Why Walk When You Can Ride?
The Grand Canyon itself is more than a mile deep, which can make for a strenuous hike for people who want to travel down the windy paths. Experts recommend that only those in prime physical condition take on the challenge of walking the canyon. For the rest of the world, traveling by mules is preferable. These mules travel in packs that are led by tour guides, and you can rest assured that the animals are well equipped to handle the difficult paths leading through the mountainside. But if you are under the impression that riding a mule sounds like an easy and relaxing way to travel, it’s important to note that it’s not near as easy as you might think. You will likely be sore at the end of the journey from trying to stay on the animal’s back as you move along the uneven paths.
A Ride On The South Side
On the South side of the Grand Canyon, all of the mule rides are run by one tour operator, although you can book them through a variety of avenues. There are three basic types of mule tours available on this side from which you can select, depending on your timeframe and your endurance. The first option is a day journey that provides riders with a dramatic, panoramic view of the Canyon and the Colorado River that lies 1,300 feet below. The total length of this trip is about seven or eight hours.
Those hearty souls that prefer to go all the way down to the floor of the Canyon can choose the second option, which is an overnight trip down to the bottom area. Sleeping accommodations are provided there at a place called Phantom Ranch, a lodging area consisting of rustic cabins that are reminiscent of an old western movie. Most of these rides follow the Bright Angel Trail, with the 2 day trip coming back up the South Kaibab Trail. Participants can also opt for a longer journey, including a two-night stay at the ranch. All of these tours include some meals.
The approximate cost for this memorable experience is:
- $150 per person - One-day trip
- $420 per person - One-night ($700 per couple)
- $560 per person - Two-nights ($950 per couple)
Also keep in mind that in addition to the price of the mule ride, you will also need to factor in the cost of getting to Grand Canyon from where you live, and any other travel-related expenses.