Visit the Only Village Inside the Grand Canyon
by Michele Lent Hirsch/Smithsonian.com/November 2015
If you haven’t visited the village of Supai, there’s probably a good reason: The only town inside the Grand Canyon, it’s located deep inside a 3,000-foot-deep hole. The only way to get there is by hiking, riding an animal or taking a helicopter. In fact, it’s the most remote town in the lower 48 states—and it’s well worth the inconvenience.
Because it’s so remote, it’s also the only place in the country that receives mail deliveries by mule. Two hundred and eight people lived in Supai Village in 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and all of them get their mail by “mule train”—a series of linked mules carrying packages and letters. Each parcel that makes it out of Supai has a special postmark—one that’s well known to backpackers, who often mail out (or mule out) their heavy packs via the postal service rather than drag them back up eight steep miles.
Supai is part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, and the place where the Havasupai population has lived for more than 1,000 years—though the tribe has had to fight to retain the use of their own land.