I know there's at least one old thread where folks were asking about it, and am too lazy to go looking for the thread, sorry. But here are some pics I took on Wednesday, friends and I did the half day into the canyon ride from the north rim (trail use changes mean that the all day ride from the north rim is no longer available, only this one to Havasupai tunnel, a half day ride along the rim to Uncle Jim's Point, and an hour-long ride which also stays above the rim). I had last done this ride with my family in 1997 and enjoyed it just as much the second time. There are also mule rides from south rim, but I haven't yet done one of those since north rim is more convenient to my house!
I rode the north rim in 2001. I think it was the last whole day ride to Roaring Springs. The next day they took a group down to assess the trail and the possibility of taking machinery in to improve the trail. I guess they decided it wasn't in the cards. It was an awesome ride but there were some places that the trail was badly in need of work. I can see why they no longer do it.
I have hiked both the South Rim and North Rim trails down to Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River (and back up, which is when I really looked longingly at those passing mules - LOL).
It is fantastic. Photos are nice but really don't capture the breathtaking scale of the Grand Canyon, especially going down South Kaibab trail.
If anyone is thinking about doing the Grand Canyon, either hiking or mules, DO IT!!! You will have an experience of a lifetime.
A side note: We got up predawn at Phantom Ranch to hike up and ran into the pack train mules that bring down food, supplies and hiker gear - and take out the mail. Actually, the wrangler told me, those mules have to be more experienced, better trained (smarter?) than the rider mules.
Oh! I'm so excited to see that there are Mule rides that don't require going IN the canyon. It's always been on my bucket list but I have a crippling fear of heights. I couldn't even look over the edge of the canyon from behind a guard rail!
Saddleup, yes, I have many more, but you're a glutton for punishment! Here is another album I had already uploaded that has other views of Grand Canyon plus a few of Glen Canyon (boat trip) and some big horns in Zion (passed through on way home)- I will look over the weekend and see what else I had from the mule ride: https://picasaweb.google.com/1003106...CPep3vS-3rv1dg
But as has been noted, pictures just can't do any of these places justice- Grand Canyon just has to be seen in person, even if you don't ride the mules, it will just blow you away.
FatDinah,you are right, the pack mules require a higher level of expertise, smarts, etc. Ironically, my understanding when the 'Grand Canyon' mules are retired/ rehomed is that the pack mules are harder to place while there are waiting lists for 'favorite riding mules.' Which is a shame (but shhh, my little secret for when I have room for a mule) because many of these mules have years of use left on gentler terrain and they sure have desirable experience and mileage.
By the way, we think we horse people are nuts- wait til you encounter the folks who RUN from top of south rim, across canyon, to top of north rim, and back, IN THE SAME DAY. I do have a rim to rim hike on my to do list but I do believe camping along the way will be MUCH more civilized.