horseback riding in grand canyon

Where to Go Horseback Riding in Grand Canyon

Before you get excited, horseback riding in the Grand Canyon has limited tours. Furthermore, horseback rides, or mule rides, are limited to age and weight. There are also lodges in the famous canyons where you and your family can spend the night(s).

Therefore, one should order a reservation days before, maybe a month, due to the limitations and scarcity of tours. Grand Canyon, America’s old Wild West, is famous for horseback riding. However, most of the rides are on mules.

Yes, mules have been used to explore the natural wonders in this area for centuries now-one of the most beautiful attractions; riding on the famous canyon on mules.

Why Mules?

Most rides are usually on horses, but Grand Canyon embraces mules only. A lot has been said about horses, such that we have forgotten how beautiful mules are. Even the legendary Napoleon, myths say that he traveled on a noble white horse, but he used a mule.

However, mules becoming popular don’t mean they lack some limitations. You rarely find a mule in these famous competitions, such as the Kentucky Derby. But the guides prefer the mules and with a reason.

Mules have more front body weight than horses due to their deep and broad chests. They also have firm and thicker feet. That calls for a perfect ride regardless of the rider’s weight. Their intelligence helps them explore better even in narrow trails and complex terrains since they can easily spot their way. Their toughness allows them to go through all tracks, from steep drop-offs to riding above rims.

Due to the mule’s firm feet, the guides don’t have to worry about their soundness. That’s why mule rides have existed to date since the first mule ride in 1887. Additionally, equestrians prefer mules to horses for trail riding, especially the difficult ones.

Mules are more sensitive to danger and might be too stubborn to do what you say. That helps in trail riding since you might have to cross a dangerous spot at some point. 

A trail horse will gladly cross a stream, a wooden bridge, or do anything to the best of its efforts to please you.

Another reason why Grand Canyon would rather have mules is that they are more surefooted. Their eyes are in a position that makes them see all their hooves at once. That sounds like a relief, as it will save you from watching the feet. 

Horseback Riding in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon offers guided horseback rides in the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon. Here is where to go horseback riding in the Grand Canyon.

Apache Stables

Apache stables entail riding through the forest; that is, the wagon and trail rides. There is an evening trek where you can ride on ponies. Rides can also be on wagons where you explore the campfire. The stables are just in the Northern Tuyasan, Moqui, a mile from Apache stables.

The horses in Apache stables are gentle and disciplined to ensure you get the safest and most comfortable guided rides. The rides are primarily through the Kaibab National Forest, where you enjoy the scenery of beautiful pines.

There are two types of rides in Apache stables; trail rides and wagon rides. Trail rides entail riding the forests in the evening to the campfires. This adventure lasts for an hour. After reaching the campfire, you will find wagon riders to tack you back. The journey back is usually wagon rides.

The wagon ride is another everyday adventure most visitors enjoy as the horses drive the wagons back to the campfire to join the others. In addition, this ride has no age limitation.

You may want to carry food in Apache stable adventures, as the campfire doesn’t cater for meals.

What Makes Apache Stables Stand Out

  • There is a campfire trail and wagon rides
  • Most rides are during sunset and evening
  • Rides are through the forest
  • Both horses and mules are used
  • Outside food is allowed
  • There are two rides with cheap rates; one-hour rides ($58.50 per ride) and two-hour rides ($110 per ride)
  • Rides and charges vary with weight and age 
  • Address: 472 Moqui Dr, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, United States
  • Phone: + 1 928-638-2891

Canyon Trail Rides

Canyon Trail Rides is one of the most beautiful attractions in the Grand Canyon. The rides venture through North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park.

In Bryce Canyon, you will encounter the beautiful sceneries of the ancient rocks lying in the hills. There is also breathtaking scenery of the rain and the wind forming sculptures. All these views are on horseback, accompanied by professional guides.

The Bryce Canyon trails are accessible. Therefore, all riders qualify for the trail rides, from beginners to experts.

Bryce Canyon has horse corrals in the Sunrise Point and the Lodge. You will find horse keepers that match you with the right horse there. Besides being friendly, the cowboys are knowledgeable as they share with you Bryce Canyon. Furthermore, you will have guides taking pictures and have the whole Canyon experience.

There are two and three-hour trips. The two-hour ride is through the canyon rims, while the three-hour trip will allow you to explore almost the whole of Bruce Canyon. The sceneries entail the cone pine trees, Silent city, The Chessmen, and Wall of Windows. 

Adventures in the Zion National Park is more of a vacation. The sceneries entail natural wonders, including the cactus gardens, the Beehives, and the three patriarchs. Most rides are one hour long. From the horse coral, you ride along the Virgin River to explore the best of Zion National Park, including the Sandbench Trail (which can extend to three hours) and the Court of Patriarchs.

The North Rim Grand Canyon offers rides on mules through the Supai Tunnel on the North Kaibab trails that last for an hour. The three-hour trip is in the Canyon rim through the forest.

  • Website:
  • Address: 280 Bryce Way, Tropic, UT 84776, United States
  • Phone: + 1 435-679-8665 

Can You Bring Your Horse To Grand Canyon?

You might love to explore the Grand Canyons South and North Rims on your horse’s back. Fortunately, Grand Canyon approves people coming with their horses. However, you should have legal certificates that prove your horse has undergone a Coggins test and has negative results. 

Additionally, you will have to provide a backcountry permit if you opt for overnight camping in either the North Rim or the canyons. 

Why Most Visitors Prefer Horseback Riding In Grand Canyon

Grand Canyons has a few horseback riding sites, but that doesn’t limit the adventures they offer. Here are some of the experiences that keep their visitors calling for more:

The Canyon Scenery

Riding through the canyons creates memorable rides because the canyons are built in a naturally unique way. They resemble large gouges with water masses surrounding them. This unique and beautiful landscape is what most people enjoy viewing. 

There are also ancient rocks that form a breathtaking sight. The stones have layers that create rare structures that resemble hoodoos. There are also many structures, especially when riding near the canyon edges, where the incredible rock formations get clearer. 

The Canyon Rides

Riding through the canyons on a horses’ back is among other experiences one would not afford to miss. Horseback riding is the best way to get a full glimpse of the canyons than rappelling and hiking. 

The canyon rides are safe for any age, making it a perfect adventure for families and friends. The canyons, especially Southern Utah, have various ride types, lengths of rides, and places to ride. Therefore, visitors get a chance to do many things during the rides. Grand Canyon also allows visitors to ride more than once.

The Riding Places

Places to ride are what most visitors look for before deciding which site to go for their horseback rides. Each area has canyons, but the views from each region are different. Most Grand Canyon visitors get into the dilemma of which canyon to go through first for a better view. It’s worth noting that any place you decide provides a beautiful sight for you and your group. 

However, here are some places whose details will help you choose.

Bryce Canyon National Park 

Bryce Canyon opens from April to October. The adventures are all about sighting the ancient natural rock structures. Riding in Bryce Canyon will not only lead you to the heart of America’s history but also the canyon floors. Therefore the riders can get to a canyon but rarely at the middle.

  • Website:
  • Address: Utah, United States
  • Phone: +1 435-834-5322
  • Management: National Park Service

The Zion National Park

Zion National Park opens from March through October. It lies in Southern Utah, where riders enjoy the views of cactus gardens, the Virgin Land, and the unique rock structures as they ride along with them. In addition, there are two familiar spectacular sceneries; the Court of the Patriarchs and the Beehives.

  • Website:
  • Address: Utah, United States
  • Phone: + 1 435-772-3256
  • Management: National Park Service

North Rim Grand Canyon 

The North Rim opens from May throughout October. Riders enjoy the comfortable and safe mule rides exploring Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The canyons are significant and maybe the only one of its type in the United States, if not the world.

  • Address: P O Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
  • Phone: 928-638-7888

Types of Rides

The difficulty and length of the horseback ride also determine the number of visitors in the parks. In Grand Canyon, there are three categories of rides with different options.

One-hour rides

One-hour rides are readily available. This type of ride accommodates all kinds of riders, even first-timers. Contrary to what most people believe, experienced riders also enjoy this ride. Though you will still enjoy the beautiful scenery, it limits what to do during the adventure.

Two-hour rides

Two-hour rides are pretty fit for beginners and experts. The time limit is also suitable for large groups. There are several things to do within this time frame, including reaching the canyon floor.

Three-hour rides

Three-hour rides are perfect for exploring all that comes in the way. It also gives riders the chance to view the canyon fully while learning about the wildlife, plants, and rock structures. In addition, they have enough time to take pictures.


Grand Canyon is never a disappointment regarding beautiful trips and fun activities. All tours are done on horseback rides, making the adventures more comfortable for the visitors. Experiences for all lengths of rides and types of places in Grand Canyons are always memorable.