Tourists flock to Grand Canyon in Arizona every year, but equally alluring to many photographers is the adjoining Havasu Canyon, where blue-green water cascades into travertine pools.
Havasu Canyon, which is on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, is in a remote location—you have to take a helicopter, ride a horse or hike on foot to get there. Havasu Creek, which flows through the canyon, carries a large amount of calcium carbonate, which forms limestone along the creek bed. Reflected sunlight produces the water’s beautiful blue-green color.
A flash flood in August of 2008 destroyed the canyon’s Navajo Falls, but created two other waterfalls. The flood also changed Havasu Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in the world. Water still cascades 100 feet into a turquoise pool below, but the water flow is no longer split in two, but is confined entirely to one side of the falls. Majestic 200-foot-high Mooney Falls suffered the least change, but the flood filled its pool with silt.
Tourists are invited to view the scenery and swim beneath the waterfalls in water that maintains a year-round temperature of about 70 degrees. There are helicopter flights to the canyon for day tours, and there is also camping and lodging available. Reservations are limited. Information can be found at the tribe’s website, www.havasupai-nsn.gov