Arizona's Havasupai Falls to Remain Closed Until June
Arizona's Havasupai Falls will remain closed until the summer after the Havasupai Tribe made the decision to extend its suspension of tourism.
The northern Arizona falls, which have been closed since 2020 to protect against the spread of COVID-19, will now remain shut to the public until at least June.
"There are still so many unknowns with the new COVID-19 variants that for the health and safety of our tribal community, it is in the best interest to remain closed to tourists," Chairman Thomas Siyuja Sr. said in a statement provided to USA Today's Arizona Republic on Jan. 5. "The tribe has been actively involved in vaccination efforts in order to protect the community and tribal members in Supai Village. The Havasupai Reservation has been on lockdown and will remain on lockdown for the foreseeable future. This is done out of an abundance of caution for the protection and survival of tribal members."
As a result of the closure, the National Park Service has requested anyone taking a river trip to "voluntarily bypass Havasu Canyon on the Colorado river… [in] an effort to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to further safeguard the Havasupai people and their traditional lands."
"River guides and boaters are encouraged to honor this request out of respect and safety for the Havasupai people," the NPS added.
In a typical year, visitors to the falls (one of the world's most beautiful) must make a reservation. Reservations tend to get so popular, they practically sell out the first day they are made available each year.
Travelers who had a reservation for the first half of 2022 are being rebooked for the same dates in 2023, according to the Arizona Republic. The tribe will not be taking any more reservations for this year.
A representative for the Havasupai Tribe did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure.
The decision to extend the suspension of tourism comes as many Indigenous communities in Arizona are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, but at a much lower level than the state as a whole, the Arizona Mirror reported.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.