Havasupai Tribe Pulls Tour Guides' Permits To The Popular Falls

By Holliday Moore
Published: Monday, January 28, 2019 - 11:58am
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2019 - 1:42pm

Visitors to the picturesque Havasupai Falls will have to go it alone on the eight-mile trail along the Grand Canyon gorge this year. 

The tribe has decided to ban travel-guided tours on the remote reservation.

In a given year, the tribe estimates Havasupai Falls gets about 30,000 to 40,000 visitors.

The long route down pays off in hues of green and blue cascading water along the canyon walls at the base of the remote reservation. But the tribe’s council has pulled the licenses from outfitters this year, opting instead to offer permits to tourists directly.

Adam Henry, with Discovery Treks, estimates his business will see a 35 to 40 percent drop in sales.  He said he respects the tribe’s decision, but worries visitors will miss out on the guides’ expertise in the canyon.

“There are lots of little places that we’re allowed to go that you probably wouldn’t know of otherwise,” said Henry. “There are little caves that you can go into, little other hikes that, if you don’t know about them, you probably won’t find them, especially with the limited time that most people are there.”

A spokesperson for the Havasupai Tribe said the decision is no reflection on the outfitters, but an effort to try and manage all tourism traffic in and out of the canyon itself.

The council plans to revisit issuing permits to tour guides in 2020.

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