Guests hiking into the canyon have the option to use Xanterra’s mule duffel service to carry a bag with their gear down to the river while they hike the Bright Angel Trail. If you’d like to book the mule duffel service, please call Xanterra (888-297-2757). Reservations for the mule duffel service open one year in advance and it does tend to sell out. Due to the limited availability and changing trail conditions, if you book this trip you should still be prepared to hike in carrying all of the items needed for your river trip loaded in a backpack.
Here are the ins and outs of using the mule duffel service:
- This service is only available to guests hiking into the canyon. Outbound mule duffel does not work in conjunction with GCW trips.
- When booking, let the mule barn know:
- Your name and number of bags
- That you’re rafting with Grand Canyon Whitewater
- Your trip start date
- That your bags will need to be dropped off at BOAT BEACH.
- Due to our trip logistics, the mule duffel service must be booked for the same day that you will hike into the canyon (the same day your river trip starts).
- Notify our office by phone or email to let us know that you have booked this service. We need to know WHO is booked for this service, and HOW MANY bags will be packed in. Please DO NOT cancel or book muled bags within 2 weeks of your trip start date.
- We will mail out a luggage tag for each duffel that is being carried down. Please make sure that you’ve attached the Grand Canyon Whitewater luggage tag to your duffel and that it is clearly labeled with each guest’s name.
- Only soft-sided duffels are allowed and there is a weight limit of 30 pounds. The bag dimensions and weight limit for the mule duffel are different than what we recommend. This is because your duffel needs to fit into our provided dry bags once you reach the river. If you follow our guidelines of 12in x 12in x 24in and max of 25 pounds you will be fine for both the river and the duffel service.
- Be sure to arrive at the South Rim THE DAY BEFORE your hike in and drop off your bag at the Grand Canyon Mule Barn prior to 3:30 pm. If you are late, there is a late drop-off option for an additional fee.
- After your bag is muled in, the guides pick up the duffel bags from the mule wrangler about 2 miles upstream from where you will hike in to meet them. The only way the guides will know to pick up your bag is if you tell our office in advance that you booked the mule duffel service. The guides cannot go back upstream to retrieve your bag.
- You will still need to carry a small backpack on the hike in with at least 2 liters of water, and things like snacks, a rain jacket, hat, camera, sunscreen, and any non-replaceable items (glasses, medication, etc.)
Please be sure you are aware of the strenuous nature of the hike into the canyon and do not count on the mule duffle service to have a successful trip. Xanterra has the right to suspend services at any time if trail conditions are unsafe for the mules.
If you’d rather not hike in or out of Grand Canyon be sure to check out our full canyon adventures!