to hike together and we enjoyed getting to know each other along the way. We formed a little crew for the weekend right from the start, which was fun.
We’ve never hiked in the Grand Canyon before and although the hike is through the Hualapai and Havasu Creek Canyons, it’s basically tomato, tomahto. Same red rock formations, different canyon walls. It is 8 miles from the trailhead to the Supai village, and then another 2 miles to the campground after that. You can read more details about the actual hike here.
On the way back, we were surprised to learn just how many people choose to take the helicopter in order to skip the hike. We thought about taking the helicopter for a minute, simply considering that we’d never been in one and the $85 a pop is pretty reasonable… but upon seeing the line, immediately said “NOPE” and hiked our bootys outta there.
The campground is a mile long, and kind of a clusterf*ck considering how crowded it is and the fact that people are allowed to pitch a tent anywhere they can find space. Yes, you read that right. Luckily, BG Wild manages to curb the anxiety over the campground situation by staking out a tip-top spot near the entrance all season long. Their home-base is pretty clutch with a nice setup full of hammocks, inflatable loungers, grills and picnic tables for meals and hanging out. You can pitch your tent in their area as well, but the recommendation is to find some cozy little nook or cranny away just away from the hustle and bustle of the BG Wild area (but not too far).
BG Wild’s site at the front of the campground made it much easier for packing in and out, and provided access to the water supply and toilets. Speaking of toilets, they were a hot mess for lack of better words, brimming to the top with poop, no TP and smelled reaaaaaally bad.
Holy guacamole, BG Wild is cookin’ up a feast. Their grillmasta skills are easily some of the best parts of camping with BG Wild and you’ll be eating like a queen (or king). Everyone helps pitch in with the cooking and we enjoyed full-on 4-star buffets for breakfast and dinner. Food included everything from bacon and eggs for breakfast to raviolis, shrimp, steak and yummy veggies for dinner.
Our only gripe about the food is that lunch isn’t provided, just snacks. It’s in the fine print of the website when you sign-up, but it was pretty obvious on our trip that no one was prepared (including us). We do give credit to whoever picked out the snacks because they were totally on point, but for most people, snacks are not enough sustenance when you are hiking / adventuring around all day. For the price, we definitely think a packed lunch could go a long way.
For an additional charge, BG Wild can help arrange for your packs to be transported to and from camp. The main thing you should know about getting your pack transported is that you will be waiting for your pack on both ends. Your pack goes in the helicopter sling, and given the insane number of people utilizing the helicopter, is basically at the mercy of the helicopter company to get your pack into and out of the Supai village landing pad. Once it arrives in the village, it then has to be strapped onto a horse/mule that carries it the rest of the way to camp. On arrival, we didn’t get our packs until 7PM and arrived around 3PM. On departure, we received our packs at 2PM back at the trailhead.
We want to point out that BG Wild does not employ the use of the horses or mules to get the packs in/out of the village, which is a good thing. While they do use them to go from the village to the campground, the route is a minimal distance. We saw many bleeding, exhausted and over-exerted horses/mules on the trail, and it was fairly upsetting.
While we didn’t meet all the BG Wild staff, we can say that from the members we did meet, we love ‘em all! The crew is incredibly knowledgeable, organized, and always willing to help answer questions. Our leader, Mikey, put in an incredible effort to make sure that everyone was having the best possible time. Each day he organized anyone who wanted to join him for the day’s activity and he took us to the waterfalls, showed us an awesome cave, some off-the-beaten-path spots to explore and even a spot for cliff jumping.
On day 3 of our Havasupai adventure, BG Wild held an hour long yoga class down by Havasu Falls. It is quite literally one of the best places we’ve ever been in down dog. We used a towel on the soft ground and it was perfect. Not sure our instructor was truly certified to teach yoga, but the class was more about the scenery than technicality anyways. We would have loved if there were more classes offered, but then again, we were pretty wiped out from all the hiking anyways.
We unfortunately did not have time to get a full hour-long massage, but that is only because we were so busy exploring and having the time of our lives playing in the canyon. Our 15-minute complimentary one definitely made us regret that we never signed up for the full slot!
Thanks to BG Wild for partnering on an incredible couple of days in Havasupai. All opinions are 100% honest and completely our own.
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