In 2018 Havasupai made online registration available for the first time for campground reservations. In prior years you had to call in to make reservations. This was the first year I have tried getting a permit for Havasupai, as I only heard of it a couple of years ago. I’ve read that in the past people would spend hours or days trying to get through. Which isn’t surprising considering how many people try to go to Havasupai and the number has only grown exponentially each year thanks to social media. So I never even bothered to try because I didn’t want to spend days trying to call in only to be told they’re all booked up. When I found out that they would be doing online registrations this year, I was pretty excited. I marked February 1, 2018 in my calendar and set several reminders. My original plan was just to do this solo. But then I realized that this would be a better trip with friends. So I recruited a good friend and he brought in another mutual friend. We quickly formed a plan a couple of days before registration was to go live.
Plan of Attack
Since I like to be in control when it comes to planning my trips and I don’t trust others with that responsibility, I made myself in charge of making the actual reservations. The trip was my idea afterall. The plan was to start with the first weekend after Labor Day, and work our way to the end of October until we found an opening. We were going for 4 days and 3 nights through a weekend. I even created a spreadsheet of all the possible dates to quickly reference because I didn’t know what the registration page would look like or what information they would ask for.
Havasupai Registration Process
Registration went live on February 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM Arizona time on their official reservation page. For me, that was 10:00 AM. I was actually at work in a workshop. But luckily we needed our laptops for it and there was WiFi in the room. Needless to say, I didn’t learn anything in that workshop. As 10:00 AM EST was approaching, I constantly hit refresh on my browser to see if it would load the registration page. I don’t have a screenshot of what the page looked like before registration opened, but it just had the basic information and told you to refresh/reload your page if you were seeing that page after 8:00 AM Arizona time that day. However, my browser wasn’t changing even after the time the reservation started. I thought it was a problem with them since it was the first time introducing this online system. I was sure that it would crash with all the people trying to access it at once. After about two minutes of hitting refresh, I decided to try a different browser and I was able to get through. This is what the page should look like. The Make A Campground Reservation button wasn’t there before registration went live.
Once you click on that Make A Campground Reservation button, you get taken to the page where you select the number of people and nights for you trip.
Now you pick your days using the calendar. As I was clicking the arrow to advance the calendar to September I kept seeing empty dates. It seemed like it was taking a long time for the calendar to advance. Even though it was only a few seconds, that was a few seconds more behind I was against the flood of other people trying to reserve spots. When I finally got to September the only available weekend was the last one, which was fine for us. However, I messed up because I clicked September 26 the arrival date then I clicked September 30 thinking that I need to give the end date. Wrong! I was in such a rush I didn’t bother reading the instructions “Select your start date” and almost didn’t notice that it changed my start date to September 30. By the time I noticed and tried to change it back to September 26 that weekend became unavailable. Pro tip: Read the instructions.
There were times that I selected a date later and it was no longer available. So instead of saying “Your selection is currently available“, it will say it’s unavailable. Notice the clock. Just having that there added extra pressure. You get 7 minutes to complete your reservation.
The next page is where you enter in your registration details. Ignore the differences in starting dates, I went back after I registered to capture the screenshots.
You have the option of putting a second person’s name down for the reservation – Optional Authorization. I’m not sure what happens if you are booking for a party of 1 and you put a different name down for the second person. On their site it says you cannot transfer your registration. But this optional authorization is for if the first person can’t go for some reason, the registration will still be valid if the person named in the optional authorization field is there. My assumption for parties of 1, the optional person listed could still use the reservation, if the main person cannot go.
That’s basically the entire registration process. I’m really surprised that their servers didn’t crash with this being the first time having the online system. I will say that it was a stressful process because you are rushing against the clock. And when you see all those date disappearing, it adds to the pressure. But in the end I was able to reserve for 4 days/3 nights during a weekend in our two month window, so I’m happy and excited for this adventure….only 9 months to go!!!
Things To Know
Pricing for 2018 is as follows and includes all necessary permits, fees, and taxes:
One Person, 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56
One Person, 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.12
One Person, 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67
Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Holiday weekday nights (February 19, May 28, July 4, September 3, October 8), and Spring Break weekday nights (March 5-8 and 19-22) are an additional $18.34 per night.
The “Fine Print”
There’s now a 4 day/3 night max reservation. But no limit on the number of reservations you can make.
You have to pay the entire reservation in full at registration and can only use one credit card. You cannot transfer or resell your permit. If caught doing this, you could be permanently banned from Havasupai.
The reservation is only valid if one of the two people listed on the reservation is present at the Tourist Check-in Office in the Village of Supai on the way to the campground with photo ID.
No day hiking permitted – all visits require at least a one night reservation made prior to arrival.
*You can find all this information at https://www.havasupaireservations.com/