Grand Canyon Mule Trip

Jul 7th, 2005, 09:37 AM
  #1  
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Grand Canyon Mule Trip

I am re-posting under "Arizona".

Hubby and I are planning another trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon in December.

We are going to do the mule trip to Phantom Ranch, and we have the option of either the 2 day trip (day 1 ride in, day 2 ride out), or the 3 day trip (day 1 ride in, day 2 at Phantom Ranch, day 3 ride out).

Not sure which one to book (they're both available).

Has anyone done the 3 day trip? Is it worth spending the extra day at the bottom of the canyon to explore on our own?

Thanks for your help & sorry about the double posting.

Gilbert
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Jul 7th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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yes to the 3 day trip...went in March and the weather was in the 80's at the bottom..don't know about Dec...the weather is always warmer down in the canyon...don't know if it would be a problem but BEWARE of the under 200 weight limlt..ask about the weather in Dec from the park....
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Jul 7th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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IF I fit the under 200Lb. limit, I would definately stay the extra day. As it is, I need to hoof it myself if I want to do that trip...which I do!
placeu2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 11:33 AM
  #4  
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Help,

What did you do with the extra day at Phantom Ranch - hiking, relaxing, or resting your butt!!
Are you glad you stayed the extra day?

I am well aware of the 200lb limit, and so is my husband who has to lose quiet a few pounds before this trip.
He is not looking forward to smaller portions and no snacking, but it was he who wanted to do the mule trip.

We were at the GC last December, and temps varied from 20 to 45 at the rim, and we had sun, fog and light snow - a little bit of everything.

Thanks again
Gilbert
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Jul 7th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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yes,hiking and enjoying the scenery....and resting...unless you are a regular long trail rider it is tiring...
help is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Tell your husband that I heard if you don't weigh in under 200 they make you carry the mule!
Patrick is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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What company do you book this through? I was at the Canyon late December and we stayed on the Rim due to icy trails but a few of the locals who work there were talking about hiking down to spend New Years at the bottom. Sounded great but not sure I could do the hike all the way down and up - the mule ride sounds like a good alternative...
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Jul 7th, 2005, 02:57 PM
  #8  
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You book through Xanterra (authorised concessioner of National Park Service).

Their phone number is 1-888-297-2757
They also do the lodging reservations at Grand Canyon.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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Thanks Gilbert,

Can I ask why you've chosen December? It was pretty dang cold when I was there the last week of December. Is it warmer at the bottom?
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Jul 8th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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Also curious about the choice of December. The last two times I was at GC was mid September and mid November. Backpacked down both times so can't comment on the mule rides (though if you can't hike, hightly recommend it to be able to appreciate the canyon by looking up rather than down). Anyway, the rim was cool in Sept. and actually had a little snow in Nov. The Phantom Ranch weather was quite nice, but I wouldn't plan on "swimming" as the water can be quite chilly. There are some great day hikes you can do while you're down there to explore and see more sights. One we did and thoroughly enjoyed was up to Ribbon Falls. You just need a small day pack with water and snacks, healthy ones so they don't make you carry the mule back up and some hood hiking shoes/boots.
Any time spent in the GC is well spent.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 03:54 AM
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PS
Not positive, but I believe the only company you can book the mule ride with is Xanterra. It's the park's concessionaire (sp?) and I don't think anyone else has rights to provide services inside the Nat Park.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Thanks Gilbert and 123Go. I think I would probably shoot for spring? I will also definitely look into the short hikes while down at Phantom Ranch - I love to hike but the last time I did 8 miles and about lost a toenail so I'm a little gunshy about 14ish miles...the mule sounds like the way to go.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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we traveled to several national parks in the winter, on a few trips, to avoid crowds and due to vacation schedules and were always pleased we did. In fact, I took the mule trip (just in and out) in December. please note that the mules wear crampons on their shoes due to the ice on the trail. when they stop, they face out into the canyon. this is because they go back if they are frightened. I must admit that I was not as relaxed as I would have liked to be and held on to the horn too tightly, causing some shoulder problems (and subsequent PT) due to this, but I am still THRILLED I did it.
virginiafish is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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What about a couple hour mule ride, has anyone done anything like that?
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Jul 9th, 2005, 12:04 PM
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I've done the one day trip (during the summer).

Only 1 concessionaire licensed to do mule trips (to my knowledge).

They are SERIOUS about their restrictions - what you must wear and cannot take. Safety is their paramount concern.

I enjoyed the trip but the mules have hooves hanging over thin air as they make the turns on switchbacks. I would NOT want to be on the trail with any ice or snow. (I am sure they would not offer the rides under dangerous conditions).

It snowed for 3 days during a spring break trip to the Grand Canyon. An earlier hike to Delicate Arch was a bit "iffy" with unmelted ice in the shade on the trail.

For those reasons, I'm not sure I'd do the mule trip in winter or early spring.

Again, I am confident trips will not be offered during icy trail conditions. Just something to ponder.

Yes, it is hot as hades in summer. During the 1 day trip you are soaked at the lunch stop before starting back up - and all the water in your long sleeved, collared shirt and full-length khaki pants is completely evaporated within 15 minutes back on the trail

I LOVED THE MULE TRIP!
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Jul 9th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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we asked about a bad weather trip...they ck on the trail b4 you go...and take care of the trail the best they can...they mules wear carbide bites in their horseshoes for winter/icy trips...a person goes daily w/supplies to Phantom Ranch and carries out trash...or you wouldn't be eating and drinking...and the kids that go off and on duty hike back and forth for their days off...they try to take care of the trail the best they can...believe me the weigh is strict...you can do it the day b4..and try to come down till the next am b4 the ride...you can strip down to your ungies if you have to...the night b4 is the best and not sweat it...
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Jul 9th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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forgot to say they give you 2 bags the size of ice bags(the size you buy to fill a cooler)for your personal
supplies you send down on pack mules..take a day pack too...and you can get a box lunch for a hike the next day (if a 3 day ride)...1st night a steak dinner and the 2nd a stew dinner..they will give you a canteen/bladder to soak w/lemon juice packet the night b4 and fill w/water the day of the ride...take a hat or you will have to buy a straw one for the ride/
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Jul 9th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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Has anyone done the mule trip with kids. Mine are 9 & 12.They do great on roller coasters, and have been around horses without any problems. taking the phantom ranch trip is on my list of things to do.
fredntan is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 09:52 PM
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There is a minimum height requirement. Can't recall if it is 4'6" or 4'8"?? Check the Xanterra web site.
MichelleY is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 04:01 AM
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Mine were about that age. Of all the travel pictures I have in boxes, the one of all of us on the mule trip is one of the few in frames on display. It was a great experience.
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