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Mule rides provide an intimate glimpse into the canyon for those who have the time, but not the stamina, to see the canyon on foot. Reservations are essential and are accepted up to 13 months in advance.
These trips have been conducted since the early 1900s. A comforting fact as you ride the narrow trail: no one's ever been killed while riding a mule that fell off a cliff. (Nevertheless, the treks are not for the faint of heart or people in questionable health.)
Xanterra Parks & Resorts Mule Rides. These trips delve into the canyon from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch, or east along the canyon's edge (the Plateau Point rides were discontinued in 2009). Riders must be at least 55 inches tall, weigh less than 200 pounds, and understand English. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Riders must be in fairly good physical condition, and pregnant women are advised not to take these trips.
The three-hour ride along the rim costs $125 (water and snack included). An overnight with a stay at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon is $507 ($895 for two riders). Two nights at Phantom Ranch, an option available from November through March, will set you back $714 ($1,192 for two). Meals are included. Reservations (by phone), especially during the busy summer months, are a must, but you can check at the Bright Angel Transportation Desk to see if there's last-minute availability. 888/297–2757. www.grandcanyonlodges.com. Reservations essential. Phantom Ranch rides daily; Rim rides mid-Mar.–Oct., twice daily; Nov.–mid-Mar., once daily.
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