Mules on Kiabab Trail Grand Canyon

Where do I sign up for a donkey ride?

Awwww. Too bad. No donkeys at the Grand Canyon. Mules only. The world famous Grand Canyon mules! There are overnight rides on mules down to the river and Phantom Ranch for an over-night stay, and day rides on mules along the rim with spectacular views. Sign up for both adventures at the Bright Angel Transportation Desk at the Bright Angel Lodge in the Village.

Mules are interesting critters, and it is no accident that they are chosen to make the ten mile trek into canyon carrying both visitors (dudes) and supplies to Phantom Ranch. Mules are the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey, and as a hybrid and are not capable of having young. No baby mules. A female mule is called a MOLLY, and the male mule a JOHN. Mules are sure footed and are noted for their self-preservationist personality. Sometimes mistakenly called stubborn, mules will not injure themselves…..they are survivors. Good to know when riding a mule down into the canyon when a misstep could be fatal! In addition, the mules have the advantage of carbide cleats welded onto their mule shoes in the winter to give further traction by the fulltime blacksmith.   There are always saddles to be made, leather halter and bridles to be mended and other repairs that need attention, so there is also a full time saddle maker on hand at the mule barn There are about 160 mules that live at the canyon during the summer. In the winter, many are sent to Colorado to rest and kick back after their hard summer work. Stop in at the mule barn and corral near the Backcountry Office.

Finding Joy

About the Author

Joy Grand Canyon

Joy taught environmental sciences at Southern Vermont College and became active in outdoor land use.  Joy now lives ‘off-the-grid’ near the Grand Canyon on an acreage with solar power, and hauls water for her own needs and for her struggling raised-bed desert garden, dogs, cat, chickens, and Garrett-the-goose. Joy has rafted the Colorado River from Moab to Lake Mead, hiked many of the trails, and stayed at Phantom Ranch several times either by hiking or by mule.  Learning and reading is her passion, and she is constantly learning more about the Grand Canyon.

Joy is well traveled but never found a place that was more well suited for her than the Grand Canyon.  This is her home.  Stop in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and allow her to share her home with you.

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