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Grand Canyon Mules to the Bottom–a Hard Bargain

Author: Cinderella Smith
Date of Trip: August 2010

If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon and said, “That’s nice; let’s go home.”,then you missed a lot only seen from the inside. Hiking this is for the fanatics or the need to be in control. Riding the mules to Phantom Ranch at the bottom is a terrific price for what you get, but very difficult. The internet site was not very forthcoming with details on HOW DIFFICULT! Don’t let me discourage you. This is an awesome trip. It was my lifelong dream trip assuming only the rich would do this and people come from all over the world for this. I’d never even bothered to inquire until my husband encouraged seriously checking off those “dreams”. Bottom line cost was about $1000 for my husband and I with cabin overnight right at the rim and the all-inclusive mule ride for 2 days.

The mules are gentle-riding sweethearts, but they are in control(along with the guides). You seriously need to remember no one has ever died with the mules because the trip is a fear-of-heights-inducing-nightmare. If I told you about the trail and turns…The ride is physically difficult only because of the time on the mules. We are mid-60’s, mildly fit, good knees/hips, and ride a horse once a year for 2 hours. My husband had a major riding sore when we arrived at Phantom Ranch. The guide sent us to soak in the mountain stream. Our trip included room and meals that were outstanding. Ranger talks made great evening entertainment.

The guides put up with a lot of whining-our group was good. When I asked if anyone ever quits, the response was “All the time. They want to get off the mules. We notify the rangers and tell them to walk back.” No refunds once you get on the mules. They are excellent on safety. Only 5+guide go in a group.

The views are incredible and different both days since there are 2 trails. There is no comparison to looking over the edge. We did this in Aug., so it was 105 degrees below, our cabin had air-conditioning and it didn’t seem that hot overall. The guides keep us hydrated. It was sooo worth it! We recovered in Las Vegas.

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