Grand Canyon North Rim - Xanterra Mule Ride

Mule Rides in Grand Canyon National Park

Date of Visit: Tuesday November 10th, 2015

Attractions/Places of Interest:

Continuing from the last post covering the sunrise hike to Ooh-Aah Point, soon after the break of dawn we saw a man in a cowboy hat leading down about 15 mules all carrying supplies down to Phantom Ranch. This made us think of our next plans for the day which would be in just a few hours…that is a 2 hour mule ride along the east rim of the Grand Canyon with Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

We arrived at the Bright Angel Lodge to check in for the ride, signed some paperwork, and took a shuttle to the mule barn. At the barn we received a quick orientation and each of us were assigned to our mules for the day. The cost is not cheap at $135 per person however it was a very memorable and fun experience which I highly recommend…despite the fact that it snowed or hailed the majority of the ride. The staff supplied everyone with rain jackets which kept me dry, however that did not prevent my legs from going numb from the cold. The pain was worth it as it was a great experience organized by very professional, friendly, and knowledgeable staff. We were back at the lodge by noon and drove out to the Desert View Watchtower for some more scenic views of the East Rim.

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Photo and Travel Gear:

Similar to my last post, I wore the same layers of clothing which kept me very warm (well, except my legs once my pants were wet from the rain). You are not allowed to bring a backpack when you go to ride the mules so take only what will fit in your pockets. This also meant I was limited to bringing only one lens, so I decided on my most versatile Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 and it was the perfect choice. I had no desire of switching lenses anywhere along the ride anyway. My camera stayed around my neck during the entire ride and I kept it inside my jacket to prevent the front lens element from getting wet. Nikon’s line of professional camera bodies and lenses are weather sealed so I was not scared of anything getting damaged, but I did have to be mindful of raindrops ruining my shots.