Havasu Falls to remain closed through August due to flash flood
PHOENIX — A popular hiking and camping destination in northern Arizona will be closed to visitors until the end of August because of flood damage.
The Havasupai Tribal Council announced on its website Tuesday that the Havasu Falls on the Havasupai reservation in the Grand Canyon would remain closed until Aug. 31.
The council said it would work with visitors to reschedule their trips if necessary.
The community was impacted by a flash flood on July 11 and 12 that forced the evacuation of about 200 tourists by helicopter. No one was seriously injured.
The Havasupai tribe said Thursday that rock slides and mud cut off access to a 10-mile hiking trail that goes through Supai village to the campground. The mule train that delivers mail also has been halted.
The tribe spent $25,000 to feed, clothe and evacuate about 200 people who stayed overnight in a community building in the village.
Emergency repairs to the hiking trail and in the village and campground are expected to top $250,000 – a cost the tribe said it cannot shoulder without outside help.
Travelers from around the world compete each year for a camping reservation.
It is a 10-mile hike from the trailhead to the campground, which is between two of the signature waterfalls, Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls.
The canyon is accessible only by foot, helicopter or mule ride, making it crucial to have as much of a heads-up as possible when floods are approaching so people can seek higher ground.
During monsoon season, rain can fall heavy and fast. Flood waters often rush unexpectedly through normally dry canyons and washes, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Ten members of an Arizona family were killed last July when a torrent of rain water rushed through a swimming hole in a canyon northeast of Phoenix.
In another incident, seven people died at Utah’s Zion National Park in September 2015 when they were trapped in a flash flood while hiking at a popular slot canyon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.