Descending into the canyon atop a mule is a classic park experience, combining Old West tradition with superb inner canyon sightseeing. The popular South Rim mule trips book quickly. These may be reserved up to 13 months in advance.
The overnight trips are best for ‘tweens and teenagers who can sit atop a critter for 5 to 7 hours a day for two days and not mind saddle soreness. Riders lodge at the rustic Phantom Ranch overnight. Participants must be at least 55 inches tall and weigh no more than 200 pounds with clothing.
In October 2009, the park began offering an alternative: the Abyss Overlook Mule Ride. Instead of exploring the inner canyon, these three-hour rides follow the canyon rim to the Abyss, a scenic overlook. Rides depart at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Participants must be at least 55 inches tall and weigh no more than 225 pounds with clothing.
The less-visited North Rim offers mule trips from mid-May to mid-October. Outings include one-hour rim trips (ages 7 and older; 220 pound weight limit), half-day rides into the canyon along the North Kaibab Trail (ages 10 and older; 200 pound weight limit ), or a one-day inner canyon trip to Roaring Springs (ages 12 and older; 200 pound weight limit).