If the Grand Canyon is one thing, it is large. Booking one or more of the available Grand Canyon tours is a great way to approach the monstrous canyon and can add that extra flare to your Grand Canyon vacation. Among the more popular Grand Canyon tours out there are the famed Grand Canyon mule rides. While hiking the Grand Canyon is an option some might consider, there are various dangers involved, especially when the oppressive heat of summer results in hundreds of hikers needing to be rescued. Simply put, there are no easy hiking trails at the Grand Canyon, and if hiking doesn’t sound like your thing, you can always head into the canyon on a Grand Canyon mule. On Grand Canyon mule trips, you can leave the difficult work of navigating the trails to the surefooted mules. Grand Canyon mule rides are not for everyone, however, and the tour groups will want to first make sure that you are fit for the trip.
First and foremost, you should know that Grand Canyon mule trips tend to fill up rather quickly, and it is invariably recommended that if you intend on securing a trip on the back of a Grand Canyon mule that you book in advance. Generally, you’ll want to book any Grand Canyon mule rides at least 6 months before arriving in Arizona, but if you can book even earlier than that, then all the better. Once you’ve had success booking your trip, you could still be denied your Grand Canyon mule ride if you fail to meet the rigid guidelines that are intended to maximize safety. If you are afraid of heights or have an inherent fear of large animals, then Grand Canyon mule rides definitely are not for you. Also, you should be in good physical shape, and those with knee, back or hip problems are advised to choose a different Grand Canyon tour. A ride on the Grand Canyon Railway or a Grand Canyon bus tour might be a better fit if that is the case. Also, as far as physical requirements go, all riders must weigh 200 lbs. or less, and all prospective riders will be weighed. Also, you must be at least 4'7" to ride a Grand Canyon mule and pregnant women are prohibited from participating. The final requirement for Grand Canyon mule rides is that you must be able to speak and understand English. If there are any doubts to your language level, you may be denied from riding.
At the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Grand Canyon mule trips are available year-round. These are generally more popular, and you are allowed to book a trip up to 13 months in advance. Grand Canyon mule rides can often be included with the various Grand Canyon vacation packages that can be arranged online, or from popular destinations in Arizona, as well as from Las Vegas. There are two primary Grand Canyon mule rides that embark from the South Rim, the first being the one-day, 7-hour ride to Plateau Point. These rides start at the Stone Corral, which is found at the beginning of the Bright Angel Trail, and they continue on deep into the canyon, some 1,300 feet below. A box lunch is included in the cost of your trip, so you need not worry about nourishment. The second trip is an overnight trip, which includes accommodations at the rustic Phantom Ranch. This trip is much more costly than the former, but on top of accommodations, breakfast, lunch and a steak dinner are offered. There are also 1-hour and 2-hour horse rides available from the South Rim, as well as twilight campfire rides and wagon rides.
Grand Canyon mule trips from the North Rim are less popular, yet nonetheless very rewarding. Due to the North Rim’s accessability issues, they are only offered from May through October. Unlike the South Rim Grand Canyon mule expeditions, the North Rim trips do not reach the Colorado River. A plus to the North Rim trips is that they can often be booked same-day, and you can register for one of the options at the Grand Canyon Lodge. A shuttle bus will take you from the lodge to the trail head, where you can embark on an hour-long ride, a half-day ride or a full-day inner canyon expedition. There is a 7 year age limit on the one-hour trips, a 10 year age limit for the half-day tours, and full-day riders must be at least 12 years of age. The Grand Canyon mule tours from the North Rim are well-priced and can be a great addition to your Grand Canyon vacation. So saddle up and hit the trails!