Grand Canyon Mules are often used to reach great depths in the Grand Canyon, and are favored over horses. In fact, these animals have served as work animals in the Grand Canyon for over a hundred years. Mules are very popular, as mule trips inside the park are booked many months in advance. If you are a day tripper, expect to spend about 2 ½ hours riding down Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point on a mule train. Should you wish to go to the canyon floor, you need to plan an overnight trip.
The First Public Figure to Ride on Grand Canyon Mules
When President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon in 1903, he rode a mule. Notably, he is the first public figure to do so. While mule rides are not necessarily cheap (they normally run over $140), they are fun and exciting.
When Mule Rides Began
The first person to put Grand Canyon mules in service as a work animal was Captain John Hance, who started his business in 1887. Private companies must be licensed today who offer mule rides. While you may think riding is dangerous, mules have an almost century-long record of safety – impressive when you consider the crumbled shale of trails and lofty switchbacks.
Weight and Height Requirements
If you want to take a ride on Grand Canyon mules, you need to weigh under 200 pounds and stand above 4 feet 7 inches. You also have to understand English so you can comprehend the wrangler’s commands. Companies will not allow pregnant women to ride in canyon mule trains.
U.S. Postal Deliveries
While Grand Canyon mules take care of the leisure and transport of visitors in the Grand Canyon South Rim, they are also used to deliver the mail. The U.S. Postal Service employs mule trains, 5 days per week, to deliver mail to the Havasupai Reservation in Supai, Arizona. The animals are adept at carrying all kinds of postal items, including mattresses, food, and letters. Mule trains carry, on average, about a ton of cargo down into the canyon during the work week.
A Popular Grand Canyon Activity
In the summer, wranglers may take over 100 people on mule rides along the canyon and into its depths each day. Sometimes, the journey gets averted, especially if a rock-fall covers part of a trail. In these instances, a daylong trip may turn into a four-mile round trip. Mule trips are just part of the Grand Canyon experience. They serve visitors well, especially those people who may be disabled or who are unable to walk into the Canyon’s depths.