Horseback Riding in the Grand Canyon
Mules have long been used as pack animals and for transportation in the Grand Canyon area because they are strong and surefooted. The common notions that they are stubborn and uncooperative are not true - if they are well trained and handled properly, mules are dependable companions.
Today mule rides are offered by concessionaires at both the North Rim and South Rim areas in Grand Canyon National Park.
North Rim Mule Trips
The season for mule rides at the North Rim runs from mid-May through mid-October. A variety of outings are offered including 1-hour rides along the canyon rim, 1/2-day trips along the rim to Uncle Jim's Point, 1/2-day trips under the rim down North Kaibab Trail to Supai Tunnel, and full-day trips down North Kaibab to Roaring Springs.
None of the trips offered from the North Rim go all the way to the Colorado River.
For reservations call Grand Canyon Trail Rides, (435) 679-8665, or visit them at www.canyonrides.com.
South Rim Mule Trips
Mule rides at the South Rim are offered by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, (888) 297-2757). Rides fill up quickly during the summer season. Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance.
The 3-hour Abyss Overlook ride departs twice daily and books up quickly. It is best to make advance reservations. It runs through a beautiful woodland to a magnificent vista on the canyon rim.
An overnight ride follows the Bright Angel Trail to the bottom of the canyon. Participants stay at Phantom Ranch, a historic oasis near the Colorado River in the heart of the Grand Canyon. Riders return to the South Rim the next day, again following the Bright Angel Trail. Alternately, a 2-night option is available. Meals and accommodations are included in the price of the ride. The ride must be reserved and paid in advance.
Horseback and mule rides are offered by many businesses located just outside Grand Canyon National Park. When you choose lodging, inquire about rides in the local area.
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