mule rides in grand canyon

Jun 18th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 5
mule rides in grand canyon

Anyone have recommendations regarding the mule trips in grand canyon? Did you stay 1 or 2 nights in the Phantom Ranch? What prep is necessary? would you do it again?
newtotucson is offline  
Jun 18th, 2009, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Mule trips from the south rim are better than from the north rim for several reasons. The north rim trips don't get within 7 miles of the river.

If you don't want to commit the time for an over-night trip then the one day trip down to Plateau Point near Indian Gardens is an excellent trip, about 5 miles each way.

Two nights at Phantom is better than one night at Phantom, for most people (but not all). Gives you a day to hike the level sections north up Bright Angel Trail a bit and just relax.

What prep is necessary?

Riding a horse would probably prepare your knees and buttocks for what is to come.
Bill_H is offline  
Jun 18th, 2009, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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What prep is necessary?

Getting a reservation at Phantom Ranch. You definitely cannot just show up and get a bed.
J62 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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I believe that the lodging comes with the mule trip reservation...a number of the cabins are reserved for the mule riders.
missypie is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Correct. There are beds reserved for the overnight trip mule riders, but you still need to reserve long in advance. You can't just show up expecting to get a mule ride & a bed.
J62 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 244
I have done 4 mule rides to Phantom Ranch over the last 4 years. Have always gone in December and always spend 2 nights down at Phantom Ranch. They only have the 2 night option from December through to March, and it is well worth spending the extra night there.
Depending on what time of year you want to go will depend on how far ahead you need to book.
There are a few restrictions you need to know before you book - the main one being that you must weigh less than 200lbs, and yes, they do weigh you when you check in the day before the ride. You also must be over 4' 7", must be able to speak and understand English, and you can't be pregnant, and you shouldn't be afraid of heights or large animals !!
They will ask you all of these things before you are able to book a ride.

The ride down the Bright Angel Trail takes about 5 1/2 hours and the trip back up the South Kaibab Trail takes about 4 1/2 hours. BUT, the trips right now are returning via the Bright Angel Trail because the NPS is doing trail maintenance on the South Kaibab Trail.

If you are interested in reading any of my trip reports, they are all available on Trip Advisor. I think I did a trip report here for the first 1 or 2 trips under "Gilbert".

I didn't do any preparation before the ride (I had ridden horses before, but it had been quite a few years before). Obviously, your butt will be sore, but watching people when they dismount, just about everybody will have trouble walking for a short time - your knees will hate you!
Why do you think cowboys walk the way they do!!!!

If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. The mule ride down to Phantom Ranch is absolutely fantastic, and I wish we were going again this year.

Gilbert56 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,512
We haven't done the mule ride (we walk), but we love Phantom Ranch. Mule riders get cabins, not the bunkhouse, which is a good thing.
enzian is offline  
Jun 21st, 2009, 06:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 5
Thanks for the info on the mule rides. I think we'll go ahead and sign up for next spring. The canon from the south rim was breathtaking! Thanks for all your help.
newtotucson is offline  
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